Is Year-Round Flea & Tick Prevention Necessary for Cats?

Are you ever tempted to skip those flea and tick preventions when the weather gets cold? Just because you don't notice fleas and ticks doesn't mean they're not there, so skipping doses isn't a good idea.

Since fleas can survive up to 5 days in temperatures as low as 33 degrees, if you live in the Deep South, you could have year-round fleas! Plus, factor in the conditions in your home, there will seldom - if ever - be times when conditions are cold enough to kill all the fleas your cat could encounter.

As PetMD reminds us: “Flea pupae can remain dormant for over a year until the surroundings have reached ideal temperatures. Once conditions are ideal (either inside or outside), the pupae will complete their development and emerge from their cocoons en masse, resulting in a surge of activity both on and off your pets." Because those ideal temperatures are 65-80 degrees, it's unlikely fleas that have set up residence indoors will have any problems no matter what kinds of conditions are found outside! Of course, even if freezing temperatures have occurred, fleas and/or their eggs may have been hidden in warmer spots (under debris, in sheds, on an animal, etc.), so cold temperatures are no guarantee that all outdoor fleas have been killed.

 

Simple Cat Flea & Tick Preventives For Everyone

How do you make sure your kitty stays free of these blood-sucking pests? You’re probably familiar with the types of preventives that go on your cat’s back between the shoulder blades. Chances are, you have a prescription for one of these from your veterinarian (our most recommended flea prevention products are pictured here). They're great ways to keep fleas and ticks at bay.

However, there are also other ways you can help prevent fleas and ticks from infesting your cat and household (though they don't replace the topical treatments). These steps can be especially important if fleas have set up residence in your home, not just on your pet(s).

 

  • Vacuum frequently -- Carpeted floors, kitty beds, and upholstered furniture all offer havens for fleas to lay eggs. However, you can vacuum up the flea eggs prior to hatching. Just be sure to empty the vacuum canister promptly. 
  • Wash bedding regularly -- It also helps to wash linens and pet bedding in hot water at least weekly. The detergent, hot water and drying action all work to kill fleas (at all stages of development).
  • Use fresh-squeezed citrus -- You can squeeze lemon juice on your pet’s bedding or favorite sitting areas. Fleas don’t like the smell of citrus so they’ll tend to stay away. Be careful, though: essential oils of lemon and orange contain limonene (a substance found in the rind of the fruit) which is toxic to pets and can cause liver damage - many essential oils are toxic, in fact, so be very careful about which ones, if any, you use. Luckily, limonene can only be extracted using special equipment, so fresh-squeezed juices are safe (as long as no one's allergic). 


If you incorporate these simple steps in conjunction with prescription flea and tick medications, you’ll protect your kitties (and yourself). If you need to purchase flea and tick preventives for your cat, you can do so at any of our locations or at our online store.


Fleas and Ticks Transmit Disease

Fleas and ticks are more than just itch-inducing, blood-sucking pests. They can cause serious health problems, too, such as anemia, allergies, Bartonella, Lyme disease, and more. In addition to making sure your cat is current on his/her preventives, if Kitty goes outside, be sure to check him/her for ticks when s/he comes back inside. If you do find a tick, be sure to remove it promptly! (It's important to do it correctly, though - here are directions to make sure you get the whole thing.) Prompt tick removal reduces the risk of disease transmission, though it doesn't eliminate it entirely. The majority of tick-borne diseases take a little time to transmit from a tick to your pet (e.g., Lyme disease takes at least 48 hours to transmit from tick to cat); however, other diseases may transfer more quickly.

 

As you can see, your cat does need year-round flea and tick preventives. If you have questions about flea and tick prevention or need to schedule an appointment to discuss which ones are best for Kitty, please contact us!

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