Mrs. Quinn was shocked and became a bit defensive when we combed her dignified, handsome tabby Gus, only to find evidence of fleas. “But he’s indoors only, he’s not scratching, and I haven’t seen any fleas. Are you sure that is not just dirt!? And besides, how could they have gotten in the house? ”
After she had time to catch her breath, the more we discussed the presence of fleas, the fact that her beloved cat was harboring fleas began to sink in. I reassured her it had nothing to do with poor hygiene but everything to do with awareness of fleas. However, it took some convincing that they are not just annoying little parasites but are harmful and must be eliminated from her house and Gus as soon as possible.
This is an every day scenario here at the Cat Hospital of Portland, a cat who is diagnosed with fleas yet their family had no clue and felt blind-sided by the news. Let’s start with the most common myths regarding fleas:
Myth #1) “My cat(s) are indoors only. They don’t have fleas. “
Every day we see indoor cats with fleas. Just like other bugs such as spiders march their way into our homes, fleas are even better at it. They may hitch a ride on you or a guest and make their way in via the flea infested animals passing by your home (raccoons, opossums, other cats and dogs). By the time most people notice them, if one notices them, they’ve been in their house for approximately 2 months!
Prevention is key when it comes to adequate flea control! Often we hear “I’ll just keep flea combing them and if I see anything then I’ll get some flea products.” First of all, once you have an infestation, it’s already too late. Not only do you have to treat your cat, but you now have to treat the environment. This is not only tedious but expensive AND now your family has already been exposed to these harmful parasites.
Did you know that fleas may cause numerous illnesses to your cats and for human family members?
Cats can develop all of the following from fleas: