Checking your cat for fleas, and then consistently grooming the pests out if you find them, is an important part of fighting fleas. If you suspect a flea infestation, check your cat’s coat by running a flea comb down her back and legs, making sure to stay as close as possible to her skin so you give yourself the best shot at getting as many fleas off her as possible. The flea comb is a valuable asset because it’s many, closely placed teeth decrease the likelihood that a flea will simply slip between a gap in the teeth, as can easily be the case with a common comb. Have a bowl of soapy water nearby so that you can drown any fleas that you find by dipping the coomb in the water after each pass. Comb in the direction of hair growth, up to several times daily if the infestation is far along. Be sure to also do a visual inspection in places that might be hard to comb through, but that fleas love to hide. These include warm, protected areas like the base of the tail, the armpits, and groin area. Sometimes, if a case of fleas has advanced enough, you might see little brown or black spots jumping around in your cat’s fur – this is a definite sign to start flea treatment.
If your cat isn’t too fussy about getting wet, a flea bath is another good way to fight an existing case of fleas. This can be done after an initial combing, as the first rinse can help wash off any fleas, larvae or waste that you might have brushed up but hasn’t yet fallen off. After getting them rinsed off, lather them up with a flea shampoo, this will help kill any fleas it comes into contact with and some may act as a repellent for a short period after the bath. Once you’ve lathered up your cat well, including all the nooks and crannies where fleas like to hang out, you can rinse them off again and repeat the process, until there are no more visible signs of fleas. Your cat’s vet or groomer can give you a specific shampoo recommendation that’s best for your cat. Especially if your cat is already taking a medicated flea treatment or other medication, be sure to consult your vet, to make sure any mix of drugs won’t lead to any negative side effects or reactions.
Lastly, don’t forget to treat other pets in your home, as fleas can easily jump from one animal to another, and will certainly lodge themselves into the surrounding environment.
Unfortunately, the fight against fleas does not end with your cat. If your cat has fleas, then your home is also a breeding ground for the parasites. Eggs and larvae can fall off your cat and end up in your carpet, bedding, and upholstered furniture. As a single female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, you can see how fleas can multiply quickly if left unchecked.