What do you do when you see flea dirt on cats? (All About Fleas)

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If your poor little kitty is starting to scratch a lot, the first scary possibility that comes to mind is that fleas cause it. Indeed, it's very likely that what's bothering him is fleas. So what is flea dirt, and what should you do when you see flea dirt on cats? In the following article, we will examine the issue of flea dirt.

flea dirt on cats
What does it mean to see flea dirt on your cat?

What flea dirt is has a rather unpleasant meaning; flea dirt is the feces of adult fleas. Seeing flea dirt on cats is even more unpleasant. When faced with this, you should understand that the fleas have been fed long enough to produce stool from your cat.

 So how do you detect flea dirt? If your cat has flea and you think it's getting out of control, you can do a flea dirt test:

Identify a place where your cat sleeps the most

If you see red-to-black flecks here, take them on a white surface, like paper or tissue

Add some water on top. If a red leak occurs, know that they are flea dirt. This red ooze consists of undigested cat blood. We admit it is not a very heartwarming subject.

They are more difficult to detect on your cat, although they are usually found in and near the cat's belly because cats groom themselves very often.

We said that seeing flea dirt on your cat indicates adult fleas. However, adult fleas only comprise about 5 percent of your cat's flea population. Thus, it means a large pile of eggs, larvae, and pupae.

Is Flea dirt on cats dangerous?

The answer to this question answered that it points to a bigger problem. Fleas carry a lot of diseases. These diseases are a potential danger to your cat. Sometimes they can trigger conditions in humans.

​Cat fleas, Ctenocephalides felis, are potential carriers of many diseases. By biting our little pet felines, being swallowed, or even being present in their environment, they can transmit many ailments, some of which are zoonoses (they also affect humans). 

How Does A Flea Live?

A flea develops depending on humidity, ambient temperature, and the presence of a host available for a blood meal. The adult cat flea jumps on a host and begins its blood meal immediately. In 5 minutes, for most fleas, the meal is finished: they then emit droppings in your animal's hair. Then the next day, they lay eggs. These eggs usually fall out of the hair when your cat moves, lies down, shakes or scratches. Many small eggs (0.5 mm) of white color are therefore found in the sleeping places of your little feline.

An adult flea lays about 1000 eggs in your cat's environment. When the egg hatches, three larval stages follow each other. In the last stage, the larva surrounds itself with a resistant cocoon. This protection makes it possible to wait for favorable hatching conditions.

How Can A Flea Contaminate a Cat?

The contamination is direct most of the time: the adult fleas in the environment jump on your cat and bite it. However, transmission between animals is also possible in the early stages of the infestation: animals that live together share their fleas, especially when they arrive in the house and during the first hour. Subsequently, the chip tends to remain on the original individual, even if it lives in close contact with other cats: after 48 hours, the transition to congeners is less than 5%.

flea dirt on cats
How Do We Get Rid Of Them

Flea shampoo is a good start. It may be necessary to shampoo several times in the bathroom. You can also use a flea comb during bathing to remove fleas and flea dirt from fur.

What To Do For Your Home

Time for a big clean-up. You should wash all beds and carpets swept. Only once is not enough, so repeating these works a few times eliminates fleas, flea dirt, and eggs.

Establishing a regular flea cleaning protocol at specific intervals throughout the year is also helpful. 

How to get rid of fleas at home: effective, natural, and fast methods

You may think that only in a house with cats can there be fleas. You're wrong. These pesky, jumping insects appear where you least expect them. Read on to find out how to kick them out of the house.

Fleas are insects of approximately two millimeters, reddish-black in color, with a small head, short antennae, and long legs adapted for jumping. They jump a lot and leave traces. If you have suffered them in your flesh, you will know it well.

They are hematophagous external parasites -which feed on blood- of various animals and humans. As for the jumps, they can make long jumps in proportion to their size, quickly reaching new hosts, thanks to the fact that in their joints, they have springs of the most elastic protein known, resilin, just like other insects such as grasshoppers and lobsters.

About 1,900 species are known, several of which can transmit various diseases, such as typhus, the black or bubonic plague, or tapeworms (such as Dipylidium caninum).

