Spring has finally arrived! Now that the warm weather is finally upon us, most dog owners are accustomed to starting their pet on his/her monthly prevention for heartworm, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites. But, not all cat owners may think it is something they necessarily need to be concerned about.

There are some questions and misconceptions about parasites and cats.

Cats and Fleas

Fleas are the most typical parasite we will encounter on a cat’s examination. Here are some things about fleas that you may not now.

  • Fleas survive by ingesting blood from your pet. Because they need a blood meal to survive, it can potentially cause anemia in a particularly bad infestation.
  • Some cats will unfortunately develop an allergy to flea bites. Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) is one of the most common allergies diagnosed in cats. Cats plagued by FAD, can develop hair loss, skin irritation/sores, and will be very itchy. FAD is very uncomfortable for a cat.  It can cause them to seem “possessed” by the way they will involuntarily twitch and take off running away from the pain!
  • Fleas can carry some diseases, some of which can be dangerous for your cat, but others are actually more dangerous for you and your family. These are not commonly seen, but there can be risk. Fleas carry the agent responsible for cat scratch disease, as well as the most widely known, plague.
  • Fleas also carry parasites, such as tapeworms, that can be easily passed to any flea-infested cat.
  • Contrary to what a lot of people think, indoor cats are not safe from fleas. Fleas can make their way into our homes and our cats. They often come in on people, or dogs in the home that do go outdoors.
  • Fleas can survive the winter temperatures, and under the right circumstances, can still make an appearance.
  • Fleas can be very difficult to get rid of. Fleas live on your pet, but a bigger part of the infestation is usually in the pet’s environment. The flea eggs and larvae develop in our carpets, baseboards, pet bedding. Once there is an infestation, both the environment and your all pets in the home, need to be treated. It can take a few months of treatment to be completely rid of the parasite. Please call one of your friendly staff here at Princess Animal Hospital, and ask us about which product is best for your pet.

Cats and Ticks

Ticks were not something many cat owners were concerned about in previous years. However, now that Kingston, ON has become the most prevalent area in the province for ticks, we are seeing them more and more on our feline friends, too. Many of which are on leash in their own backyard!

  • Ticks are most often found around the face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Ticks cement themselves to your cat’s skin with a substance from their mouth that they use while feeding on your pet’s blood. The most effective method to remove them, is with a pair of tweezers or tick-twisters. Get as close the skin as possible, and pull straight out. Remove them as soon as possible, to reduce risk of infection, and be sure to completely remove the head. If you are hesitant to do it yourself, come have one of your friendly technicians at Princess Animal Hospital help you.
  • Ticks are slow moving, but will hang out in grass and on plants, where they can latch on to passing hosts.
  • Ticks can be found on indoor cats, as well. They can come in on a person, or other pet, and fall off. Then when the opportunity arises, latch on to your kitty.
  • Unfortunately, ticks can be hardy and survive during the winter under the right circumstances.
  • Ticks can carry diseases that may be passed on to your cat. One of the most serious of these diseases is cytauxzoonsosis, a disease that is often fatal for an infected cat.
  • Speak with your veterinarian or technician, about what you can do to help protect your cat.
  • Be sure to checking your cat for ticks on a regular basis, and remove them immediately.

Cats and Intestinal Parasites

  • Many indoor cat owners don’t feel monthly parasite control is necessary. Many parasites however, can be shed at different times. We, here at Princess Animal Hospital, do recommend that if you would rather not use preventative for you cat, that you perform an annual stool sample analysis to ensure no infection is present.
  • Tapeworms, roundworm and hookworm are the most common intestinal parasites we see in cats. It is especially important to treat your kitten, as mom’s can easily pass them on to their babies.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 613-634-7123, or send us an email to pah@princessanimalhospital.com, with any questions or if you would like us to set aside some preventive for your cat!