Can Fleas Actually Kill A Cat?

We cat owners know too well that fleas can really be a nuisance if not dealt with accordingly. Part of this pest’s arsenal includes causes for scratching and itching and not just for our cats but for the owners, as well.

However, the bad news is that those fleas left out of control can bring more than just a few itches, especially for our feline buddies. If you leave this issue unaddressed, then things might turn sour for your puss. Can fleas kill a cat? This type of infestation has this potential so here’s how to avoid it.

First, here are some symptoms and causes of a severe infestation.


Really? These external parasites have their own internal parasites to pass on to our poor cats? Unfortunately, yes. The most common type of parasite transmitted by fleas is the tapeworm. You can relax because this doesn’t mean that your cat is dying. Tapeworms can be dealt with quite easily.

However, there is another type of parasite which can be transmitted by fleas sometimes. It is called Haemobartonella, and it finds its home in your cat’s blood, attaching itself to the red blood cells which can lead to some serious cases of anemia.

If and when a cat contracts this condition, a blood transfusion will be absolutely necessary alongside some antibiotics which will neutralize the parasite. You should be careful because almost a third of all kittens that are infected with this parasite don’t make it through.

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Since we’ve already brushed on this subject, let’s dig deeper. When fleas are found in great numbers in cats – especially kittens – they can be the cause of some substantial blood loss which gives way for anemia to settle.

As we know, anemia can be a fatal affliction if we don’t nip it in the bud as soon as possible.

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Flea bite anemia found in kittens and cats will require blood transfusions and supplements rich in iron. Even so, treatment and intervention might not be enough for some unfortunate cats. The typical symptoms for flea bite anemia include those typical for flea infestation like hair loss and excessive scratching but you should also look for pale gums or signs of weakness.


Those of us familiar with the history of the world know that fleas are the notorious culprits responsible for the spread of the bubonic plague which is responsible for wiping out a lot of people, being one of the deadliest threats to the European population during the Middle Ages.

Sure, most of us are under the impression that all this happened in the past and it remains a black mark on our history. However, we can still find fleas that carry the bacteria which causes the plague, for example in the southwestern United States.

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Just as humans, our cats are really susceptible to this pest, and it can be fatal if we don’t treat it. Here are the symptoms to be on the lookout for: abscesses, fever, weakness, and difficulty while breathing. Any such symptoms observed in your cat, visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.

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How to ensure that this isn’t happening

The best course of action which you can take would be to eliminate any existing flea from your home and your cat and to make sure to take steps towards preventing other infestations. How to kill fleas on cats? In order to find out a proper way to do this we highly recommend that you would check with your vet in regards to a program designed to keep fleas in check, and you should make sure that this program is customized for your kitty.

Usually, you will find that flea control medicine released on prescription is really effective, although you should make a note of the fact that fleas tend to build up a tolerance to these drugs. In order to avoid such a scenario which will turn medication redundant, you should try switching to a different formula or brand in the event that you notice that the medication isn’t working.

Another tip that you should remember is to find a medication that is capable of killing larvae and eggs as well as fully grown adult fleas. You shouldn’t use flea treatments customized for dogs on cats or the other way around. All pets inside your home should be treated for fleas and their bedding, as well as your carpeting, should be washed and vacuumed on a regular basis.

Home remedies to kill fleas on cats

Let us state once again that the best way to make sure that you are properly dealing with your cat’s flea infestation issue is to make an appointment with your vet. Luckily, you can also find a list of homemade remedies meant to deal with fleas, some of which we’ll show you right now.

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  • First of all, you should know that home remedies might do wonders for the first time but they might lose efficiency over time. They work better at preventing flea infestations than actually destroying them.
  • One of the most obvious ways of naturally treating your cat would be a thorough and simple rinse with cold water followed by shampoo with flea repellant (lavender or cedar smell great as well).
  • Since a lot of cats loathe getting wet, you can try using a flea comb. Work slowly and deep, which can lead to a relaxing time for your cat.
  • Don’t forget that your home must be treated as well so that you can keep fleas at a distance.
  • Salt can be sprinkled on and into your carpet, working as a drying agent capable of killing flea larvae and eggs found deeply embedded inside your carpet’s fibers.
  • If your home has a yard, then that too must be dealt with to further raise your home’s protection against fleas. You must reduce the places which fleas can use to flourish. This means that stuff like piles of leaves must be dealt with accordingly.

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The bottom line

We hope that your awareness was raised through this article and don’t forget to check with your vet as soon as you see something wrong with your cat or as soon as you start to scratch yourself for no apparent reason.

This post contains affiliate links on some of the images. You can support this blog by trying out the products recommended in this article. 

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Cristina is a licensed veterinarian who has been a cat owner since she was 12. She is passionate about giving useful advice to pet owners across the world. Her favorite topics range from pathology and novel therapies to infectious diseases and animal welfare. Her work has been featured in many online publications from The Pet Friendly House to Alpha Paw, Animal Wellness Magazine, and

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