Fleas are never enjoyable, neither for you nor for your cat. Unfortunately, sometimes fleas end up attacking your cat and overtaking your home. Proper treatment with flea medicine for your cat and exterminating services for your home may eradicate the fleas, but your cat may still keep scratching if the animal suffers from flea allergy dermatitis. The following guide can help you provide your pet with relief.
Flea Allergy Causes and Symptoms
Like any allergy, flea dermatitis is the result of an immune response in your cat. In this case, the response is to flea bites and flea saliva. Your cat will experience skin irritation, including itching, redness, and bumps. Cats tend to scratch with both their teeth and their sharp claws, and they might start licking the itchy spots excessively. Other than scratching and licking behavior, you may notice scabs all over your cat from the constant scratching. Thin patches of hair and bald spots are also common due to the excessive licking.
Call the Vet
It's important to begin treatment with a visit to your vet. The veterinarian will verify that the issue is from a flea bite. They can also check your pet thoroughly for the little pests to ensure that fleas are no longer feeding on your cat. Once flea bite dermatitis is confirmed, your vet may prescribe an antihistamine to help relieve the itching and irritation. This medication is usually given as a pill, an oral liquid, or an injection. More rarely, you may be prescribed a cream to apply directly to the irritated areas, but you will have to monitor your pet after application to ensure they don't lick the cream.
Give Your Cat a Bath
Medicated shampoos designed to relieve your cat's discomfort can provide short term relief, but don't use any harsh flea shampoos. Only use shampoos that are formulated for cats because cats have very sensitive skin that can react poorly to human or dog shampoos. Wash your cat weekly until their dermatitis clears up and they no longer seem uncomfortable or prone to excessive scratching and licking.
Fleas can be an ongoing problem, so don't let your guard down. If your cat suffers from a flea bite allergy, you will need to provide flea treatments for the rest of your pet's life to prevent another irritating infestation. Further, wash any pet beds and blankets regularly so they don't harbor fleas. It's also a good idea to vacuum carpets and furniture frequently to help minimize the chances of another home infestation.
Contact a veterinarian if you suspect your cat has a flea allergy.