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Flea Treatment for Cats

By David Loneragan | Dated April 27, 2015

Fleas are small, dark brown insects that are parasites. They commonly infest the coat of cats and dogs in Australia causing them constant skin irritation, becoming a real pest. Getting a flea problem under control on your cat can also be a real pest to pet owners!

How did my cat get fleas?

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Fleas in Cat Fur

Initially, a few adult fleas jump on to your cat in your garden, under the house or neighbouring places where your cat visits. Fleas are also introduced by your pet dog or visiting dogs who come to your home. The lifecycle of the flea begins from these few adults and they can breed at an enormous rate. If your cat mainly lives inside the house, the fleas prefer to breed in the home environment, such as carpets and bedding. Before you know it you have a large flea problem (infestation) that is hard to control!

What is the flea life cycle?

  • Adult Fleas can jump 150 times their body length, easily jumping from dog to dog. Once on the coat they feed on the dog’s blood and the females start laying eggs
  • Eggs – Female fleas can lay 2000 eggs in their lifetime. The eggs drop off into the environment where they live in carpet, furniture, bedding and gardens
  • Larvae – The eggs develop into larvae which burrow further into carpets away from light. They live on organic debris in the environment, spin a cocoon to become a pupa and mature to an adult
  • 95% of the flea population is the immature stages in the environment. Only 5% are adults living on the dog!
flea treatment for cats, flea control for cats

Life Cycle of The Cat Fleas

How do they breed so fast?

Under the right temperature conditions the flea lifecycle from egg to adult is shorter (2-3 weeks). This is during spring and summer when it is warmer. During winter, the immature egg and larval stages can lie dormant in the environment for up to 6 months. Then when the temperature warms up, they all complete their life cycle and mature into adults, causing a sudden explosion of adult fleas and a massive infestation in your home! Today, with more in home heating the flea cycle often continues all year round.

My cat doesn’t scratch. How do I spot fleas?

The most common signs of a flea problem in cats are constant scratching, biting and itching. This is mostly around the neck, ears and the base of the tail. However many cats can have fleas and not scratch at all! It is best to look for fleas by parting the hair at the tail base. If no live fleas are seen, sometimes flea droppings are visible (small black specks). You usually see flea eggs and droppings where the cat sleeps. Flea eggs are white and the droppings are black specks. Some cats are sensitive to the saliva in the flea bite and may develop a skin infection called Flea Allergy Dermatitis.

How do I get rid of my cat’s fleas?

The flea treatment for cats requires the cat AND the environment to be treated. This is because 95% of the flea population is in the environment where the cat lives. This must be properly treated to eradicate the problem. It is important to treat for and prevent fleas all year round. Just because you can’t see the fleas doesn’t mean they are not there.

What treatments should I use?

  • Spot Ons – These kill adult fleas, so stop the lifecycle completely. Spot Ons are a liquid vial applied to the back of the cat’s neck every month. Examples are Advantage or Frontline Plus
  • Tablet (Chewable) – These kill adult fleas, stopping the lifecycle completely. They are given once a month and an example is Comfortis
  • Treat the environment – Many cats live mostly indoors, so this area is very important to treat. Indoor treatment includes regular vacuuming of the carpet to remove flea eggs and stimulate the dormant fleas. Steam cleaning the carpet kills flea larvae also. All bedding that the pet sleeps on should be washed in hot, soapy water and left to dry in the sun. Foggers are a highly effective chemical to treat inside the house. The best ones contain an ingredient to kill both adult fleas and the other life cycle stages (insect growth regulators). For the outdoor environment, professional treatment with an adult flea killer is recommended for gardens and under the house

What should I remember?

  • Flea control for cats must be all year round to be effective
  • Treat all household pets and the environment at the same time
  • NEVER use a dog flea treatment on cats, as they can be toxic to cats
  • Your vet can offer advice on how to effectively treat fleas on your cat
Written by David Loneragan

David grew up and still lives locally and has worked at Gordon Vet since 1985. His love of animals and interest in all things veterinary started when he was a young boy spending time with his own pets and working on a country farm. David’s post-graduate studies have been in the fields of medical problems of dogs and cats and diagnostic ultrasound and radiology. In addition, he is interested in dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology.


