Fleas can cause more than just discomfort for your cat. They can also carry other parasites and cause illness. If you suspect or know your cat has fleas or a flea-related illness, see your veterinarian immediately. Your cat will be happier, healthier and more comfortable, and could even live longer.
While all cats are bothered by flea bites, some are actually allergic to flea saliva. This causes a condition called flea dermatitis. It is identified by the small, red bumps and inflamed red skin the flea saliva causes. They are most often found on areas that the cat can't scratch, such as the back of his neck or the top of his head. Other areas where this inflammation may be found include the groin, lower back, thighs, abdomen and bottom. Obviously, excessive scratching and licking due to extreme itch is another symptom.
Flea Miliary Dermatitis
Flea miliary dermatitis is another disease that fleas can cause. It is also called feline ezcema and scabby cat disease. Fleas are one of multiple causes of it. When they are the cause, the symptoms are similar to those of flea dermatitis, but are mostly located near the base of the kitty's tail.
Tapeworms are a parasite that fleas can cause. Cats who have fleas swallow them in the process of grooming. They, in turn, release tapeworms into the digestive tract. They can grow from 4 to 24 inches long. Signs include mobile rice-like worm segments around the anus and dead segments in stool.
Anemia and Iron Deficiency
As parasites that live on blood, fleas can cause anemia in cats. Anemia is a condition in which there is a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells in the body. Iron deficiency can also be caused by flea infestation. Kittens and senior kitties are especially vulnerable to anemia and iron deficiency caused by fleas. In these two groups, it can even be fatal.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Leslie Carver has been a professional author since 2009. Her work appears on multiple websites. She has an associate's degree in English with progress toward her bachelor's at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been awarded an Outstanding Student Award in English and twice nominated for creative writing awards.