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Cat Fleas

Do they bite humans? How do you get rid of Cat Fleas? etc

Cat Fleas are tiny blood-sucking parasites that live on cats. Fleas can't fly, but they can jump surprisingly far. If your cat has fleas, don't worry, as there is no shame in it, and there is stuff you can get that gets rid of cat fleas without too much trouble.

Cat fleas don't bite people, do they?

Do cat fleas bite humans? Yes, surprisingly, and they do this despite pronouncements that cat fleas don't bite humans. However, cat fleas do not thrive living off humans, and they would survive much better on cats!

The myth that "cat fleas don't bite humans" could easily have been mistakenly deduced in a scientific experiment. Cat fleas could have been kept in ideal conditions in a laboratory and then placed on a brave volunteer, who would then not be bitten. Of course, well-fed cat fleas won't bite a human. However, if they are starving, cat fleas will bite a human. Cat fleas can be starving if they have fallen off a cat and are in the carpet with nothing edible around for days. This leads on to a method to catch them and get rid off them.

How to get rid of cat fleas

If you've got cat fleas, the most likely place they will be is on your cat! The way to get rid of fleas on a cat is to apply some cat flea powder. It's fine white stuff, and is available in various shops. I'd try Wilko. To apply cat flea powder, first explain to the cat what you're about to do and assure the cat of your best intentions. This may or may not be understood, but at least you won't feel so bad about it. Next, lift up the cat and turn it upside-down so the belly is uppermost, and then rub the powder all in the fur. It's an undignified procedure, but as soon as all the cat fur has powder, the fleas and their eggs will start to meet their doom.

If you have many cats, you'll most likely need to apply cat flea powder to all of them. It's also a good idea to put some flea powder in the bedding, leaving the fleas with no hiding place.

The cats will look at you quite grimly for a while, but they'll forgive you eventually, and anyway it's better than being infested with cat fleas.

How to get rid of cat fleas from a room

Cat fleas aren't just on cats. They tend to be in rooms where they wait in the carpets on the offchance that another cat will come by, and then they can leap aboard! The fleas can survive for days without food, but after a while they start to be in a starving condition and then they are so desperate that they will bite someone regardless of whether they are a cat.

The following method has been found to work versus cat fleas in the carpet in unfrequented rooms:

* Take your shoes off and roll your trouser legs up and go into the room.

* A fleas will leap out of the carpet and try to bite your legs.

* Pinch the flea off, and hold it tightly between your fingers.

* Take it to the bathroom and put some water in the basin.

* You can't squash a flea as if it's a fly because they are incredibly tough. So, put the flea in the water in the basin. This stops it escaping by jumping. Then crush it against the side, between the back of your fingernail and the solid sides of the basin. You'll hear a click as the flea is destroyed. There might be some blood in it, or not.

* Repeat the process until you find no more fleas in that room.

* If you are having trouble transferring the fleas from your skin to the basin, an alternative is to put a small amount of warm water in the bath, and then you can put your feet in the water. Either way, the final move is to break the flea between the back of your fingernail and the hard side of the bath/basin.

* If you would prefer to drown the fleas, you could use a bottle, but the neck needs to be wide enough to get your fingers in to stop the fleas escaping. Using a jug or bowl sounds good, but it's imperfect as some fleas escape. You can prevent this by putting a can of flyspray under the water and giving it a quick bubbling. This makes the water so toxic to insect life forms that the fleas to not escape.

* Try to avoid ending up eating a flea. Although the flea will die, it might not do you any good. Fleas can harbour tapeworm eggs.

Another method which sometimes works versus cat fleas in carpets is to get a mug of hot water and leave it in the room on the carpet. Some fleas are fooled by this and they assume the warmth of the water is a nice tasty animal. They jump into the water and as they can't swim, that's the end of them. If it's a white mug, you may be able to see the dead fleas in the water.

This mug of hot water method can help, and may seem more attractive than using yourself as live bait, but it doesn't fool all fleas, and so you may still need to use the other method to get the last few, so as to avoid them evolving. Insects, and other forms of pestilence, have been observed evolving versus various partially-successful methods of killing them. This is why fake drugs are such a problem.

I have heard of another method of killing fleas in the house, although I've not verified that this works. It is said that fleas can be killed by dehumidifiers. Fleas like temperatures to be warm and humidity to be damp. If you have a dehumidifier running, the fleas will dry out and die.

How to check if your cat has fleas

Black cats may be lucky, but they are not so well-favoured when you're trying to detect fleas. For cats that have some white fur on the underside, the method is as follows:

* Turn the cat upside-down and hold on.

* Carefully inspect the fur of the underbelly. You're looking for tiny black insects on the skin, under the fur. When they move, they can be seen in contrast.

If you have many cats, you only need to check the easier, lighter coloured ones. If any of them have fleas, it's best to apply cat flea powder to all of the cats.

How did the cat get fleas in the first place?

Social interaction. Cats go out and meet other cats, and a flea can jump from one cat to another. Or, a cat might visit somewhere that has a flea in the carpet, and the flea can jump aboard the cat attracted by the warmth and smell. It's no-ones fault that your cat has fleas.

Ugh! Makes you itchy just reading about it!

Incidentally, you can get some stuff to deal with cat fleas, from Healthy Pets and various other Pet Shops and Petstores

Cat flea powder is good stuff. It kills fleas but it doesn't hurt cats, apart from in their dignity.