People for Cats is still officially closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have been conducting some contact-free adoptions via appointment. Cats available for adoption are advertised on Facebook and Petfinder, and prospective adopters should contact us via Petfinder or leave a message for Barbara on our hotline. After a telephone interview and if it looks like a good match, an appointment is made to view the cat outside the shelter and potentially adopt it.

While fleas and ticks are year-round problems for cats and their owners, they tend to be more prevalent in the warmer weather. Even if you keep your cat indoors, these pests can hop a ride on a dog, human or rodent that finds its way into your house. Fleas, besides making our cats miserable, can carry diseases and parasites, and even cause dangerous blood loss in kittens and older or sick cats. So it’s important to be vigilant to prevent even a single flea from becoming an infestation. Check your cat frequently for signs of fleas, especially if he or she is obsessively scratching. It’s often easiest to spot fleas on the belly fur near the tail. You’re looking for black specks, which might be the fleas themselves or their droppings. If your cat is dark in color, running a fine-toothed flea comb through its fur will also pick up evidence of “flea dirt” left on the comb.

Once you discover fleas on your cat, you need to treat both the cat and the environment immediately. There are many options available for getting rid of fleas on your cat such as shampoos, collars, topical medications and pills. Consult your veterinarian for the best method for your cat. If you choose an over-the-counter medication, be sure that it’s appropriate for your cat and follow all instructions carefully. Some can be quite harmful if not used appropriately.

Some very effective direct-application medications that kill adult fleas, ticks and their eggs and larvae have come on the market. They are available over-the-counter and are effective for 30 days. At the shelter we have had success using these products. They are applied to the nape of the cat’s neck, where he or she cannot lick or get to the medication, which could be toxic if ingested. In short order, you will find dead fleas in your cat’s bed and fur. Most flea collars are pretty ineffective. However, there is a relatively new collar on the market that gives long-lasting treatment against fleas for up to eight months. Some of the “natural” flea treatments you might find online can also be quite toxic, so take care when using them. A flea comb that requires patience and persistent use is the only method that is safe for all cats, including small kittens.

Fleas only spend about 20 percent of their time on your cat and the rest of the time hanging out elsewhere in your house. They can live without eating for at least three months in your carpet or furniture. To rid your home of fleas, the safest method is obsessive vacuuming of carpets and upholstered furniture. Wash and dry bedding (cat and human) in hot water and high heat. Bag and dispose items that cannot be washed or otherwise disinfected. Steam cleaning is also an option, as are chemical treatments such as flea bombs, but most of these are best applied by a professional, since they can be toxic to cats and humans.

Treating flea infestations can take time. You might also have to deal with secondary issues such as dermatitis from flea allergies, skin infections from scratching, parasitic infections such as tapeworms, or diseases such as toxoplasmosis (some of which can be transmitted to humans). But if you are persistent, you can eradicate the fleas and once again make your house a safe haven for you and your cat.

We do not have any cats available for adoption. Two little ladies are still waiting for her vet appointment, and another “lost kitty” is being returned to his owner. Our census does change from week to week, although it has been quite low during this pandemic, so if you are searching for a furry companion, keep an eye on our Facebook site and Petfinder to see when cats or kittens become available.

The PFC shelter is located at 44 Beagle Lane in Teaticket. Our mailing address is PO Box 422, West Falmouth, MA 02574.

If you need to get in touch with us, call our hotline at 508-540-5654. Press 0 if you have cat-related issues and questions, are interested in volunteering or for additional information about People for Cats. Press 2 if you need financial assistance for veterinary care or spay/neuter assistance. Call 617-645-4019 (rather than pressing 3) if you must surrender a cat or kitten. All calls will be returned as quickly as possible.

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