Cat Action Trust 1977 Jersey Branch
A lifeline for feral cats

Fleas, ticks and worms

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Throughout their life it is likely your cat will come across one or more parasites.

Fleas

All cats are allergic to flea saliva which is what makes them itch, it can also lead to hair loss and skin irritation.

Fleas can be identified as adults as small brown bugs that jump often and quickly. The eggs and young look like black specks (or pepper) on the cat or where they have been laying.

Treatment

If the infection has become extreme or if the cat is distressed you'll need to get medical powder or other medicine from a vet. If the infestation hasn't spread this far the house and the cat still need to be treated.

  1. You can give a cat a flea bath with medicated shampoo to relieve them first, but this isn't always possible with some cats.
  2. Put a spot on treatment, on the back of the cats neck, that targets fleas in each life stage. Due to recent resistance on Frontline you may need to get a stronger version from a vet. Research what you use, some (such as Bob Martin) have been known to cause reactions in allergic cats.
  3. Frequently comb your cat with a flea comb.
  4. Increase how often you hoover until the infestation is dealt with.
  5. You can also spray or flea bomb the house to kill fleas in the carpets.

Ticks

Are blood sucking parasites found in the wild that attack any warm blooded mammal that passes. Being bitten by a tick has a risk of Lyme disease and some are known to paralyse cats.

Treatment

Important wear gloves - ticks are dangerous to humans too!

The tick needs to be removed as soon as possible, it is best to use a tick hook to make sure the whole tick is removed. If you don't have access to a hook use tweezers on the ticks head - not the body. If the head is left in the risk of infection continues. Quickly drop the tick in alcohol and leave it for at least 10 minutes.

Worms

Worms are internal parasites that infect cats usually by eating contaminated substances.

  • Heartworm - from mosquito bites
  • Hookworm - from the ground or water
  • Roundworm - from eating eggs, through the mothers milk
  • Tapeworm - from eating or swallowing flea larvae or rodents

Treatment

Many of the common feline worms can be treated with year round preventive medicines, similar to flea spot ons. If the cat has been infected you'll need a dewormer for that particular parasite.