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Puzzling reaction from fleas

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
My cats have had fleas for about 4 months, we knew they had fleas but couldnt afford to buy them their frontline or get them bathed due to falling way behind on bills. All we could do was to keep washing their sheets/beds every month to get rid of the flea dirt, and to brush them.

Whats puzzling is the reaction from the fleas, even though the cats always slept in the same places and had the same access to the fleas.

One of my cats was just a little itchy, otherwise you wouldnt even know she had fleas.

My other cat though is a different story. He would be scratching all day to the point he could barely sleep without waking up to itch himself. He developed large,pink sores that appear to have a little pus on them, and scabs from him scratching them. All over his body (mainly his neck,belly,and rear) I dont know if this is from him scratching, or each flea bite flared up into these sores? He lost his appetite a little, but still ate and maintained his body weight. He started loosing his fur by the sores, then started loosing his fur on his back legs,rump, and tail to the point he looks skinny from I guess loosing his top coat of fur, but he's not bald.

He has black fur except his belly and neck which is white so it's hard to see fleas on him.

We got our cats the Frontline a few days ago. They both scratch very little now, but were waiting to see if our cat that was scratching badly looses the sores and grows the fur back in the balding areas. He literally slept most of the day 3 days after getting the frontline, he stopped waking up to scratch himself and his appetite is greatly improving.

Unfortunetly we cant get them bathed to remove any flea dirt, I know that would kill all the fleas.

My question is why when one of our cats gets fleas all she does is have an itch here and there, and our other cat gets these sores and starts loosing his hair? They are both sharing the same space yet get very different reactions?

Our vets never said why this happens as it has happened many times before, all they say is our cats has fleas and to use the frontline and get them bathed. I'm just concerned if the flea bites will do long term damage?
post #2 of 14
Sounds like your kitty has an allergic reaction to the flea bites. One thing you can get them when money is tight is that Capstar. My vet recommends it as it kills the fleas that are on the cat. Might be a good idea to look into it more for the very itchy kitty then the less itchy one?

Hope someone comes along with a better idea about your kitty.
post #3 of 14
Sounds like an eosinophilic granuloma... common allergic reaction in cats. People get hives, dogs get yeast, cats get raised, linear sores.
post #4 of 14
To completley remove fleas from your home will be a task, although the frontline kills the fleas, flea eggs in the carpet can live for months and only hatch when there is warmth or vibration to 'wake them' make sure you vacuums every day really slowly, apparently this helps, there are sprays and things that other members can tell you about to.

I am so glad you managed to get the frontline, and that your cat is getting his appetite back!
post #5 of 14
I would suggest getting some diatomaceous earth from a garden centre (or hopefully a hardware store) (must be human/food grade) and sprinkle it in your carpeting and furniture. Sweep it into the carpeting to make sure it gets down into the fibres. DE is completely safe for your kitties and for humans. If they ingest any the best it will do is rid them of any internal parasites.

DE will kill the fleas in the carpeting and any new ones that hatch. Put a cut-up flea collar in your vacuum and empty it outside after each vacuuming. Do NOT put a flea collar on your cats - they are toxic and can cause convulsions and in some cases have caused death. Wash all the cats' bedding in hot water.

You likely have lots of flea eggs in your home and you'll need to work on getting rid of them. Over-the-counter products like sprays, etc. generally do not work and often are toxic so try going the natural route with DE.
post #6 of 14
Some cats are more sensitive to flea bites or allergic to them. Why can't you wash your cats? Its not that hard to do and you wouldn't have to pay to have them washed.

IMO I would never let my cats go for months dealing with fleas. I've washed 5 week old kittens to full grown cats who've never had a bath - all with very little problems.
post #7 of 14
by waiting so long to take care of the problem, your house is probably overly infested with fleas now. Not only were your cats flea covered, but you, your carpet, possibly your food was too. It probably would have been much less expensive to just treat them in the first place.
post #8 of 14
I've only ever used a 5 mth flea collar on my older cat. She used to get scabby sores around her neck & along her back. She's been flea free for years. On my dogs I use Advantage most of the time. My border collie used to scratch incessently until I found out she had fleas. The vet only ever gave her cortisone injections which worked until it was out of her system. I used to put a lotion on her weepy sores which healed them quickly. I changed her diet, nothing worked. She's been flea free for about 9 yrs. For Blossom I use Revolution & she's never had a flea on her her whole life, nearly 15 mths.
post #9 of 14
I just wanted to add that it's also very likely the cats have tapeworm now as well from swallowing fleas while grooming so you'll need to get treatment from the vet for the tapeworms.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
I looked up about the reaction from the fleas and it seems that he does have that reaction from the flea bites,eosinophilic granuloma. It matches him almost perfectly. My question is what causes the bumps to get that big, is it an infection (like a pimple) or just swelling that will go away once the fleas stop biting? And why does he have it only, is it passed on from his parents? Once the vet did give him a cortisone injection after he was bathed to stop the itching from the bumps, but only once I dont know how long the Injection lasted.

