Flea allergy dermatitis in cats is just as dangerous as it is in dogs, but there is one major difference; several flea treatments can be very dangerous to cats.
Flea allergy dermatitis is caused by the saliva of the flea, is very itchy, and can easily cause several types of secondary infections in your cat.
However, there is one huge misconception about this condition and the number of fleas that infect your cat.
As strange as it sounds, most all cats affected by flea allergy dermatitis in cats actually have just a few fleas.
However, it takes just a few flea bites in a short period of time for your cat to become severely affected by this condition and start to itch all of the time.
Once your cat has been bitten and they are subject to allergic reactions, it is now a full blown case of flea allergy dermatitis.
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats, as the name implies, is caused by an allergic reaction to fleas and their saliva.
Fleas are bloodsucking insects that have a much longer life span than most people realize, as they can live between 6 and 12 months.
Their life span is affected tremendously by environmental conditions.
If these conditions are controlled, they may live for just a few weeks, but if they are not controlled, they can live as long as a year.
The optimal condition for fleas to survive is where the humidity is between 75 and 85 percent, and the temperature is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Contrary to more misconception, the temperature is not the most important factor; the humidity is.
An adult flea spends the majority of their lifespan on the host, which in this case is your cat, while the immature stages, the eggs, are found in the environment.
Despite all of the recent advances in flea controls and all the claims that are made, flea bite allergies and flea bite dermatitis in cats still continues to be a very large problem.
In fact, once your cat develops an allergy, they do not become desensitized to the allergy.
If your cat is lucky and does not develop an allergy or the lesions that follow, they will still bite and scratch when they are bitten.
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats has several symptoms, and most all of them will affect your pet.
The peak time for the symptoms to occur is during the summer and fall months when the flea population is in their prime.
However, it is important to remember that if the environment is right for the fleas, these symptoms can occur all year long.
The first sign or symptom of Flea allergy dermatitis in cats is itching. But it will not be just a mild form of itching, it will be severe itching.
Once this does occur, your cat will begin to chew or bite their tail, rump area, as well as their back legs.
Occasionally they may also bite their front legs if the allergy is severe.
What makes this condition so dangerous is that it will not just be for a few days of itching; it can last several days with the intense itching.
If it does last for more than a few days, your cat’s hair coat where the itching is the most intense will begin to thin or actually start to fall out.
The feces, or flea dirt as it is often called, will dissolve into a reddish color as it is basically digested blood from your cat.
Other symptoms of Flea allergy dermatitis in cats will include oozing lesions, which are referred to as lick granuloma as the result of your cat actual chewing their own skin.
Hot spots may also develop on their face or their hips, which is where most of the skin damage occurs as the result of the itching.
As the allergy increases, they may also develop crusty papules, which are small reddish raised lesions, as well as severe hair loss, which is known as alopecia.
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats has several forms of treatments, as well as several natural treatments.
The problem is that some of these treatments can not only be totally ineffective, they can also be extremely dangerous to your cat.
There are several very effective flea collars and treatments that available for dogs, but cats are much more sensitive and the vast majority of these products can be very dangerous to cats.
When dealing with fleas in cats, it is very important to understand that the treatment does not have to involve toxic chemicals that can do more harm than good.
If your cat is healthy and has no immune compromising conditions, they should be able to use over the counter treatments.
However, the long term effects of these treatments should concern all cat owners. For this reason, it is in the best interest of your cat to start the treatments with the least toxic methods.
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats should always begin with the least toxic treatments, but this does not necessarily mean natural treatments.
Even natural treatments can be very harmful to your cat if not used properly. Herbal flea powders as well as collars can very effectively deter fleas from your cat, and that is your main objective.
If you have a kitten, Dawn dish washing liquid makes an excellent and very effective as well as non-toxic bath remedy for fleas.
If your cat is primarily an indoor cat, herbal flea powders will not be very effective. The reason for this is really quite simple; they do not kill fleas.
They are very effective at disturbing them but when this occurs, they will simply jump off of the host, your cat, and lay in wait for the next opportunity.
In this case, you may want to use an herbal flea collar instead, as they repeal fleas continuously, and as a result, are much more effective.
However, even before you try this method, consult with your veterinarian.
If someone recommends any flea treatment that contains citrus oil, run, do not walk away as they are extremely dangerous to your cat.
If a treatment for fleas contains the compound penny-royal, do the same thing.
This can easily cause liver damage in your cat so read the label very carefully.
There are also other natural treatments that have been talked about for years by naturalists but they are actually quite ineffective.
These natural remedies include Garlic, B vitamins, as well as brewer’s yeast.
All three have several benefits for cats, but controlling fleas in not one of them.
Electronic flea collars are also shown to be ineffective and can also very irritating to your cat.
The Best Methods
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats is best controlled by natural means but you need to use several different methods. Killing the adult fleas is the first line of attack but you also need to kill the eggs.
Since the flea eggs lay in your carpet, your furniture, or even the cracks in your floors, you need to attack this area as well.
Place a flea collar in your vacuum as it will kill the fleas inside once you vacuum, and then replace it at least every two weeks during peak season.
Taking care of your lawn and mowing it regularly helps to expose the soil to more sunlight, which kills flea larvae instantly.
If you have regular ants in your yard, do not kill them, as they love to eat flea larvae and eggs and are natures best defense against fleas.
Use flea baths with Dawn dish washing soap even on mature cats as it is non-toxic and very effective at killing fleas.
Flea allergy dermatitis in cats is best treated naturally, but with one the safest of treatments as cats are very sensitive. Proper hygiene and grooming practices will also help to control the fleas.
Comb your cat after each bath with a flea comb to remove the eggs as well as the dead larvae and dead fleas.
However, when you do this, conduct the combing very slowly and take your time.
Make absolutely certain that all pepper grains which are flea dirt is removed. Your cat is very sensitive to several toxins, and taking it slow and natural is by far and away the best method.