Understanding Fleas

flea6monthsFleas are wingless, bloodsucking insects that may cause excessive grooming, hair loss, anemia and tapeworm infection in your cat. And it’s no wonder that pet owners have a difficult time eradicating fleas from their homes once they take up residence:

  • Once an adult flea lands on a pet, she can lay 50 eggs a day and more than 2,000 eggs in a lifetime. (1)
  • The complete life cycle of the flea can be completed in as little as 14 days or prolonged up to 180 days. (1)
  • Adult fleas cannot survive or lay eggs without a blood meal, but may live in a pupal cocoon from two months to one year without feeding. (2)
  • Only 5 percent of a home’s flea population is the adults that you can see. (2)
  • It can take 4 to 8 weeks or longer of topical preventive medication use to completely eradicate all flea life stages in the home. (3)
  • 90 percent of the flea life cycle occurs off the animal. (4) For every six adult fleas seen, there are 300 immature stages in the environment or on the pet. (5)


Just a low level of infestation of fleas in various stages in the environment can take a considerable amount of time to overcome.Since there are no products labeled that eliminate the pupal stage of the flea, it is im_centerportant to keep your cat healthy and protected from fleas with a monthly preventive medicine.

  • (1) Dryden MW, Payne P, Zurek L. Pests That Affect Human Health: Fleas Infesting our Pets and Homes, Manhattan: Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service, September 2003.
  • (2) Lyon WF. Fleas: Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, Columbus: The Ohio State University.
  • (3) Dryden M. The Case for Year-Round Flea and Tick Control, Available at: www.capcvet.org. Accessed August 24, 2005.
  • (4) Lane TH. Flea Control: Understanding the Flea, Gainesville: University of Florida IFAS Extension.
  • (5) MacAllister C. Flea Control Fact Sheet, Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Fact Sheets, Stillwater: Oklahoma State University.

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