The bad news is that its life cycle, from when it is an egg to when it is an adult and dies, varies from two weeks to eight months, depending on temperature, humidity, food, and the species. Usually, after feeding on blood, the female lays between 15 and 20 eggs per day, up to 600 in her lifetime, on the host (dogs, cats, rats, rabbits, mice, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons, opossums, foxes, chickens, humans, etc.).

Eggs laid loose on the fur mostly fall everywhere, mainly where the host rests, during periods of sleep, or in nests (rugs, rugs, upholstered furniture, cat and dog crates, kennels, litter boxes, elevators in buildings where they live. Put the dogs, cats, etc.)

The good news is that we are here to give you ideas so that you stop scratching right now (everything itches us, too) and know how to clean and prevent as much as possible so that you do not have these little animals at home.

If you have a pet: start there.

You can ask your veterinarian for advice on what product to use to disinfect your animal. However, you must follow the instructions as indicated, and at the same time, you must disinfect the house because otherwise, it will be of little use.

All those places where your pet is are likely to be affected, including beds, carpets, mattresses, sofas, toys, etc. So you have to clean everything.

Don't forget to keep your pet's internal and external deworming schedule. First, for your health and then for the comfort of the rest of the family.

flea dirt on cats

How to fight fleas at home

There are specific products that are used to treat this type of infestation. There are also pest treatments, but they are mostly not indicated when there are animals and children at home, and sometimes they require spending one or several days away from home.

Evaluate the best option for your family, or try these homemade tricks and move on to something more radical if you see it has not been enough. Above all: encouragement and patience. 

  1. Vacuum vigorously. It is about bothering the fleas inside the sticky cocoons, so they are not easy to vacuum.

However, we want the vibration to encourage them to hatch before time and, in this way, be able to vacuum them. Remember that you have to clean the house at least once a week where a population of fleas may have been created (carpet, under furniture, etc.).

  1. Wash blankets, beds, etc., at a temperature of at least 60 degrees once a week. Where the animals usually spend their time.
  2. Put children's soft toys in a bag in the freezer for five days to kill any fleas.

After deworming the animals and thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting everything as best you can, there are some tricks you can use to prevent the situation from happening again.

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Homemade tricks against fleas

    1. Neem Oil: It is a tree from tropical areas and has insecticidal properties that many species complete their development. For this reason, it is effective in eliminating flea larvae and eggs. Mix a tablespoon of this oil in a spray bottle with half a liter of water and spray it on carpets, furniture, and kitchen surfaces.
    2. Cedar Bark: Get a few pieces of this bark and place them under and behind the furniture.
    3. Apple cider vinegar: Mix one part with one part of water and scrub the floor with this solution.
    4. Lavender and olive oil: Another way to eliminate fleas is with olive oil. Mix half a liter of water with ten drops of lavender oil and two tablespoons of olive oil in a spray bottle. Shake and spray your house with the preparation.

    The general recommendation is that you repeat the deworming and thorough cleaning 15 days after the first one and, if the problem persists, put yourself in the hands of a professional.

What diseases do fleas transmit to people?

If you have an animal (dog, cat, rabbit), you will know very well what fleas are, even if your pet has not had them. These tiny insects, so feared by pet owners, can cause skin irritation in animals, but not only, but they also transmit many infectious diseases. You have to be very careful since these little bugs, although they don't fly, run a lot and jump great distances, so they can jump from one animal to another or even to people. When a flea bites a person, it can cause many problems. In one, how do we tell you what diseases fleas transmit to people?
flea dirt on cats

Why do fleas appear?

Fleas are tiny insects (1 to 3 mm in length) that live in the environment and can spread to animals and people. They do not fly but run a lot and jump at great heights (up to 40 cm). With the heat, their activity increases, so it is more common for them to appear in summer or areas of high temperatures.

Fleas jump from one animal to another; this is how the infestation begins. Adult fleas inhabit the mammal and lay eggs that fall into the environment. The eggs hatch into larvae that feed on the fecal matter of existing fleas and develop pupae.

