Cat fleas are every cat owner's nightmare!
Once you have a flea infestation on your cat, it's not long before you have an infestation in your home.
It is therefore essential that you treat your cat AND your home together. Fleas breed and multiply at an alarming rate. After they've fed on the blood of your cat they will jump off and lay eggs in carpets, bedding and other fabrics they can find.
There's nothing worse than being uncomfortable and anxious in your own home while your cat suffers too.
I experienced a severe flea problem with my Siamese cat 'Eine' (photo above). It was a rude awakening. The good news is I did find some cheap ways of getting rid of the cat fleas after trying a number of different methods.
The pests are now
gone and have not returned. Eine is a happy cat again!
Disclaimer: I'm not a vet, but I do provide
information on this page which helped me get rid of cat fleas. I'll
outline the different products I tried and tell you which ones were the
best and which ones did not work as hoped. Please consult your vet for
professional medical advice.
The first indication that a cat may have fleas is that they start to
excessively scratch and bite their fur, develop bald spots, or vomit
more than usual.
If a cat has light-colored fur, you will usually see the fleas without much effort by parting the fur and inspecting the skin's surface.
Fleas are tiny, flat, dark little bugs that are hard to catch because of their near-infinitesimal size and ability to quickly jump off any surface. In fact, fleas can jump over 200 times the length of their bodies.
In addition, owners may notice a blackish, dandruff-like substance clinging to roots of the cat's fur. This is flea excrement or "flea dirt" and is a good sign that fleas are busy sucking your cat's blood for nourishment.
On dark-colored cats, you may have to bathe the cat or use a flea comb in order to see the extent of the infestation before deciding what to use as a cat flea control product.
Cat fleas are surprisingly hard to kill by hand. I found that simply trying to squish them between my fingers did not kill them. Fleas have an incredibly strong exoskeleton.
If you think fleas are small and hard to see, just look at the size of these flea eggs!
Spot On flea treatments close in strength and effectiveness to prescription flea medication are available without visiting a veterinarian. Pet Food Direct has a good range.
Topical or spot-on flea treatments come in small plastic tubes. They are applied directly to the back of the cat's neck.
You'll need to get your cat into a calm place in your house and be ready to apply the treatment without them squirming (as much as it's possible!) It may help to have someone else hold the cat still while you part the fur on the back of its neck between the shoulder blades.
Empty the entire contents from the tube on to the cat's skin (avoiding
smearing it on the fur as much as possible). From there, the natural
oils in your cat's coat will spread the liquid throughout the body.
The solution is also absorbed into the animal's bloodstream too, killing existing fleas and providing protection from infestation for up to 30 days.
Since kitten flea products contain different ingredients intended for a kitten's immature skin, fur and general physiology, a flea treatment for kittens will not work on an adult cat.
Likewise, an adult cat flea control product should not be used on kittens.
One of the best remedies during my flea infestation were some little non-prescription pills called Capstar; the active ingredient being Nitenpryam.
Available in many different doses via Pet Food Direct, these pills have been proven in this study by Department of Entomology, University of California, to administer a 100% kill rate for fleas on cats.
While not the cheapest of all flea treatment methods, it was for me a lifesaver, and worth every penny to end the problem.
It's amazing how fast these pills act once ingested. After an hour I combed her through and saw reams of dead fleas stuck on the flea comb. This was the beginning of the end of the flea war.
After giving her a Capstar pill once per day for a few days and continuing with the vacuuming (see 'Treating Your Home' below) all the fleas were gone!
I've always kept some of these pills at the ready should she ever get fleas again. I wish I had found this at the first sight of a flea, but better late than never.
During my war on the fleas, I resorted to bathing our cat. This way I could see the true extent of the infestation on her.
What I did was to use a gentle shampoo - Baby shampoo and massage it into her coat avoiding the face.
This resulted in all the fur becoming matted down and the fleas revealed themselves as little black dots all over. It killed a lot of fleas, much to my relief. But, some of the blighters still lived! Even after leaving the soapy lather on for 10 minutes and rinsing - some were still alive!
While not 100% successful, it did kill many of the fleas and I imagine it bought some relief to her itching too.
Flea combs were my greatest weapon (aside from the vacuum cleaner) in my war on fleas.
Regular brushes and combs will slide over fleas - but flea combs will capture the vast majority. I spent many hours combing her through and after catching a couple of fleas on the comb, I would drop it into a Tupperware tub containing warm water with a little dish soap mixed in. Bingo!
The fleas sink to the bottom of the tub and drown.
I tried this once without adding soap to the water. I couldn't believe it as I watched these fleas appear to drown, then resurface and actually jump back out of the tub! Adding the dish soap creates a film which the cat fleas cannot jump through.
Flea combs are also useful to have around to keep checking your cat for any remaining fleas.
Many cat owners automatically put a flea collar on their roaming cats at the beginning of summer.
Because the activities of outdoor cats usually involve bumping into other cats, exploring other people's backyards and garages (where dogs hang out) and hiding in buggy weeds while preying on unsuspecting birds, keeping outdoor cats flea-free during the warmer months is a significant challenge.
As a result, the most effective cat flea control measures consist of regularly replacing their flea collars and giving them periodic flea baths.
Owners may need to resort to giving their cats prescription flea pills if the cat is allergic to fleas and becomes ill in reaction to the bites.
Treating Your Home to get rid of cat fleas. I have tried all these treatments and I explain what worked for me and what didn't work to get rid of fleas in my house.
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