When the weather turns warm fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes get ready to attack, especially after such a mild winter. Even indoor cats can be at risk. All three pests can can carry diseases that affect both the cat and the human owner.
Fleas may transmit blood borne diseases to the cat, and are the main cause of cat scratch disease in humans. Yes, that's right, “Cat Scratch Fever” is a real disease! The “flea dirt,” which is actually flea feces, gets under the cat’s nails and can be transferred to humans via a scratch. This disease is deadly in human patients whose immune systems are compromised, and can even make healthy people very ill. Fleas are also the number one cause of skin allergies in cats. Many humans are also allergic to flea bites. Once the fleas move in, they are hard to evict.
Ticks may transmit numerous diseases to both cats and humans, including Babesia, Ehrilichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Lyme disease (although it is unproven that this is an issue with cats) to mention a few. They can also form infestations in human homes and are hard to eradicate once established.
Mosquitoes can transmit heartworm disease to pets, and numerous diseases to humans. Heartworm disease is commonly thought to be a dog issue, but heartworms can cause irreversible lung disease or sudden death in cats. There is thought to be a connection between heartworm exposure and feline asthma.
These unwanted pests are easier to prevent than to remove. Ask your veterinarian about the different preventatives as there are many choices for flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. Most cat owners opt for the once a month topicals, some of which will prevent or deter all three above parasites. Some preventatives are labeled strictly for use on dogs and can be deadly if applied to your cat. Make sure the product you are using is safe and effective, and enjoy a pest free season.