How to Spot the Symptoms

It can be difficult to tell when a cat has fleas, but even mild infestations can be detected by checking their fur and bedding on a regular basis.

Warning signs your cat has fleas

Constant scratching is the most obvious indicator of fleas in cats, but this in itself doesn’t necessarily mean the problem is flea-based - and some cats carry fleas without scratching.

Hair loss caused by excessive grooming, and small, pepper-like specks (flea dirt) in your cat’s fur are all warning signs of a flea infestation. You may also notice a change in behaviour, including jumpiness and agitation, as well as red spots in its bedding where flea dirt has fallen off.

Tests you can run to check for fleas

The best way to confirm a flea infestation is to run a comb through its fur (special fine-toothed flea combs are best), then hold it over a white surface like a piece of kitchen roll. This will let you easily spot any fleas or flea dirt that’s deposited from the comb. Flea dirt is essentially dried blood - if you add a few drops of water to the paper and the dirt turns reddish-brown, it’s very likely your pet has fleas.

Inspecting the skin under your cat’s fur may also reveal reddish bumps that can be a sign of flea bites, especially if your pet is allergic. Check its bedding for eggs - they are usually deposited in warm, humid places.