How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House and On Your Cat
Fleas and ticks aren’t just a summer problem and they aren’t just on outdoor cats. Living in a southern state I recently had to deal with an infestation on my indoor cats.
Don’t let fleas and ticks get out of hand.
Here’s how you can keep your cat protected or help him or her get rid of fleas economically and effectively.
If you are looking for a prescription product that works even more quickly than the ones reviewed in this article, try Comfortis flea pills.
There are plenty of new flea fighting products you can get through your vet’s office but I first want to review some of the products that used to be prescription but that you can now buy at your local pet supply store or through Amazon
I like this product because it tends to have the least allergic reactions among more sensitive animals. It is the only product my 15 year old Siamese can use without losing fur at the application site. It is also safe enough to apply once a week if you are dealing with a flea infestation.
Advantage II has an insecticide to kill the current fleas and it has a growth inhibitor to keep the newly hatched fleas from growing up and becoming new ones.
When I discovered that my cats had fleas, I started treating with Advantage II. This got rid of most of the fleas but I could still see find some fleas on my cats, especially a longer-haired cat that I had. So I researched and found another great, over-the-counter way to try to break up the life cycle.
Capstar are little pills that kill all adult fleas on your cat for 24 hours. The great thing about this pill is that is can be used in conjunction with other topical flea medications without any problems.
So I began treating my long-haired cat with the Capstar pills every few days. I also gave everyone one of the pills initially.
The key is to break the life cycle of the fleas and give the other product a chance to start working.
These pills are tiny and relatively easy to give your cat. Some even crush them up in a small amount of food and make sure the cat eats it all. Everyone from my senior cats down to a two year old took the pill with no problem.
New! Comfortis Has Been Approved for Cats!
There may now be something even better than Capstar.
I just came from my vet's office today. They now have Comfortis dosing for cats.
Comfortis is a flea pill that lasts for 30 days. Previously they were only for dogs but they now have cat weights and doses.
So if you are still having trouble, you might want to try this pill.
- To give a Comfortis Pill to Cat:
The pills are large so I crushed one up into small bits and put into canned food. I then hand fed the canned food to my cat by putting it on my finger and then putting it on the inside roof of his mouth.
This cat is the one that none of the topicals worked on. Just a few hours later he is now flea free! I highly recommend trying this if you are having trouble getting rid of fleas.
Cheap Flea Products That Don't Need a Prescription
Kills fleas and flea eggs
Kills adult fleas
Can be used every 7 days when needed
Can be used daily on cats over two pounds
Treating The House
If you have a flea infestation, you will want to treat the house in some manner since flea eggs, once they are laid on your cat, can fall off and get into the carpet and upholstery.
My vet’s office recommended that I spray the baseboards with a flea insecticide and then treat all the carpets and upholstery with boric acid powder.
You are supposed to leave the powder on for at least 24 hours and then vacuum it up.
I was hesitant to do this because of a child with asthma. So instead I washed all the bedding, took the couch apart and washed it and vacummed with my Dyson every single day.
These are all places where my cats hang out.
I took the canister out of the house and emptied it in a plastic grocery bag and immediately threw it in the trash bins that are outside.
Fleas On The Way Out
The fleas are definitely on the way out. I’m still treating my cats once a week with Advantage II and then I plan to back off to once every two weeks and then once every three weeks until I get back to once monthly.
You may be able to get rid of fleas faster but I tend to be hesitant about using too many insecticide products in the house so I plan to keep that solution in reserve as a last resort.
I also am trying to not use any other products that might react with my more sensitive cat or my child.
Advantage II can help to treat the environment too because, as a treated animal sheds fur, the product is strong enough to affect fleas and flea eggs in the environment.
I am alternating Capstar every other day in my cats. There are only a few fleas that fall off when I give the Capstar.
I continue to vacuum everyday. Vacuuming can initially "wake up" the fleas so you may see a surge. This is a good thing though because it gets them all up and exposed to the insecticides.
This battle may go on for several more weeks.
I bought a flea comb and combed all my cats. The only one where I found evidence of fleas, eggs and cocoons was my long-haired cat. So I've determined he is the source of the problem.
I have treated everybody with Advantage II again (this has been three weeks where I"m treating once a week) and continue to give the long-haired cat Capstar once a day to every other day.
I vacuum every day and wash the bedding every other day. I have seen no fleas in the environment and very few live ones on cats.
The live ones I have seen were obviously sick and easy to catch.
Doing all of this does work. It just takes persistance and patience.
I'm seeing very few fleas and the ones I see are dead. The continuous Advantage II treatement and the Capstar really seems to be getting my infestation under control. My cats seem happier, less anxious and definitely less itchy.
Getting rid of fleas is not an overnight process but it can be done.
Once you have the flea problem under control, you will want to get a dewormer for all your cats. Since cats groom regularly, it is likely that they will ingest at least a few fleas that can cause your cat to get intestinal worms.
If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, you may be dealing with ticks as well. While the package isn’t labeled this way, some pet owners have noted that Advantage II actually seems to have some effect on ticks in cats.
Frontline Plus also has tick protection so you might try that one instead. Ultimately, you may have to use a product at your vet’s office for treatment of ticks or try a flea and tick collar.
Advantage II seems to be the cheapest product that actually does work. You are most likely wasting your money if you try the cheaper over-the-counter flea products. Both Advatange and Frontline are readily available at most pet stores.
If your problem seems to be beyond what you can deal with, consider visiting a vet for a stronger prescription product.
It is important to be proactive about flea protection. Treat your cat monthly with a product, even if he or she lives indoors.
If you do get an infestation, remember that it may take several weeks to completely rid your cats and your home of fleas since you're dealing with the flea’s life cycle.
Dilligence and patience are the keys to success.