My cats are very hard to bath, Especially the one who had the reaction to the fleas. We tried bathing him once, we ended up having a back full of blood from him latching on and biting and trying to get away, he is just too much to handle only the vets can figure out how to bath him without injury to him or them.

Our other cat (the one who doesnt get the reaction) isnt that hard to bath, but we really cant do a thorough job like the vets do so it's really a waste for us to do, and if you see the sink we wash her in it's not very clean so id rather have her cleaned professionally.

If we cant get frontline next time well buy the cheapest flea meds until we can either get them bathed or get the frontline.

And for the tapeworm they'll need to be tested for that I guess but it's very hard for me to get rid of the fleas in our house I never realized until now how often my cats have gotten fleas, because up until now we never knew why our one cat was loosing his hair and getting the bumps, but now we know the signs to look for early.

Do NOT put a flea collar on your cats - they are toxic and can cause convulsions and in some cases have caused death.

Our first cat wore a flea collar for over 8 years of his life, that was back in the early 90's when we didnt know they were bad and our vet reccommended it, sadly he died fairly young (12) and we part of it had something to do with a flea collar. So even though our 2 cats now had fleas we didnt want to take a chance with that flea collar.
post #11 of 14
As the some of the others have mentioned, your cat probably has flea allergies. Two of my furbabies have flea allergies, and what you've described is the same reaction that my two have if they pick up fleas. I never even knew that cats could be allerigic to flea bites, till about 5 years ago when one of my furbabies started scratching like crazy, and lost some fur on his belly, the top part of his tail & back, and under his legs. I took him to the vet, and that's when I found out about flea allergies. The vet gave him a steroid shot to ease the itching and discomfort, and also some steroid pills to take for a week. I've never had a problem since then, b/c I always make sure that they're protected against fleas by applying Advantage on a regular basis.

You're probably going to have to de-flea your home now, too. Once the fleas get out of hand, they'll leave flea eggs behind everywhere, and the eggs can live for months in your carpeting, etc. Chances are that you'll also have to deworm your cats too, b/c they've most likely ingested fleas that will turn into tapeworm once in the cat's system.

Once you get the fleas under control, you need to keep it that way, by making sure that your cats are always protected...

post #12 of 14
If we cant get frontline next time well buy the cheapest flea meds until we can either get them bathed or get the frontline.
That "cheap" stuff isn't any good. For one thing, it doesn't work well at all, and it also can be a health hazard to the cat. You'd be better off in the long run paying for the "good" stuff which does work, and is safe to use...

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
You're probably going to have to de-flea your home now, too. Once the fleas get out of hand, they'll leave flea eggs behind everywhere, and the eggs can live for months in your carpeting, etc.

Ok so this is the big problem here, or so it would seem, see if you can help me figure this out please.
I call my house a huge cat scratcher, mainly because in every room in the house (8 rooms) there are multiple rugs,sheets,pillows,mats,couches,chairs,chair pads,endtable cloth covers,etc..., not to mention 2 real cat scratchers we have. Which any of those a flea can lay eggs in. Not to mention our beds,dirty clothes, and my sis's room which has piles of stuffed toys, and clothes on the floor not washed because she is away at college, so all that stuff probably is harboring flea eggs too and god forbid I touch that stuff she will freak out on me! And you cant wash stuffed animals either.

How the heck do we clean all that? Not to mention the stray cats from outside, in the summer we have screens in the windows and doors, all they have to do is rub up against the screen and a flea can jump through the screen mesh into our house, starting the cycle all over again if our cats are on the opposite side of the screen. And on our shoes or clothes when we come inside.

That "cheap" stuff isn't any good. For one thing, it doesn't work well at all, and it also can be a health hazard to the cat.

One says its good, the other says it's bad.. IMO I think saving up for the good,expensive stuff is more worthwhile.
post #14 of 14
I'll try to answer your questions better tomorrow. I'm getting tired and my brain is getting fried: I can't think straight right now..

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