The great high-jumpers, fleas

It won’t surprise you that the most common external parasite on cats is the flea, the tiny insect that can jump hundreds of times its own height. They are bloodsuckers, like ticks, but much more common. Fleas lay their eggs nearly anywhere, including in carpeting and air ducts, and they reproduce very fast.

Their bloodsucking can cause health problems (such as anemia), but their bites also cause allergic reactions in many cats and humans, leading to skin problems and other conditions. Happily, we have come a long way in flea treatment, and whereas in the past we relied on powders, sprays and flea collars, newer treatments (Advantage flea control, for example, which is rubbed into a cat’s skin) are highly effective.
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