This article is about one of the perennial issues in flea control – why one pet seem to be crawling in fleas while another in the same environment appears to be completely free of them. In most households it is the cats that seem to not be affected. Of course, when people say that the cat does not have fleas, it is normally to justify their decision not to treat the cat rather than the fact that they have never seen evidence of fleas on them.
Many pet owners assume that they only need to treat their animals which are definitely carrying fleas. But some animals do not necessarily have as many fleas as another. This can particularly affect cats who, because of their grooming habits, may tend to either swallow or cause injury to many more fleas than a dog would. So on a quick examination your cat may not appear to be carrying any fleas. And here’s the rub – it is not whether you cat appears to have fleas that is important, it is whether he or she actually does! If any one of your pets has fleas, you can guarantee that other animals in the household do as well – even if you have not yet found them.
So now to answer the question posed in the title of this article. If you are treating all of your animals, then the dog has got fleas because you can see them on the dog – while the cat does not have fleas because you cannot see them on the cat. It is all about what you see, not about what is actually occurring. If you are treating your dog but not your cat, then the true answer to the question we posed first is your cat DOES have fleas but you can’t see them. Remember, every adult female flea lays around 20 eggs per day. So, if you are not finding the 2-3 fleas that are on your cat (and with that thick fur, who can guarantee they have really done a thorough search?), these fleas are still contributing 40-60 flea eggs into your home environment each and every day. And that’s where the fleas you are seeing on your dog are coming from.
So the moral of the story is simple – all animals in a household must be protected by an effective flea treatment to control the flea life cycle, even if you’ve never seen a single flea on one of them. If you do this effectively, it should only be a few weeks until both of your pets are free of the pests.