Is Year-Round Flea & Tick Prevention Necessary for Cats?

Some years ago, veterinarians recommended cat flea and tick prevention primarily during the summer months unless you lived in a warm climate. The idea was that the sustained cold killed the fleas and ticks.

These days, however, with shifting weather patterns, those fleas & ticks may not die out completely. Besides, if there are any flea pupae (the lifecycle that occurs prior to hatching), already in your home, it probably doesn’t get cold enough to kill them.

As PetMD reminds us:

“Flea pupae can remain dormant for over a year until the surroundings have reached ideal temperatures. Once conditions are ideal (either inside or outside), the pupae will complete their development and emerge from their cocoons en masse, resulting in a surge of activity both on and off your pets.

Generally speaking, 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit with 75-85 percent humidity is the ideal temperature range for growth and reproduction of fleas. All they need is a warm place in which to settle and lay their eggs. For the majority of pet owners who keep their homes at a consistently warm temperature throughout the winter season, this can mean that a flea population, once settled indoors, can remain active all year long.”

Simple of Cat Flea & Tick Preventives For Everyone

You’re probably familiar with the types of preventives that go on your cat’s back between the shoulder blades. Chances are, you may have a prescription for that from your veterinarian. These are great ways to keep fleas and ticks at bay.

However, there are also other ways you can prevent fleas and ticks from infecting your cat and household and you may be surprised by how simple and effective these treatments can be. 

1-- Vacuum frequently -- Carpeted floors, kitty beds, and upholstered furniture all offer havens for fleas to lay eggs. However, you can vacuum up the flea eggs prior to hatching. Just be sure to empty the vacuum canister promptly. It also helps to wash linens and pet bedding in hot water at least weekly.

2-- Use citrus -- You can squeeze lemon juice on your pet’s bedding and/or mix lemon essential oil with water and spray on your cat’s favorite sitting areas. Fleas don’t like the smell of citrus so they’ll tend to stay away.

If you incorporate these simple steps in conjunction with prescription flea and tick medications, you’ll protect your kitties (and yourself).

While no one wants to deal with a flea infestation, it’s also worth remembering that fleas and ticks carry nasty diseases.

Fleas and Ticks Transmit Disease

Mercola addresses some of the serious dangers of fleas and ticks by saying “If pests attach to your dog or cat, they can easily be carried indoors and infiltrate your home. A flea infestation or a tick on your wall is more than simply unpleasant, however, as such pests are capable of transmitting disease. 

The biggest risk of ticks is not that they will take over your home, but their propensity for feeding on many different animals, from mice and deer to opossums. They also like to take their time when they eat, feeding for long periods of time that makes them perfectly suited for acquiring and transmitting disease. It takes only one bite from a tick to transmit multiple tick-borne diseases.”

Of course, you want to protect your cats (and your family) from diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but don’t forget another nasty parasite that can affect your cat...even if your cat doesn’t go outside.

Don’t Forget the Heartworms

“Heartworm disease has been reported in all 50 states of the U.S. This potentially fatal disease affects both dogs and cats and is very preventable. Mosquitoes, which transmit heartworms, can live year-round in many parts of the country. All it takes are a few days of temperatures above 57 F, and the heartworm larvae can develop to the infective stage within the mosquito, ready to be transferred to pets with a single mosquito bite.

These insects can also live indoors and transmit heartworms, even in the winter. In fact, approximately 30 percent of cats that get heartworm disease are described as “strictly indoors” by their owners." (Source

As you can see, your cat does need year-round flea, tick & heartworm preventives. We encourage you to discuss the most suitable preventions with your veterinarian. 

If you have questions about flea and tick prevention, contact us

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