Fleas! They aren’t just annoying; they can also carry parasites (such as tapeworms) and diseases (Lyme disease, among others). Fleas are tough, highly evolved ectoparasites (ecto- means that they live outside the body) that, once entrenched, are not easily eliminated.
Fleas are attracted to warmth, moving shadows, and the vibrations from foot (or paw) steps. When dealing with fleas, you need to protect your cat as well as reach fleas and larvae hiding in carpets and yards. Even exclusively indoor cats can get fleas, which travel in on shoes and clothing or even on their own, jumping through open doors or other cracks and crevices. (Keeping your cat indoors, however, will eliminate the risk of ticks.)
Flea collars (whether herbal or insecticidal) don’t work! They don’t kill fleas, and they don’t even particularly repel them, except for the area right around the collar. The grocery/pet store variety contains concentrated toxic chemicals, and the herbal ones are irritating to odor-sensitive cats.
Topical (spot-on or pour-on) flea preventatives are associated with liver disease and other adverse effects in cats. Permethrin, pyrethrin, or pyrethroid-containing products intended for dogs are extremely toxic to cats and have caused many feline deaths. Putting a dog product on a cat causes neurological signs (twitching, disorientation, seizures) that ultimately kill about 10 percent of exposed cats.
Healthy cats eating a balanced raw species-specific, carnivore diet, properly supplemented with a rich source of Omega-3’s, such as greenlip mussel oil, are much less susceptible to fleas and other parasites and also help your cat to heal during and after a flea attach. If your cat is experiencing a flea problem, work on improving your cat’s overall health and deal with the immediate parasite situation. This is a “holistic” approach in the truest sense of the word! The conventional thinking that fleas are the problem is like saying “flies cause garbage” just because the two are often found together. It is the unhealthy state of the animal that attracts the parasites, just like garbage attracts flies.