Flea allergies are a common problem affecting cats. Usually, normal cats experience a small irritation on their skin after a flea bite. generally, even with a lot of fleas on their skin, normal cats will only experience slight itching.
However, cats with flea allergies experience a severe reaction even after a single flea bite. The adverse allergic reaction to the flea bite is due to the allergic response to the antigens and proteins present in the flea’s saliva.
What is Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats?
When a flea bites your cat, some of its saliva is injected into the cat’s skin. If the cat has flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), one flea bite can cause severe itching that can last for days.
Flea allergy dermatitis causes the cat to scratch, lick, and bite the affected place continuously. Thus, it can cause loss of hair or the surface which can lead to painful sores on the cat’s skin.
The most affected area by FAD is the rump (the area in front of the tail). Also, cats with flea allergies scratch and lick the hair off their legs, and the tail base. Additionally, hair loss around the neck and the head should be treated as a suspected FAD.
How to Tell If Your Cat Has Flea Allergy Dermatitis
A cat with FAD will exhibit the following signs
- Rash on the cat’s skin. Sometimes, the skin may be raw, irritated, or bleeding due to severe scratching and biting.
- Hair loss in the area where the cat has been bitten by fleas
- Presence of pimple-like bumps on the affected areas
- Constant grooming, itching, scratching and biting
- Cat appearing restless and comfortable could be a sign of flea allergy dermatitis.
- Stained hair due to excessive licking. In white cats, their hair may be stained brown due to the constant licking.
- Hair loss around the back half of the body. Usually, their belly, back, hind legs, and the back of the neck.
- Secondary infections on the skin.
How to Soothe Flea Allergy Dermatitis in Cats?
Here are ways you can help your cat with FAD:
1. Take your cat to the veterinarian
It is important to take your cat for review by the veterinarian when you notice he is scratching a lot even if you do not see any fleas. Since cats are meticulous groomers, they may remove the fleas while grooming but still the allergic reaction will occur.
Therefore, take your cat to the vet to get the right diagnosis and start treatment immediately. Your vet will thoroughly check your cat’s fur and skin. He will check for fleas and flea dirt.
He may recommend blood tests or skin tests done on your cat. If there are open wounds and inflammations, your vet will prescribe medicine for your cat.
2. Get rid of the fleas
If you want to get rid of your cat’s FAD, get rid of the fleas. Usually, fleas are more common in warmer months than in colder months.
However, fleas can live indoors year-round hence causing serious problems to your allergic cat. Therefore, you will need to use a year-round treatment to prevent fleas for your cat.
Flea preventive medication will help get rid of the fleas and their eggs hence break the cycle. Topical medicines, oral medications, and flea collars are some of the most common ways of killing fleas on your cat.
However, fleas do not only live on pets’ coats. They live in carpets, yard, rugs, bed linens, and other surfaces. Thus, you will need to clean these surfaces too with detergent and water and vacuum regularly to remove fleas on surfaces.
How to get rid of fleas in your home and yard
On how to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats, you will need to get rid of the fleas in your home. The presence of fleas in the cat with a flea allergy environment means they will be constantly affected.
Therefore, here are ways to help you get rid of the little monsters from your home.
1. Regularly vacuum your home.
Fleas can hide in carpets, furniture, linens, and floor. Therefore, vacuum these areas regularly and ensure you empty the vacuum canister appropriately.
Additionally, wash beddings and throw rugs frequently. This will kill the fleas and their eggs and prevent re-infestation.
2. Mow your lawn
Mow your lawn and clear the leaves, tall grass, and weeds from your yard. It is paramount especially if your cat accesses the yard.
Also, if you have stacked wood on the ground near your house, clear it. Fleas can thrive in such areas and continuously be a nuisance not only to your cat but also to the family members.
3. Introduce natural predators of fleas to your yard
Some beneficial nematodes and ladybugs pry on fleas. Therefore, if you are looking for a natural way to get rid of fleas in your yard, consider introducing these natural predators.
4. Use a chemical pest repellant
There are chemicals made specifically to get rid of fleas in your home. However, before using any chemicals to control fleas, contact your veterinarian. Some chemical repellants may be toxic to cats and other pets. Thus, it is important to talk to your vet first to know what is safe and what is not.
Here are some guidelines you need to follow if you are to use a chemical pest repellant
1. Follow the dosing instructions
Always follow the instructions on the label. High doses of flea treatment products can be fatal to cats. Therefore, if your cat is at the low end of a dosage range, use the next lowest dosage. Also, never use flea products meant for dogs or cats.
2. Rotate the chemical treatments with natural preventives
Do not depend only on chemical treatments. Occasionally, use natural flea control methods such as diatomaceous earth, and essential oils. You can rotate them monthly.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is a natural tick repellant. Apply your carpet, rugs, floor, and your cat’s bedding to kill the fleas. Also, you can apply in small quantities on your cat’s spine to kill the fleas on his coat. Diatomaceous earth kills adult fleas only.
