Fleas on an indoor cat, or something else?

Took our 9yo cat to the vet's last week, clean bill of health except for some bite marks at the base of the tail. Vet diagnosed this as fleas, tried to sell us Frontline. But, I'm 100% sure there are no fleas in the house, including the crawlspaces she likes to go into. Also no evidence of any fleas on the cat, and she's 100% indoors, with no other animals in the house. I'm wondering what else those bite marks could be, if not fleas? Notice she bites herself in that area occasionally, but didn't think it was enough to cause scabbing. Just don't want to go through a 3-month flea treatment for nothing.

Best Answers

  • Joy WaltersJoy Walters Member Posts: 9,276
    Accepted Answer
    Well, here on Catster we don't like to second guess the professionals, especially when we've never seen the cat in question or the mystery bite-marks. It IS possible to bring fleas in, especially at this time of the year when it's getting colder. Like other insects (and a lot of people as well!), they're looking for a warm place to spend the winter. Your cat doesn't need to be an outdoor kitty and you don't need other animals to bring them in. They travel on clothing, etc. In the bigger picture of things, a 3 month course of Frontline, which isn't THAT expensive and can be administered in a few seconds, isn't that bad. Try it and if it doesn't work after a week or so, if kitty is still gnawing at the base of her tail or the marks look worse and aren't healing or are multiplying, call your vet and tell them. If it was misdiagnosed, they may refund your money. Since fleas can live on people as well, you may even want to spray and vaccum your house just to make sure.
  • Shannon WatsonShannon Watson Member Posts: 3
    Accepted Answer
    It's possible it may be a flea allergic reaction. My cocker spaniel/poodle mix dog that I grew up with never had fleas, but we would walk her out in the yard, and one would jump on her and bite her and jump off because she had flea killers on her, and she'd have an allergic reaction and would itch all over for days afterward. My mom had to use a special sulphur based shampoo to calm the 'hot spots' where she had scratched her skin till it was reddish pink. I would get a flea comb and comb your cat really well, especially around where she scratches. See if you see any fleas or flea dirt at all. If not, maybe it is something else your cat is allergic to, like his bath shampoo or something in his food. If his itching persists after you have him on the flea treatments, then I would ask the vet for help or maybe even allergy shots.
  • sherry LaRosa-Silvestrisherry LaRosa-Silvestri willow groveMember Posts: 888
    Accepted Answer
    I am sorry, but I have to agree with your vet that your cat most likely has fleas. Fleas usually bite at the base of the tail. Wouldn't it be worth investing in some flea medication (Front Line and Advantage are good ones) than finding out that you now have a flea infestation in your home? I say "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"! Take the vet's advice and get some flea protection for your kitty. You will be glad you did and so will kitty.
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