Some years ago, veterinarians recommended cat flea and tick prevention primarily during the summer months, unless you lived in a warm climate. The prevailing notion was that the sustained cold killed the pesky parasites. However, with changing weather patterns, those fleas and ticks may not die out completely. Even if your home experiences colder temperatures, any flea pupae lurking in your surroundings may survive.
According to PetMD, flea pupae can remain dormant for over a year until the conditions are ideal for their hatching. Once those conditions are met, such as a warm indoor environment or a sudden rise in outdoor temperatures, the pupae will emerge en masse, resulting in a surge of flea activity on both your pets and within your home.
Fleas thrive in temperatures ranging from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 75 to 85 percent humidity. All they need is a cozy spot to settle down and lay their eggs. For most pet owners who maintain warm indoor temperatures throughout the winter, this means that a flea population can remain active year-round.
Simple Preventives for Everyone
You’re probably familiar with the preventive treatments that go on your cat’s back between the shoulder blades. These prescriptions, recommended by your veterinarian, effectively keep fleas and ticks at bay. However, there are also other simple and effective ways to prevent flea and tick infestations in your cat and household.
1. Vacuum frequently
Fleas can lay eggs in carpeted floors, kitty beds, and upholstered furniture, among other surfaces. By vacuuming regularly, you can remove flea eggs before they hatch. Just remember to promptly empty the vacuum canister to prevent reinfestation. Additionally, washing linens and pet bedding in hot water at least once a week can help eliminate fleas.
2. Use citrus
Fleas dislike the smell of citrus. Squeeze some lemon juice onto your pet’s bedding or create a mixture of lemon essential oil and water to spray on your cat’s favorite sitting areas. By incorporating these simple steps alongside prescription flea and tick medications, you can effectively protect your feline companions and yourself from these pests. It’s crucial to remember that fleas and ticks can carry dangerous diseases.
Fleas and Ticks Transmit Disease
Aside from causing discomfort, fleas and ticks pose a significant risk by transmitting diseases. An infestation in your home means that these parasites can easily go from your pets to you and your family. Ticks, in particular, are notorious for feeding on various animals, from mice and deer to opossums. Due to their prolonged feeding periods, ticks have ample time to acquire and transmit disease. Even a single tick bite can result in multiple tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, which can be harmful to both cats and humans.
Don’t Forget the Heartworms
Heartworm disease, which is potentially fatal, affects both dogs and cats and can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can survive year-round in many regions, and it only takes a few days of temperatures above 57°F for heartworm larvae to become infective within a mosquito. These insects can transmit heartworms indoors, even during the winter months. Surprisingly, around 30 percent of cats diagnosed with heartworm disease are considered “strictly indoors” by their owners.
As you can see, year-round flea, tick, and heartworm preventives are crucial for your cat’s well-being. We encourage you to discuss the most suitable preventive measures with your veterinarian to ensure the optimal health of your beloved feline companion.
If you have any questions or concerns about flea and tick prevention, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Katten TrimSalon.