What if you find kitten fleas?
A kitten is very small – and thus very vulnerable to fleas. Kittens can even be killed by fleas if the fleas are allowed to multiply. If this happens, too many flea bites literally drain the blood out of the kitten. So quick action is essential if you notice a kitten has fleas.
Because of their small size kittens cannot handle the toxic substances in commercial flea products. If you use them, it may be that you harm your kitten. So never use commercial flea products on a young kitten under 8 weeks of age – and even when it is a case of an older kitten, first check your vet what you should do to get rid of the parasites.
If your kitten is still nursing, it is quite probable mother cat and other kittens in the litter have fleas too. So you need to treat them all, starting from the mother. Then, when you have treated your kittens, you can take them directly to their mother without fear of them being re-infested.
The safest way to handle kitten fleas is bathing.
Wash your kitten with baby shampoo in warm water, being careful not to put any of the shampoo on its eyes or nose. (Some cat people recommend Dawn dishwashing soap) You will need to keep your kitten still for a few minutes to let the suds have an effect (and stop the kitten from trying to wash it off). The soapy water and suds will drown the fleas and wash out as many flea eggs as possible.
Then rinse the kitten carefully. If you can, keep the kitten’s body underwater with only the head above waer surface. The fleas will try to escape the treatment by climbing up to the kittens head, and this is when you can pick them out, one by one. Be careful not to use sharp tweezers so you won’t harm your kitten, especially if it is trying to squirm. So blunt-tipped tweezers or fingernails are the best tools.
Dry the kitten gently and then take a flea comb and go through its still slightly damp fur carefully. The teeth of the flea comb are so close together they won’t let even a flea or their eggs pass through. Dip the flea comb into hot soapy water after each stroke – hot water and soap kill fleas, but they can jump out of cold water. So the hotter, the better, but do take care your kitten cannot get to the hot water and injure itself.
You can also use Vaseline to help you catch the fleas. If you put it on the flea comb, it stops the fleas from escaping. Also you can take Vaseline to your fingers and put that on top of a flea you notice. It is pretty hard for a flea to move in Vaseline, so you catch the fleas easier.
You will need to repeat the bathing for twice a week for two-three weeks as new fleas hatch every three days.
Of course you need to keep the kitten warm after washing, so make sure it has a warm soft place to go to.
And, of course, after dealing with the kitten fleas, you will need to throughly clean your home to get rid of the fleas not in their adult stages (eggs, larvae and pupae), or else your kitten is re-infected very quickly.
You can read here about feline allergy dermatitis treatment in adult cats.
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