What Do Fleas Look Like on a Cat & How To Get Rid of Them

Posted by Dr. Jessica on

What Do Fleas Look Like on a Cat & How To Get Rid of Them

Any pet owner that has ever dealt with fleas knows how pesky they can be. They terrorize pets and humans alike and love to hide in nooks, crannies, and fabrics around homes. If you notice more scratching than normal and find yourself wondering what do fleas look like on a cat, don’t panic.

The first step to treating a cat’s fleas is recognizing that they  are present, but that’s often easier said than done. If you find yourself wondering if your cat has fleas, or how to best spot them, Fuzzy vets have a few tips. 

What are fleas exactly? 

Fleas are external parasites. They survive on the blood of their hosts by biting and taking a blood meal. These bites cause incessant itching. The visible fleas found on your cat’s coat, comprise of only 5% of the adult flea population living in your pet. The other 95% are flea eggs, larvae and pupae that can’t be seen with the naked eye. They live in carpet fibers, bedding, and dusty corners or your home and around the yard. 

The best chance to prevent fleas is before they mature to the egg-laying stage. A cat’s parasite control plan must address the whole flea life cycle.

cat with fleas


What do fleas look like on a cat?

Adult fleas are only one eighth of an inch long, which, needless to say, is extremely small and difficult to see in a cat's fur. They can be brown or black in color, or red if full of blood. Cat parents may initially notice them only as small black specks resembling dirt or pepper flakes. These small flakes, if not fleas themselves, are flea feces ... proof that fleas have taken residence on your cat!


Symptoms of a cat with fleas

Cats suffering with fleas may exhibit any or all of the following symptoms: 

  • Intense scratching or gnawing at the skin
  • Excessive grooming
  • Hair loss
  • Restlessness 
  • Redness of the skin
  • Red bumps or crusts on the skin

How do I treat my cat’s fleas?

If a cat does have fleas, implementing a parasite control plan that addresses the flea’s full life cycle is very important. After all, 95% of fleas present in a home are microscopic and not on the cat - in things like carpets, bedding, or even the backyard. 

Fuzzy’s Cat Flea Bundle includes medication to eliminate active fleas, topical treatment products to prevent future flea and tick infestations, and 24/7 Live Vet Chat for support, so cat parents can have everything they need to stop fleas once and for all. 


Have more questions about fleas, or want to talk to a member of Fuzzy’s veterinary team? Become a member and use Fuzzy’s 24/7 Live Vet Chat to make sure your pet’s pest prevention plan is locked in.

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