Cats And Fleas
Cats and Fleas: Tips for Treatment and Prevention
Cats and fleas seem to go hand in hand. You might have seen a flea or two bouncing around on your cat’s fur, or you might have dealt with a nip or two of your own. Either way, confirming that your cat has fleas leaves only one choice: treating your cat and your home for fleas.
Many cat owners do not realize that the adult fleas they see on their cat are just a small portion of the total infestation. Fleas go through life stages, starting out as an egg. Flea eggs make up about fifty percent of the entire flea infestation! The other percentage is made up of the remaining life stages: larvae, pupa, and at a final five percent, the adult flea. Unfortunately, most flea treatments are only effective on the larvae, pupae, and adult fleas, therefore the treatment must be repeated a week or two later to ensure the extermination of the fleas that have hatched from the eggs.
There are many types of treatment available for cats and fleas. What any cat owner has to realize about treating fleas is that treating the environment is likely to prove more difficult that treating the cat itself! If the environment is not properly treated for fleas, your cat will simply become re-infested. Fleas can live in your carpets, the cat’s bed/blankets, furniture, and virtually any place that your cat frequents. If your cat is mostly an indoor pet, then treating the environment is definitely do-able. If your cat spends a great deal of time outside, you may find it nearly impossible to completely rid your home of a flea infestation as the cat will simply keep bringing fleas into the home faster than you can get rid of them.
To treat your home, be sure to wash your bedding and your cat’s (if it’s machine washable), as well as any blankets your cat uses. Vacuum carpeting, rugs, and upholstery at least twice to make sure you get good coverage. Follow up with a good flea spray or fogger. Flea sprays will ensure that any remaining adult fleas, but it will not be able to kill eggs or fleas that are in their “cocoon” stage. To kill ALL stages of flea, try purchasing a fogger. Usually one per home is adequate, but be sure to read the instructions thoroughly before using. The fogger is set in the home with all of the windows and doors closed. Closets where fleas may live should be left open, but electrical equipment should be covered to prevent damage. All humans and pets need to be removed from the home before the fogger is set off, as it penetrates nearly every nook and cranny in the home. The directions on the fogger will instruct you as to how long you need to wait before returning indoors. Foggers are not only effective at killing fleas, but they kill nearly everything else that may inhabit your home, such as insects and spiders.
The next important step at ridding a flea infestation is treating your cat. Flea shampoos and powders are effective for killing the adult fleas on your cat at the moment, but he will need to be re-bathed in order to kill the fleas that have grown from other life stages. There are some new flea sprays available that are quite promising. They are very effective and are safe enough that you can treat your cat every day if you need to. Flea collars are not very effective, as they only kill the fleas that venture near the collar, plus they constantly emit a poison which your cat will inhale, as well as yourself when you cuddle with your furry friend. They really aren’t worth the money spent. There are also tablets available that will sterilize the eggs laid on your cat. Or you can use a popular flea treatment such as Frontline or Advantage. With just a drop or two on the skin of your cat’s neck, adult fleas will be killed. Best of all is that these treatments last up to a month! These “spot on” treatments are also an excellent way to prevent your cat from getting fleas.
If you feel that your cat’s flea infestation is just too large to handle by yourself, you may feel it necessary to have a professional company come in and treat your home. The prices vary depending on the company you choose as well as the size of the area you want treated. Just don’t lose hope—cats and fleas do not have to go hand in hand!