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Can Flea Dirt Make Cats Itch? (Or Something Else?)

If your cat is itching and seems to have signs of flea dirt you may be wondering if this alone can make it itch and some ways to get rid of any fleas that may be around (Click here to see my best solution on Amazon #Ad). ..

Can flea dirt make cats itch?

Flea dirt is believed to cause itching in cats with Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). This disease is caused by the flea’s saliva but is believed to still cause itching when there is flea dirt, without fleas being present. This is why you may see your cat itching when there appears to only be the flea dirt left.

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So, now you know. But, is it possible for your cat to have flea dirt, without any fleas? How long can this flea dirt stay on them? What about scabs, but no fleas, why? How can you get rid of the flea dirt? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Do cats itch when they have fleas?

Cats do typically itch when they have fleas. This is because of the irritation from the fleas constantly biting them. But, there are occasions when cats may itch and bite their skin in day-to-day grooming activities without any fleas being present.

So, it’s important to be sure before you assume its fleas. You will need to check specifically for the fleas. Or, at least the presence of flea dirt, which is leftover from fleas.

Why does my cat have flea dirt but no fleas?

You may notice flea dirt without any fleas because they have since left. This may be temporary because your cat has bitten or itched them off. However, they will usually return because they constantly lay eggs and the cycle continues, over and over.

So, if you were confused by this flea dirt you now have a plausible reason as to why this may be happening.

How long does flea dirt stay on a cat?

Flea dirt will stay on your cat until it is either brushed off, o naturally groomed by your cat. The flea control you use typically lasts for 30-90 days, but the flea dirt, if untouched could stay for a lot longer.

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However, it is unlikely to last too long because it will naturally be taken off while your cat grooms itself, or if you brush their fur regularly.

Why does my cat have scabs but no fleas?

If your cat has scabs but no fleas it could be feline acne, eczema, or Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD). If it’s the latter the chances are there were fleas there before but may, for some reason, not there right now.

What does flea dirt tell you?

Flea dirt is an indication of an infestation of fleas. It is an alarm bell that should not be ignored. If you see it on your cat you need to take immediate action before the matter spirals out of control.

Now you know what the big deal is, let me explain how to get rid of the fleas as well as the flea dirt. As well as how to prevent fleas from coming back to cause you problems and more. Keep reading…

What is Flea Dirt?

Flea dirt is essentially the feces of fleas. It looks like a messy dirt patch, hence the reason it is called “Flea Dirt”.

Basically, it looks like little flicks of black or brown colored dots. Sometimes they are noticeable immediately, from your cat’s fur. Especially, if they’ve got light or white colored fur.

However, if they have darker fur you may only notice it if you run your hands through their fur and see this. In some cases.

If you have noticed your cat scratching itself more than usual or noticed flea dirt specks on their fur. There is a good chance that they have a flea infestation.

How do you get rid of the flea Dirt & Fleas on your cat?

Getting rid of flea dirt is the easy bit. To be honest you can just brush or wipe this off without an issue. The true challenge is getting rid of the actual fleas themselves.

To get rid of the fleas on your actual cat the best solution is to use a fine-tooth comb which is designed for this.  This Flea comb, if used regularly will help. It will help to clear the eggs settling in your cat’s fur and remove any fleas that may be hanging around.

Also, it is a good idea to use flea shampoo regularly. To prevent them from coming back. Be warned, your cat will not like this, but it is needed.

Why is Flea Dirt such an issue?

Flea dirt is an issue because it is a natural sign that fleas are infesting your cat. The problem with this is if the signs are correct, and your car has a flea infestation, then this can affect you, your family as well as your cat.

In addition to this, some cats have allergic reactions to fleas. Meaning the actual flea saliva can cause an allergic reaction. Unfortunately, this can result in severe irritation. Or even, in extreme situations, actual fur loss.

The problem with fleas is, once you see one or two, there is a good chance that there are another hundred more you haven’t seen yet.

Also, their numbers are going to grow substantially within a short period of time. Therefore, it is a good idea to get in front of the problem and deal with it sooner rather than later.

One last thing to consider, in some cases fleas can carry diseases as well. Which can be dangerous to you, your cat, and your family.

How can you prevent fleas from coming back?

Firstly, you can deal with the fleas directly by using a good cat shampoo that has flea protection built into it (click here to see my best Cat flea Shampoo choice). Alternatively, there are cat collars (click here to see the price on Amazon #Ad) that have flea solutions built into them as well.

In addition to this, there are ways that you can do basic things around your house to prevent fleas from coming back. Let me explain…

Vacuuming regularly

This is quite simple and obvious but doing regular vacuuming in your house will help a lot. This will hoover up the eggs that are being laid by these fleas and reduce the chances of them coming back.

However, to make this effective you have to be quite thorough with your vacuuming. You need to catch all the hidden crevices as well as fabrics and carpets. Basically, anything that could be infected.

In addition to this when you finish vacuuming, do not just leave the vacuum until you use it next. Why? because all you have done is transferred these flea eggs from one place to another. They are just now living in your vacuum bag.

So, it is important to empty the bag and throw it away immediately. Also, wash out the canister with hot soapy water to get rid of the flea eggs.

A weekly deep clean

As well as vacuuming, it is a good idea to have a weekly clean. This needs to cover the fabrics that you use in your house.

This includes any duvet bedding any fabrics. It should even include cushions that you use on your sofa, etc. Take all of these fabrics, which your cat is likely to have rubbed against and potentially left eggs on.

Then place them into your washing machine. Put them on a high-temperature wash, just make sure that it doesn’t shrink the fabrics (read the fabric labels first to check). This will help to prevent the flea eggs from coming back.

How can you prevent fleas from transferring into your house?

Fleas are clever. Sometimes they will use you, even if you have no idea what is happening. Let me explain…

Sometimes you may visit a house, which may have a cat with fleas. The danger of this is, you can unwillingly bring a flea infestation to your own home. Which can, in turn, transfer to your pets, including your cat.

The best way to avoid this happening is to immediately remove your clothes once you return home. If you can take them off before you actually enter your home then this is best practice.

However, I understand this may not always be practical, depending on the layout of your home. Once you’ve taken your clothes off. Immediately put them into a high-temperature wash to get rid of any fleas or flea eggs.

Related questions:

In this section, I am going to answer some related questions to Flea Dirt. If you feel some extra questions are not covered feel free to leave a comment.

How do you know if the fleas are gone for good? The only way to check this yourself is by inspecting your cat. If you have the opportunity to visit your vet’s do so. This will completely verify they are gone or not.

However, if you want to check at home. The best way to do this is to get some white paper or a light surface. It has to be light because you need to check for fleas and you need the contrast of color to see them clearly, are you with me?

Place your cat on the whitepaper (or light-colored surface) and use a flea comb. Comb around the areas which typically gather fleas the most. Comb the area to see if any fleas or flea dirt are speckled on the white paper.

If you see any at this stage it is obvious that the problem is not gone and you need to continue the treatment.

If you still don’t see any then you can try and apply a little bit of petroleum jelly (what about Aquaphor? click here) and continue combing. The idea behind this is to catch any loose fleas in the jelly.

If you do not see any fleas or flea dirt (Click here to what spiral flea dirt is) then this is a good indication that the problem has gone.

However, the only thing I would say is this, unless you do this very thoroughly there is a chance that you can miss a flea. If you miss one, you may find the flea problem will still be there. Hence the reason why visiting a vet is the best way.

Lindsey Browlingdon