Sunday, November 14, 2004

Do They Have Fleas?

The cats periodically scratch themselves not a ton, but a little. Is that a sign of fleas or just normal behavior? If they have fleas, am I infested too? I sure hope not. I had head lice as a kid and nothing made me feel like more of a pariah. We'll ask about fleas when we take them to the vet later in the week.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your handsome new boys! I just found your blog last night and have enjoyed reading it. I volunteer at a local cat shelter and we wish all adopters would do the research and understand that adoption is a commitment for the life of the cat. I know already that you are your fiance are great cat parents!

Are they scratching any areas in particular? If they are shaking their heads and scratching their ears, look inside for debris that looks like coffee grounds. If you find it, they might have ear mites, which are easily treated with Acarexx (Rx from vet), or less easily treated with daily drops of other meds. If they are scratching at various places, try using a fine comb to go through their coats. Put the hair on a white paper towel and look for black specks. If you see them put a few drops of water on them and see if they turn reddish. This would be a sign of "flea dirt" or excrement which would contain blood from the cat. Of course, if you see little bugs hopping out of the coat when you comb, that's even more obvious! There are several good products on the market to kill adult fleas and control fleas at various stages of development. Your vet will make the official diagnosis and decide on the best course of treatment if needed.

Earlier you mentioned that these boys seemed a bit shy at the shelter. At 10 weeks of age, they are definitely still in the optimal time window for socialization. With new loving parents who are so conscientious and have done so much research, they will soon blossom into loving and active kids. Gentle handling and soft talking will do wonders to gain their trust. Playing will help them forget their shyness as they have fun. Favorite kitten toys include wand toys (Da Bird is the best!) and chasing the red dot from a laser pointer around the floor, over the furniture, up the walls, etc. In fact, the laser pointer can be a good way to get them to go somewhere if you can't catch them, or to tempt them out of a hiding place.

One last comment for now--as the boys get used to cuddling and being handled, try to gently stroke and handle their paws. If they are used to their paws being touched, hopefully they will adapt to claw-clipping more easily. I wish I had known that when I got my first cat. Twelve years later, he still kicks and bites and screams when it is time to clip! Whatever you do, please don't declaw them--it's not humane and not necessary. I'm sure with all the research you've done, you are already familiar with the information.

Good luck with everything. I look forward to following your progress.

Peggy, mom to 4 felines

Caryn said...

Soem scratching is very normal. It's what cats do. You would have probably seen the fleas while you were peting them. And the shelter probably wouldn't have given them to you if they did have fleas. I say, Don't sweat it. But it's so sweet that you're so concerned about them.

Anonymous said...

I've got one who did have ear mites. The mites are long gone but he still scratches his ears occasionally. Unless you see evidence of mites or fleas, the cats probably don't have them. Some cats do have a problem with dry skin. Feeding canned food and the occasional drop of some kind of oil (my two love cod liver oil) usually takes care of that.