There are several species of fleas, but the most common one that parasitize cats is the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis. It is a wingless insect that feeds on the blood of its host and can be recognized by two rows of spines that run along its back, a comb-like structure on its head called a ctenidium, and short densely bristled hind legs. Cat fleas are the most common cause of flea infestation in cats and can also be found on dogs.
Seeing that your pet has fleas might not be very easy – the insects are tiny and black to reddish-brown, and their jumping movements make it hard to visualize them. But a magnifying glass can help you spot these dark-colored creatures.
You might also be able to see dark brown-ish specks on your cat’s skin and fur, especially near their nape, neck, and tail. These specks, which look like dark dandruff, are actually flea dirt that has a rusty color when they dry out after they have sucked your pet’s blood.
Another obvious sign of fleas is your pet’s excessive itching. Flea saliva contains histamine, which causes itching in pets. Itching leads to excessive scratching, which can lead to bald spots and hair loss. In addition, if your pet is constantly grooming its body, it might be trying to reduce the itching caused by the fleas. The discomfort of a flea infestation can also drive cats to exhibit unusual behavior, such as constant meowing and growling.