What Is Flea Dirt on Cats?

What is flea dirt?

Flea dirt is not really "dirt" at all. It is the feces of the flea that can be found on pets. It appears as small black flecks. Its appearance is similar to fresh ground pepper. Flea dirt is the bowel movement of the flea, and since fleas bite your cat and eat the blood, the bowel movement primarily contains digested blood.

Many cat owners never see the flea but they do find evidence of the flea, commonly referred to as "flea dirt".

Where can you find flea dirt on cats?

Flea dirt is found on cats that have fleas. It is most easily seen in areas of thin or light colored hair or in areas where fleas are often concentrated. The cat's dorsal back (just cranial to the tail) is a good spot to find flea dirt.

You can also find flea dirt in your pet's bedding. You can sometimes place a cat on a white blanket, sheet or towel and pet him or her while watching for small black flakes to fall onto the white surface.

How can you tell if it is really flea dirt?

Fleas eat blood. So digested blood is the primary ingredient in flea feces.

You can find it by separating the hair and looking at the skin. You can also use a flea comb. A flea comb is a fine-toothed comb that will often pull out any small objects such as fleas or flea dirt.
When you find flea dirt, place it on a moistened paper towel. If it is really flea dirt, it will make reddish or brown spots when it softens. This will help you differentiate flea dirt from regular dirt specks.

What is the significance of flea dirt on cats?

If you find flea dirt, it means your cat has fleas. You may not see the fleas, as some cats are very good at grooming and subsequently eating the fleas. Cats are especially good at licking fleas out of their fur and swallowing them as they groom themselves.

For more information on treating fleas, go to Flea Infestation in Cats.