3. Observe your cat’s reaction after applying a flea repellant product to them
Some cats may develop adverse reactions after the application of flea control products. Therefore, after applying chemical products to your cat, observe how he reacts especially if you are using the product for the first time.
If your cat becomes lethargic, vomits, and gets seizures after applying the product, take them to the emergency pet care immediately.
Home remedies on how to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats
Flea allergy dermatitis can make your cat very uncomfortable. The sores and lesions on the cat’s body due to the scratching and chewing can be painful.
Also, they can cause infections. However, several home remedies can help soothe flea allergy dermatitis and provide some relief to your cat.
1. Immune system support
Cats with a weak immune system are more likely to suffer flea allergy dermatitis than cats with a healthy immune system. Therefore, you can help boost your cat’s immunity by giving vitamins that help boost immunity.
Additionally, you can boost your cat’s immune system by giving him high-quality food. High-quality cat food has all the essential minerals and vitamins your cat needs to develop a healthy immune system.
However, if you are switching your cat’s diet, consult your vet first. If they approve of the diet, introduce it to your cat gradually to prevent stomach upset.
Read Also: What Food is Good for Cats with Allergies?
2. Natural herbs
Some herbs are known to relieve the itchiness. Herbs like eucalyptus, rosemary, yellow dock, and fennel are some of the common herbs you can apply to your cat’s skin to reduce the intense itching caused by flea bites.
However, before using any herbs on your cat, talk to your vet first. Some herbs are toxic to cats. Also, your vet will be able to recommend the appropriate dosage for your cat depending on the cat’s size, age, and health condition.
3. Witch hazel
Witch hazel is known to relieve itchiness caused by flea bites. Therefore, if you are looking for a natural remedy on how to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats, witch hazel is your product. You can get a bottle of liquid witch hazel at your local chemist.
Once applied to the cat’s skin, witch hazel helps reduce the itching, and soothe the irritated skin. Additionally, it helps promote the healing of the open sores and lesions on your cat’s skin.
You can help relieve FAD symptoms by grooming your cat. Proper grooming using a flea comb to brush your cat’s coat will help remove the fleas and eggs from the fur.
Additionally, you can bathe your cat with flea allergies at least once a week to wash away and kill the fleas. However, ensure that you use cat-friendly products when bathing your cat.
How to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats through treatment
Mostly, treatment aims at reducing the number of fleas bites a cat gets. Therefore, for the treatment to be effective, you must put your cat and any other pet in the household on flea prevention products.
There are several products designed to control fleas in cats. However, when choosing flea products, ensure that they are safe to use on your cats.
1. Topical products
Topical products are applied directly to the cat’s skin to kill fleas. Thus, they are absorbed through the skin. They are available in different forms, and their effectiveness against parasites also varies from one product to another.
For instance, there are flea collars for cats that the cat must have on to kill fleas. Other products are available in powder or spray form and are directly applied to the cat’s skin.
For the topical products to be effective, you need to avoid bathing your cat regularly. Frequent bathing with shampoos will remove the oils from the cat’s skin, and the products will be less effective.
Additionally, never use topical products meant for dogs or cats. Some dog products contain ingredients that could be toxic to cats. Hence, use products meant for cats only.
2. Chewable pills
Chewable pills are administered to cats. They are absorbed in the bloodstream. Thus, when the fleas suck the cat’s blood, they ingest the poison and die. They are the quickest way of killing fleas.
Usually, this treatment is administered only once per month. Hence, they are the perfect choice for cats who are allergic to flea bites and are bathed regularly.
3. Anti-inflammatory medicines
One way on how to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats through treatment includes administering anti-inflammatory medicines. Additionally, if there is a skin infection, your veterinary may prescribe antibiotics.
Some cat shampoos and conditioners can help soothe the irritated skin. Follow the application guidelines to get the best results. However, before introducing these products to your cat, consult your veterinarian first.
Treating cats suffering from flea allergy dermatitis can be effective if you follow the prescription given by your veterinary. The treatments help in improving your cat’s quality of life.
The main aim of how to soothe flea allergy dermatitis in cats is to prevent flea bites. And the best way to eliminate flea bites is to ensure that you have a comprehensive flea control program for your cat prescribed by your vet.
Getting rid of fleas in the cat’s environment also goes a long way in preventing flea infestation. Flea allergy dermatitis can make your cat miserable. Therefore, assume that every itchy cat has fleas and treat them accordingly.
Use products designed for cats only to get rid of the fleas. Once the fleas are under control, continue treating your cat continually so that he does not have to go through the agony of FAD again.