Fleas are not only annoying, but they’re also dangerous. Getting rid of these pesky little parasites (using a product like Revolution) is an important part of being a cat owner.
Being a pet owner has more rewards than challenges. Keeping our pets happy and healthy will allow them to live long and comfortable lives. Making sure that they have yearly veterinarian visits and keeping up to date on their vaccinations is only part of being a responsible pet owner.
Most cats can live their lives independent of their owners and stay healthy. Few things from the outside world can negatively affect them, health-wise. Probably the worst of those things is the infestation of fleas.
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Fleas are pesky little bugs that can drive your cat nuts. They can also drive their pet humans insane as well. It’s more than aggravation when it comes to these tiny parasites.
Fleas are only 1/6 to 1/8 of an inch in length when they become adults. Although they have wings, their ability to jump is probably one of their greatest talents. A tiny flea is capable of jumping straight up 7 inches and jumping forward more than 12 inches.
Flea infestations are probably the biggest challenge of being a pet owner. They are dangerous to pets as they carry various diseases and afflict your pet’s skin from incessant biting. Most pets are actually allergic to the saliva which serves to make the skin irritation far worse than it would be just from the bites and scratching itself.
This skin irritation can also lead to your cat pulling large clumps of fur out of his or her skin. With a cat’s constant grooming habits, they are actually capable of cutting the skin itself. Cat skin, while well-protected by their coats, is actually quite thin and delicate, and if exposed, can be easily injured.
Fleas are little more than an irritation to humans. While they will bite people, they don’t live and hide on human skin. That is one of the biggest problems with our pets: fleas live and thrive in their fur while feeding on their blood.
When it comes to puppies and kittens, fleas are especially dangerous. The amount of blood that fleas are capable of consuming can actually make your little ones dangerously anemic. If your kittens are under eight weeks old, it’s not recommended that you use an adult dosage to treat them.
In lower elevations and warmer climates, flea issues can be a year-round problem. In colder climates, the fleas either die, or they enter a dormant phase where they’re capable of remaining until the weather turns warmer. Eggs can actually survive winter and hatch when the weather turns warm again.
The most common ailment that fleas can spread is tapeworm. The tapeworm lives inside the fleas and if your pet eats the flea, then he or she can develop tapeworm as well. It isn’t unheard of for a human child to get tapeworm from a flea which makes them a double threat.
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Life Cycle of a Flea
From the stage of egg to death, fleas undergo a complete metamorphosis. They go through four distinct stages of development. They go from egg to larvae building a cocoon, to pupae form where they will finish their development before emerging as full adult fleas. Once they emerge, they live for approximately 60-100 days.
The ideal climate for fleas is a temperature of between 55 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Above the 95 degrees mark, the flea is unable to survive their cocoon stage. Below 55 degrees, larvae fail to pupate, and those in the pupae form will begin to die. The cold weather process does not happen overnight as it can be a good three to six weeks before all four stages are dead.
The adult flea will lay between one and fifty eggs at one time. Eggs are only laid on the host, or in other words, on your cat. The eggs usually hatch within one to ten days when the larvae emerge.
The larvae stage is when they are most vulnerable. Within about 72 hours, the larvae will begin to spin their cocoon. The flea will remain in the larvae stage for five to eleven days.
Once the larvae have spun their cocoon, they enter the pupae stage. In this stage, they will continue their development over the next seven to nineteen days. This stage is considered the pre-adult stage. Pupae are usually almost invisible to the human eye and are usually well hidden within the fur or their host.
The pupae stage is also when the flea is considered to be hardiest. Should there be a drastic change to the environment, such as the pupae falling off the host animal or weather changing to a less than ideal climate, they can survive in that state for an additional six months.
Once the flea emerges from the pupa stage, it will live for 60 to 100 days. During that time, the female flea is capable of laying up to 50 fleas at a time. That means that during its lifetime, a female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs. This is what leads to infestations on your cat and in your home.
Traditionally, flea treatment took the form of a flea collar and pesticides in the home to get rid of infestations and ward off these tiny predators. Too often, the infestation would get so bad that owners would need to surrender their pets to shelters for treatment.
Until recent years, one was limited to the flea collars found in supermarkets for cats and dogs. It was generally assumed that setting off a bug bomb would take care of the problem in any remaining parts of the house. Unfortunately, neither of these products could eliminate all four stages of the flea lifecycle.
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As further research became available, it was soon discovered that keeping the house vacuumed frequently would help alleviate the problem of those eggs and pupae that would drop off the host animal and on to the floor. As we became aware of the reality of the toxicity of pesticides, such as those found in bug bombs, new options became a priority.
Now, integrated pest management is used for the treatment of fleas on your cat or dog. It’s important to note that medication intended for dogs should never be used on a cat and vice versa. In addition to washing linens in hot water and regular vacuuming, the most effective treatment for your pets is something known as “spot-on” treatment. You apply a single spot of medication directly on a hard to reach part of your pet’s skin (so fluffy can’t lick it off). This is generally the neck and shoulder area.
The best-known and most recommended spot-on treatment is Revolution.
Since the invention of spot-on flea treatments, there have been some that would take care of adult fleas while others would take care of the eggs. This would involve multiple trips to the veterinarian for treatment. The need for a single spot-on medication that would take care of all stages of the fleas life was apparent.
Revolution is the answer to solving your cat’s flea problems. The 5-in-1 parasite protection effectively gets rid of adult fleas, eggs, ear mites, roundworms/hookworms, and heartworm. It must be applied once a month and can only be obtained with a veterinary recommendation and prescription.
As previously mentioned, it’s important that you only use Revolution on your feline companion. Treatments meant for dogs should never be used on cats.
Revolution comes in a convenient single-dose tube. If you have just bathed your cat, make sure that he or she is completely dry before applying the treatment. If your pet gets wet after the treatment has been applied, have no worries. Tests show that Revolution is still effective.
Before treating your cat, make sure that you wash your hands. Once you have gently restrained your cat, take the tube of Revolution and press on the cap to break the seal. Remove the cap and make sure that the tube is completely opened.
Gently restrain your cat. Find a spot at the base of your cat’s neck, generally in front of their shoulder blades, and part the fur until you reach the skin. Make sure that the skin is not broken in any way.
Squeeze the tube three or four times until it is empty. Make sure that all of the medicine is on one single spot on the animal’s skin. Do not rub the medicine into the fur. Make sure that you wash your hands right away as there is a possibility that it might irritate the skin on your hands.
Although side effects are infrequent, you might notice that your cat has an upset digestive system. They may also temporarily lose hair at the site where you applied the medicine. Some flaking of the skin might also occur. Human side effects can include irritation to the eyes and skin, which is why it is recommended that you wash your hands immediately after administering the medication.
Revolution will work quite quickly and is waterproof two hours following application. For continued effectiveness, the treatment should be repeated monthly.
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Regular monthly usage of Revolution will keep fleas and ear mites away and will protect your cat from heartworms, hookworms, and roundworms. It’s best to have your cat checked for heartworm before beginning flea treatment. Revolution is only available via veterinary prescription so that your veterinarian can keep track of your cats progress and health. Make sure that you continue all vaccinations and any other veterinary treatment as needed during the course of flea treatment and beyond.
Product data was last updated on 2022-09-30.
"In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this."
-- Terry Pratchett