The cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis, is one of the most abundant and widespread species of flea on Earth.
The cat flea's primary host is the domestic cat, but this is also the primary flea infesting dogs in most of the world. The cat flea can also maintain its life cycle on other carnivores and on the Virginia opossum. Humans can be bitten but cannot be infested, so a population of cat fleas cannot be sustained by this aberrant host.
Fleas are tiny, dark brown insect that hop or scurry through a cat's fur but their droppings (black grit) often indicate infestation. Some cats become allergic to flea saliva and the associated self-trauma can be intense. Symptoms include itching, dark, comma-shaped flecks in your cat’s skin and fur, or sleep and play areas. Some cats develop an allergic dermatitis to fleabites.
Cats catch fleas directly from infected animals. However, as larvae hatch from eggs deposited in the home, environmental contamination is also an important issue. Use a preparation that controls this in addition to keeping your pet flea-free.
- Cat flea. Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.