Ronnie laying down and enjoying life in new home

Shaved cat sparks flea warning

Blue Cross is warning pet owners against DYI treatments after a shaved cat with fleas arrived at our doors. 

Seven-month-old Ronnie came into our Torbay rehoming centre in Devon as his owners could no longer keep him.

Ronnie on arrival at the centre with shaved fur
Ronnie on arrival at the centre

The team there said 90 per cent of the cats they took in last year had the parasite as owners had not sought vet advice or used the wrong treatments.

Owners often think the colder weather results in fewer fleas, but eggs brought into the home on pets can live dormant for up to a year and wake up once the central heating is turned on.

Research by Blue Cross found just 34 per cent of pet owners contacted their vet for flea treatments, with 55 per cent buying from supermarkets and online. Meanwhile 40 per cent admitted to not treating their pets for fleas regularly.

Claire Stallard, Behaviour and Training Manager at Blue Cross, said: “Most cats will find being shaved or clipped very stressful. We’d always urge owners to seek professional advice before attempting to trim their pet and would certainly never advise it as a way to combat or control fleas.”

Alison Thomas, Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross, said: “Shaving a cat to get rid of fleas is very unlikely to be successful and there is a risk of causing trauma and even cuts to the skin when attempting this in the home setting.

“The best way to manage a flea problem is to treat all cats and dogs in the household with a suitable product on a regular basis, combined with treatment of the home environment (usually with a spray designed to be used in the house).

“We understand that pet owners may have struggled to get access to veterinary advice this year, however prescription flea products from a veterinary practice are likely to be most effective.

“It is worth noting that flea collars are usually unsuccessful in getting rid of fleas and a small number of cats may develop a skin reaction to them.

“Where over-the-counter treatments are used, ensure you are buying an appropriate product for your pet – some dog treatments are unsuitable for cats and many treatments are designed for a particular size or weight range.

“Management of fleas becomes particularly important in young puppies and kittens as heavy infestation can result in severe illness and even death.”

Ronnie, a ginger tomcat, has since been rehomed by the Torbay Centre Manager, Laura Boyle, and lives with her and her daughter and their dog Penny.

Laura said: “He’s doing great and is really loving life with us.”

— Page last updated 25/01/2021