How to get rid of fleas on cats - hero
How to get rid of fleas on cats - hero


Fleas are a common parasite of cats in Australia. This article will provide you with important information about how to recognise, treat and prevent fleas in cats.

What are fleas?

Fleas are small wingless insects known for their exceptional jumping ability. The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is the most common flea species infesting cats in Australia. 

Fleas are more than just a nuisance for your cat, they can cause skin disease and, in high numbers, can cause anaemia. They can even transmit infectious or parasitic diseases, some of which can be transmitted to people too.

How do cats get fleas?

Cats can pick up fleas from environments where other flea-infested animals have been. This could be your home, backyard or other outside areas. It is rare for adult fleas to jump directly from one animal to another. The flea life cycle consists of four stages; eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults. Of these, only the adults live on your cat, with the rest found in the environment where your cat lives and sleeps. One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day.

These fall off into the environment to develop into larvae, then pupae and finally emerge as new adult fleas 3 weeks to 12 months later, depending upon temperature and humidity. It is these newly emerged adult fleas that may re-infest your cat. These environmental stages actually account for 95% of the problem – the adult fleas you may see on your cat are only the tip of the iceberg.

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What do fleas look like on cats?

Fleas are small and very quick moving, so it can be hard to spot them. To the human eye, fleas look like little dark red or brownish ovals. If you do spot a flea, be prepared for it to disappear suddenly as it crawls or jumps away.

What does flea dirt look like?

Sometimes you may not see the fleas themselves, but you may see flea dirt on cats. Flea dirt is actually flea faeces, and it looks just like regular dirt. The way to tell the difference is to take some and put it on a wet tissue – flea dirt will stain the tissue red.

What do flea eggs look like on cats?

It is unlikely that you will see flea eggs on cats. Adult female fleas lay their eggs on the skin or fur of their host animal and then the tiny, light-coloured, oval eggs fall off the coat into the environment.

Flea treatment for cats

If your cat has fleas and you’re wondering how to treat them, when it comes to the best flea treatment for cats, you can’t go past NexGard SPECTRA® for Cats. It provides highly effective flea control for cats, as well as protection against ticks, mites, heartworm, lungworm and intestinal worms (including tapeworms), all in one easy, monthly application.

Flea prevention for cats

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When it comes to fleas, prevention is definitely better than cure. Remember, by the time you see fleas on your cat, chances are they have already started laying eggs to infest your home! You can’t really avoid new adult fleas jumping onto your cat, but what you can do is make sure that they don’t set up home on your cat and infest your home.

Don’t wait until you see fleas on your cat, as by then your home may already be infested. NexGard SPECTRA® kills newly acquired adult fleas before they can lay eggs and therefore prevents environmental flea contamination. It prevents flea infestations for at least 5 weeks, ensuring protection for a full month.


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  • Can humans get fleas from cats?

    Yes, it is possible for cat fleas to bite humans, although they prefer their feline hosts and are not likely to remain on your skin. Fleas are more than just a nuisance for humans, they can transmit bacteria responsible for cat-scratch disease and flea-borne spotted fever.

  • Can indoor cats get fleas?

    Even if your cat lives indoors, they may still be at risk of fleas or other parasites. Potential sources of flea infestations include other pets visiting your home or wild animals that live around your home.

  • Can fleas cause hair loss in cats?

    Fleas are one potential cause of hair loss in cats. It’s best to consult your veterinarian if you notice hair loss or skin lesions.


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