  • Harold Casados | 07/01/18 Sunday | 回复

    It seems a little redundant, but IGRs have little to no toxicity at any concentration.


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Jayna Hirani
Jayna Hirani
03:43 09 Apr 20
Quality care and advice at every visit. The staff are friendly and informative and genuinely care about your pets. I am 100% confident that my cat and dog always receive the best pet healthcare and as pet parents that's all we want.
Marianne Broeng
Marianne Broeng
23:23 28 Jan 20
Gordon Vet has looked after my golden retriever since she was 9 weeks. Everyone has been amazing and caring with lots of experience. I have been able to ask any questions and always been welcome. Even one day when she stepped on a bee in the evening, they stayed open until we got there and helped her get it out. Thanks to all the staff :-)
Lizzie Wei
Lizzie Wei
00:56 18 Jan 20
We just moved to Gordon couple month ago and need to get my cat vaccinated. We found this hospital through google and I need to say they provide excellent service and very professional! The doctor really knows cat. Highly recommended!
Lara Bisley
Lara Bisley
08:15 27 Nov 19
Exceptional veterinary hospital. I have been taking my dog here for many years and although I now live in the Eastern Suburbs, I still drive across town to see the Vets at Gordon. The staff are highly skilled, compassionate, friendly and helpful. My 9 year old dog has had 2 knee operations (1 on each knee!) and the outcome of these surgeries far exceeded my expectations. I have been incredibly impressed with the care provided during all of our visits. I would highly recommend Gordon Vet Hospital.
Eugenie Goodyer
Eugenie Goodyer
23:22 21 Oct 19
Very friendly staff. Wonderful care for all our animals A++
Jennie Keogh
Jennie Keogh
06:36 21 Oct 19
Fantastic and friendly staff who you can tell really care about your pet. Their follow up service is also very reassuring. I also board my cat with Gordon Vet and I feel very comfortable to know he's in safe and caring hands. I'm so glad I found this clinic.
Newsha Amiri
Newsha Amiri
20:24 03 Oct 19
We took our dog there and Dr. David take care of his skin issues. he was so caring and professional.
Luxe Sydney Mum
Luxe Sydney Mum
06:37 02 Sep 19
Compassionate, caring and highly skilled veterinary surgeons who treat their patients and owners with respect. The nursing and administration staff are efficient and remember their patients by name which is a lovely touch. A lovely vet practice which despite our Golden Retriever Finn’s complex medical history, is always welcoming to him and he never displays any signs of anxiety when attending. Dr Helen is lovely and a firm favourite of ours!
Lihong Xing
Lihong Xing
05:00 05 Nov 18
Highly recommend Dr David, Scott, Helen, and Catherine, I've taken my cat to see all the doctors here.
Jeremy Tarbox
Jeremy Tarbox
22:55 10 Sep 18
We found a stray, agitated dog in front of our house last night. We phoned but got no help from the Council ranger who gave two options: tie him up in front yard overnight or "let him loose, he'll find his own way home" :( So we phoned Gordon Vet: they stayed open a few minutes so we could run him up and he could have a bed and dinner. Thank you Gordon Vet Hospital, hope he gets home soon!!! :)
Vishal Kapoor
Vishal Kapoor
01:52 04 Sep 18
Really amazing staff members. Their systems and processes are also very
Gerry Stevens
Gerry Stevens
11:01 14 Jul 18
Good competant vet. Did what I needed. Staff friendly. Cat's well.
Arezu A
Arezu A
03:20 15 Feb 18
Absolutely love the service here. I switched from other Vets to this Vet as the staff here are quite attentive and really care about your furry baby! I have basically seen most of the Dr's here and all of them so far have been fantastic, friendly and fun to speak with! Easy to locate and enough parking available! 5 Stars indeed!
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