Flea bite symptoms in people

How do you know if a flea bites you? First, rest assured that the symptoms are apparent, so if you get bitten by a flea, you will understand clearly.

Fleas usually bite people around the ankles, legs, or feet as these are the easiest to access areas, although if you are lying down, the fleas can jump to your gut or arms. The bites are often located on the ankles and legs.

These bites appear in papules or taste like those of mosquitoes and cause severe itching.

People are allergic to flea saliva, and children usually suffer from these symptoms more aggravated.

These rashes can bleed.

When these bites are not treated, they turn into wounds after a few days.

If infected, they can cause fever and anemia.

Treat flea bites in people.

The main problem that fleas cause in people is an allergic reaction at the point where they bite us. Usually, it is nothing more than bites that itch and can bleed or create a wound, but sometimes they can cause more problems. For these bites, it is advisable to use an anti-inflammatory cream and an antibiotic for the infection.

Some people, such as children, are more susceptible to this bite, so if you have small children at home and a pet, be careful not to have this problem. In addition, the reaction can be increased, both in children and adults, since the pugas bite once and produce several bites before leaving their host.

In addition to the bites, which are the least of the problems, these insects can cause illness in people. So let's see what they are.

Allergic dermatitis

One of the diseases that fleas transmit to people is allergic dermatitis, which occurs when you have an allergy to fleas.

These bugs not only bite but also leave their saliva on the skin. Saliva contains substances that can cause allergies, causing the skin to become irritated and the body to generate an allergic response.

In addition to severe itching, which is increased in the case of allergy, thickening of the skin is a common sign of flea bite dermatitis, but small red bumps can also appear on the skin. Red skin can be a sign that you have a flea bite allergy.

There is also often swelling that can lead to fluid-filled blisters due to allergic reactions or infection.

Bubonic and pneumatic plague

Another disease that fleas transmit to people is bubonic plague. When the animal infested with fleas is a rat and the fleas jump on the person, it can cause serious diseases such as bubonic plague.

Symptoms of this disease include swollen lymph nodes or nodes that can cause painful swelling in the armpits, neck, or groin. In addition, there is also a high fever that appears suddenly and fatigue or general malaise. When left untreated, it can lead to pneumonic plague affecting the lungs and worsening even more.

Bubonic plague is not usually widespread in developed countries but must also be considered.

Cat Scratch

Care must be taken when the animal infested with fleas is a cat, as it can transmit the disease known as "cat scratch." It is a bacterial disease that fleas contract by sucking the blood of an infected cat. They contract the bacteria that multiply in the digestive system and are later eliminated in the flea feces that remain on the animal. The infected animal can infect other animals through fleas and humans by scratching or biting.

It is a reasonably common disease whose symptoms are persistent inflammation in the wound caused by the cat and inflammation of the lymph nodes near the injury. This can last up to four weeks and is expected. However, other symptoms, such as persistent fever or abdominal pain, may also appear.

It is usually not a severe disease except in more susceptible people or those with chronic conditions.

Flea solution

So that we do not have fleas in our house or on our animals and thus avoid getting infected, the most important thing is prevention.

Cleaning the house is essential: vacuuming or dusting can prevent you from getting a flea infestation. Flea larvae tend to live in dark places, so don't forget to vacuum in dimly lit and damp areas, for example, under furniture. You can apply a trick, elements such as naphthalene, to the vacuum cleaner bags to achieve greater effectiveness.

For pets, there are flea collars or insecticides if they already have them. You have to remove them altogether.

When the flea has already bitten you, you can take measures, such as keeping the area where it has bitten you completely clean. In addition, using some disinfectant lotion and cold water is convenient since hot water can increase swelling.

If it produces an allergy, you will need to take antihistamines, and if it has an infection, the doctor will recommend an antibiotic.

As home remedies, you can use natural lemon soap or boil water with a few slices of citrus, and once cold, wash your feet and legs. Unfortunately, fleas don't like lemon at all. Mint is also a natural repellent against these bugs, a twig in your pants will keep them away.

In any case, if the symptoms begin to worsen, go to the doctor so that he can give you the best solution.

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