Cats can catch fleas in numerous ways: from another pet, a vet visit, and even from you.
It’s almost inevitable but there are ways to prevent the infection, or at least keep it under control.
If you’re wondering whether your cat has fleas or not, there are some signs.
So, how to tell if a cat has fleas? It’s quite simple really.
Let’s take a look at the signs.
9 Signs to Look For to Tell if Your Cat Has Fleas
These are the most common signs to tell whether your cat has fleas or not.
1. Scratching Himself More Often
This might seem obvious, but if an insect bites you, it will start to itch.
That’s the case with cats and fleas. Your cat will do anything to stop feeling itchy.
You’ll notice that your cat scratches itself more than usual or even biting and chewing her fur.
Sometimes, extra scratching can cause hair loss.
2. Excessive Grooming
When it comes to grooming, there isn’t a pet better than a cat.
Cats know how to groom every inch of their body perfectly. However, a cat with fleas will tend to groom excessively and restlessly.
Your cat will groom extra around their tail base, around their neck, and the back of their legs.
In addition to that, the grooming may lead to hair loss, to the extent that you might start spotting bald areas.
3. Your Cat Might Lose Weight
A flea itself won’t make your cat lose weight, but a tapeworm will.
Sometimes, fleas carry tapeworm larva with them. So when your cat catches some fleas, it catches the tapeworms along.
Your cat might swallow it while biting their fur.
Tapeworms live in a cat’s intestines, stick to the walls, lay their eggs there, and feed on your cat’s food.
This results in a considerable weight loss. They’re usually small white worms that you can spot in your cat’s feces.
It’s better to prevent fleas infestation ahead to avoid all the risks of tapeworms.
4. They Might Become Weak and Lethargic
You can if your cat is weak in more than one way.
You might notice that your cat has pale gums, loss of appetite, or muscle loss. This can indicate that your cat has anemia due to blood loss caused by fleas.
Flea anemia is more common in kittens and senior cats. However, other factors can also cause anemia.
That’s why you’ll need to brush your cat’s fur with a comb to look for fleas.
5. Her Behavior Changes
My cat is usually very calm. However, if something is bothering her, her behavior will change.
This could be the case if your cat has fleas. They might shake their head continuously and rub their bodies on the floor.
Moreover, your cat might be aggressive or edgy. It’s all justified since they’re suffering.
6. She Might Leave Bite Marks on Herself
Fleas leave marks on the cat’s skin when they bite them, and that may cause inflammation or redness.
Furthermore, you might find that your cat has scab-like bumps and red skin lesions.
In some cases, things can get worse if your cat is allergic to flea saliva. That’s why I recommend keeping your cat on flea preventative.
7. Your Cat Might Avoid Certain Places
If there are fleas in your home, they’ll linger around carpets, furniture, and bedding.
They prefer humid areas. Your cat will start avoiding these areas, and they’ll go for tile flooring or wooden one.
This is a sign that your cat is running away from fleas.
The trick here is to vacuum regularly and keep your house as clean as possible. You can also use flea-repellent sprays for cleaning.
8. You Notice Flea Dirt or Cat Dandruff
Flea dirt looks like pepper-like specks.
You might notice these in your cat’s bedding, on their fur, or even in the comb after you brush their fur.
If you want to make sure that this is flea dirt, place it on a damp towel, if it turns into a red spot, then that is flea dirt.
You might also find red spots on your cat’s bedding.
That means that there was flea dirt in the area that turned red from your cat’s body moisture.
9. You Can See Adult Fleas
This is the most apparent sign on the list.
You’ll see those little vampires on your cat’s fur. Adult fleas have flat bodies, and they’re about ⅛ of an inch.
They don’t have wings, and they’re as small as a pinhead.
They’re pretty good at hiding, but you might find them around your cat’s stomach, lower back, or hind legs.
All you need is a good brush.
How Can I Check My Cat for Fleas?
Seeing one, two, or even three signs might not be enough.
You’ll need to brush your cat’s fur to look for fleas or even flea dirt. Regularly brushing your cat can help you get rid of flea eggs and larva before they start their life cycle.
To do this the right way, you’ll need to get a white sheet and place your cat on it. Then start brushing your cat’s fur from head to tail carefully.
As you go, look at the comb’s teeth for fleas, flea eggs, and flea dirt.
There are different types of combs and brushes to get the job done. It’s always ideal to get a brush suitable for your cat’s hair length, whether it’s long or short.
Metal combs are usually sturdy and they have minor gaps between the teeth to catch more fleas.
However, you can find plastic ones of high quality. No matter what you choose, remember to brush your cat at least once per day.
Your cat won’t be able to speak and address the issue, that’s why you need to pay extra attention and monitor everything, to give her a safe environment.
Your cat will get fleas, one way or another.
All you can do is stay alert for these signs, brush regularly, and keep the house vacuumed.
It’s also a good idea to keep your cat on flea preventative all year.
Steve is a blogger with an unhealthy cat obsession. He enjoys reading non-fiction books, cooking and cuddles with his cat Fij.