If your cat is itching or scratching continuously, it is time to take a better look into the matter as it could be fleas. If fleas are not found and treated accordingly they can cause many more problems than just an irritating itch.
By using a good quality flea comb you can help identify if your cat does indeed have fleas and then treat them with either a flea shampoo, drops or a pill or powder.
Table of Contents
- What should you do if your cat has fleas?
- Identifying fleas early makes your life easier
- How do you use a flea comb on a cat?
- The best flea combs for cats
- Cleaning up the mess
What should you do if your cat has fleas?
As most of us already know, fleas can jump and they can jump well. It is important to have a plan before you start combing your cat.
First up you will want to get a towel or old blanket that you can comb your cat on so any eggs or fleas can fall on this when combing. This will need to be washed immediately after you have finished combing even if you have not found any fleas. Always wash this on a hot wash to kill any fleas, eggs or flea larvae – even if you can not see any.
Another good idea (if you can) is to fill a bucket with hot soapy water before starting to comb your furry friend on the hunt for fleas. The fleas can be dumped into the water to kill them or at least prevent them from jumping back onto your cat.
Just using a flea comb is not enough to get rid of the problems totally in most cases.
As I mentioned you should use flea combs in conjunction with other flea removal products for better results. You can check out some of the flea shampoos that my cats recommend here.
To get rid of fleas totally takes time and patience. It is literally you versus them.
Several weeks of continuous, daily combing, combined with a good flea product, cleaning of the house, vacuuming the floors, washing all areas where the cat uses (your bedding, their bedding) will eventually get rid of the infestation.
It is literally a war you are waging.
We will win soldier!
Identifying fleas early makes your life easier
By using a flea comb and with regular brushing (as well as using cat grooming brush), you can and will get to know when there is a problem with fleas. The earlier you find them the easier it is to get rid of them.
Even if your cat is indoors 100% of the time, they can get fleas. Fleas jump 100 times their own height so it is very easy for them to jump on you or your dog when you are outside and bring the fleas in the house.
How do you use a flea comb on a cat?
Slowly and gently. These are the 2 best bits of advice I can give you.
Some cats do enjoy being combed, Sanchez as an example loves it. Bruce, on the other hand, does not and I have the scars to show for it.
Always keep some treats to hand for your feline (see some of the best cat treats). Talk to them softly to reassure them. I have found it really helps if you can get someone else involved to distract and hold your cat.
When using the flea comb, comb at right angles
If you comb downwards, the fleas may fall off the comb onto the ground and escape or jump back onto your cat, or other pets (or indeed you – this is not good!). Start combing from the ears and head and move towards the tail. Slowly cover all areas, including the underbelly and the top of the pet’s neck and the area around the rump.
Fleas can hide in any area and especially when they get an idea that a raid is being carried out, they will scoot for a hiding place.
Though combing is the first step people take to rid the animal of the pests, the flea will not leave completely and we must remember that the cat doesn’t know what’s happening. It will not stick to the plan and chances are they will move about.
You will have to get the animal to sit patiently which is itself an exercise for you. Chances are there will be claws. I suggest you wear long sleeves and thin gloves. Seriously!
After each stroke of the comb, check it for fleas and if you find some, pull the insect off and place it into the water.
Dunking the flea comb into the water is less effective. Use your hands to pull them off the comb and put them in the water.
If you have a very understanding and patient cat (lucky you!) wait for some time for the fleas to move around after the first round of combing. Start combing again. Chances are the ones that had fled to some of the safe hard to reach areas of your cat will have ventured back into the more accessible areas.
Always take the following into account when combing your cat for fleas
- Some cats may freak out when combed. If you find yourself in such a situation, look for an alternative to combing.
- When brushing, be sensitive, there could be areas that may cause pain when brushed. If you simply brush through, the cat may run away the next time they see you pull out the brush. If you cat is infested and you need to do this often, avoid hurting the cat.
- If the cat has suffered flea bites, avoid brushing since the animal may have inflammation. Use a soothing cream or just use an oral treatment. You vet can advise you on that.
- If the fur of your cat is very short, use a wide toothed comb first to untangle any knots.
The good thing about flea combs in general, apart from the fact they are great for detecting and getting rid of fleas, is that they do create a bond between you and your feline (if they like combing like Sanchez), and also even the really good ones are pretty cheap.
The best flea combs for cats
Okay, so let’s take a look at some of the best flea combs for cats you can buy.
1. Safari Flea Comb
This flea comb is perfectly suited for cats, kittens and small animals in general. In fact, the Safari flea comb for cats does come highly recommended by professional groomers. It is a great comb to remove fleas and keep an eye on the condition of your furry friend’s coat.
A great comb at a great price.
2. Honbay Flea and Lice Comb
The Honbay is a comb that can be used on any small animal to get rid of fleas and pests, and it comes in some pretty cool colors at a great price especially as it comes in a 4 pack.
It definitely works in identifying and getting rid of fleas, but again for me (and this is just my personal opinion) the lack of a handle underneath the teeth makes it a bit tricky to use!
3. Zelta Pet Grooming Tool
One of the most comfortable and easy to use combs out there right now (believe me you want it to be as easy as possible when you are trying to comb your cat) with a nice firm handle to hold on to.
In my experience, some of the smaller combs (for me) are a bit too fiddly and tricky, the handle on this comb makes it much easier.
Also, the fact that it has nice rounded teeth, goes through any knots in the coat without causing too much discomfort. Recommended!
4. Pet Republique Dog & Cat Flea Comb
I love the Pet Republique range, not because it gets rid of fleas (which it really does) but it is super easy to use, the comb is super comfortable to hold and as the title suggests can be used on both dogs and cats.
The teeth on this comb are super flexible and get rid of all the itchy nasties that can infest your animal.
I use this on both my cats and my dog Max, I have actually noticed that this particular comb gets rid of his flaky skin as well (he suffers from allergies and dry skin so does get doggy dandruff!).
The thing I love most about this brand, is the fact that they give 15% of their profits to the American Animal Rescue foundation as well. By buying from Pet Republique you are helping to save other animals!
5. Pet Flea Comb by Dukes
These colored combs are definitely stylish and brighten up the combing experience. They can be used on both cats and dogs (and indeed any other small animals who may have a flea problem!).
6. Flea Comb with Double Row of Teeth By Hertzko
This is one of the more expensive of the combs on this list, however it does have twice the teeth!
What is nice about this comb is that the ends of the comb teeth are rounded, so even on sensitive spots, it will not scratch your kitty!
With the double rows of teeth it really does catch more fleas (which is good news for you and your cat!). Well worth the extra few dollars.
Cleaning up the mess
After the combing is done, throw the water that you have dunked the fleas in down the drain and clean thoroughly.
If you combed within the house, vacuum the space to catch any flea and eggs that may have been knocked loose. If you combed outside, hose down the area to drown/flush out any flea.
Have you ever tried to comb your cat? Did they like it?
Let us know in the comments bellow!