Caring 4 Kittens
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Kitten Ailments

Common Kitten Ailments
Other Kitten Ailments

Fleas and Anemia

Fleas are probably the most prevalent external parasites of cats. A major part of the flea cycle takes place off the cat in your carpet or bedding.

The easiest way to detect adult fleas is to put on a pair of white knee socks and walk briskly around the suspected area for five minutes. Vibrations in the environment, body heat, and exhaled carbon dioxide cause fleas to respond and they often jump onto the socks, where they can be seen.

Kittens that are flea infested will exhibit what is called flea dirt. Flea dirt is actually partially digested blood and black in color that is in the flea feces.

The key to good flea control is cleanliness in the environment and on your pet.

For flea infested rooms the following should be done before insecticides are used. Steam cleaning your carpet will kill all flea life stages if done properly. Special attention should be given to baseboards, sheltered areas under furniture, and the spaces around and under furniture cushions. If an insecticide still needs to be used follow instructions closely.

Small kittens with fleas should be bathed and a flea comb should be used to remove visible fleas. When they are bathed flea infested kittens will have a large quantity of flea dirt on them. When flea dirt is wet it looks like blood. Depending on the amount of infestation when giving a kitten a bath the water may look very bloody and the kitten should be checked for anemia. Most flea shampoos cannot be used on kittens. A mild baby shampoo may be used.


A few fleas can consume enough blood to cause anemia in young kittens and if not treated can result in death. Check a kittens gums they should look pink and healthy. If the mouth is a little pale and the kitten only eats a little, then remove the fleas and see your veterinarian.

If the gums are very pale or white see a veterinarian. When assessing the color of the kitten make sure it is not chilled as this also can cause kittens to appear pale.

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