Common symptoms of cat fleas include itching, red pimples or bumps on your cat’s behind (rump), under the legs, base of the tail, groin or belly. The skin may appear red and inflamed. When your cat goes to itch this area, their hair can fall out and their skin becomes dry. If you draw an imaginary line around the center of your cat, and only see symptoms in the rear half, it is probably fleas.
A flea allergy tends to be seasonal and will cause worse symptoms during summer and fall when fleas are most active and when the warm humid environment exists that they like.
Fleas will live on your cat for up to 115 days and only 1 to 2 days if not on a host. A female flea can produce around 2000 eggs which can incubate in carpets and under furniture in the house. The eggs will then hatch in days or months depending on the conditions in the house. The fleas then seek a host such as a pet. If they don't find one they will die in 1 to 2 weeks.
Usually, liquid products that are applied directly to the skin or products designed to be administered orally should be enough to protect against feline fleas. Products such as Frontline Plus, Revolution and Advantage and Program should work well. Consult your veterinarian to determine if you need to go beyond these products to other methods of treatment and prevention. For dogs there are new products for the control of fleas and ticks. Nexguard is a once a month chewable tablet and Bravecto is a longer acting chewable tablet given every 3 months. Advantix is a topical flea and tick treatment for dogs only, NEVER use these products on cats !
Collars - Popular and widely used, but are not always effective. Collars are only a partial solution and should be supplemented with other approaches.
Shampoos - Effective option for mild cases and when the areas where the cat lives no longer has fleas. Shampoos with Pyrethrin are best for younger cats.
Powders and dusts - Best used with other products such as shampoos. They are used 2 times per week and must be worked into your cat's coat.
Sprays and foams - Look for water based sprays (vs. alcohol based sprays which can irritate skin). Use sprays in between shampoo treatments to kill any fleas that may have jumped on your cat from the environment that you missed. Spray treatments last for up to 14 days.
Topical hydrocortisone creams - These are used for dermatitis, but may cause side-effects when used regularly. Consider a herbal cream instead.
Herbal Creams - creams such as FleaDerm will effectively treat, soothe and prevent flea bite dermatitis without the side effects of prescription creams for this condition.