Checking Their Fur and Skin
To take a closer look and see whether you can spot any fleas, take a flea comb and run it through your cat’s coat, over it’s back and legs. The flea comb is a necessity because the small, closely set teeth on the comb will give you a much better shot at catching the tiny creatures, while using a normal comb allows them to slip right between the teeth. When combing, make sure to get as close to the skin as you can, which will help increase your shot of catching the creatures in the skin where they are burrowed.
Fleas are very small, dark brown flat insects so can be difficult to see with the naked eye. What’s more, they can move quickly by jumping quite high, so you may have to be fast and vigilant with the comb.
In addition, turn your cat on her back and pay special attention to areas that are warm and dry, where fleas tend to feel most at home. These include under the armpits and the groin area. Having some warm, soapy water nearby can be useful, in case you do find any live fleas and need to dispose of them.
Other Signs and Symptoms
In severe cases of fleas, your cat may develop anemia from excess blood loss. If your cat’s gums become pale or you notice a colour change in their skin, or if they become extremely tired and experience muscle loss, contact your vet immediately. At this point, fleas have led to a much more serious medical condition.
Cats that have been scratching themselves excessively because of fleas can also have dry, red or bumpy skin. Of course, this is more likely to show up on the bits of your cat with the most exposed skin, like the ears, belly, groin, or base of the tail. Your cat may also be allergic to a flea’s bite, which can cause scab like skin lesions, redness, hair loss and inflammation.
Fleas living in a cat’s fur also means flea feces are left behind, so if you are having trouble spotting the little creatures themselves, take a look for their waste product. An easy way to check for flea feces is to brush your cat over a white towel and watch for any black specs that might fall off while grooming. If spraying some water on those specs turns them into a dark red and brown color, then they are bits of digested blood that the fleas have left behind. Another common place to find flea feces is in your cat’s bed or sleeping area, so don’t forget to take a look.