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Flea Treatments for Your Cat

Updated on September 29, 2011

A Cat Flea Comb Kills Fleas

Embarking on a program to get rid of fleas on your cat is a perplexing problem.

And the eternal question, which never seems to draw a consensus, is how to get rid of fleas permanently. I find the trusty flea comb works best as a flea treatment to eliminate cat fleas.

The proverbial “wisdom” on flea treatments for cats seems to pool into three categories:

1) flea topicals

2) cat bath (Ouch!)

3) “natural” nostrums

Signs of Fleas

First and foremost, you must deal with the cat fleas problem, regardless of how inherently creepy the task is.

The fleas are biting and torturing your cat, so you can’t sit by and do nothing. You must begin getting rid of fleas. You’ll know your cat has fleas by its behavior and simple observation. If your cat is constantly scratching, that’s one sign. Another is bare patches on the cat’s neck and around the ears, caused by incessant scratching.

If you have red, itchy spots around your ankles, that’s a sign that fleas are attacking you. Now you have another reason to begin a flea treatment program.

Flea Treatments for Cats

Most cats like the comb flea treatment or at least tolerate it
Most cats like the comb flea treatment or at least tolerate it

A Test for Fleas

Here’s a foolproof method to examine your cat for fleas:

Sit Snuggles on an old white sheet and run your hand through his fur a few times. If you see little buggers jumping out, that’s probably fleas. Examine whatever “stuff” falls onto the sheet. If you find small black “dots,” it might be excrement a flea leaves after feeding on the cat’s blood. Squish these “dots” on a white paper towel. If it turns red, that’s your cat’s blood, and you’ve got a flea convention on your cat.

Fleas also cause anemia, which can kill kittens. Pale gums in a kitten is a sign of anemia.

Tapeworms are also transmitted by fleas.

If you suspect either of these maladies, call your vet for an appointment.

Natural and Topical Flea Treatments

Now that you know Flea City is under construction on your cat, several choices face you.

You can apply a commercial topical flea treatment. Volumes have been written on the wisdom of using these. You decide. Be sure to follow directions and don’t use these flea treatments on kittens without a veterinarian’s supervision.

Then there’s “natural” treatments. Again, be careful. Some are downright batty.

One of these “natural” treatments calls for brushing diatomaceous earth (DE) into your cat’s fur. DE is finely ground, microscopic diatom skeletons. These bits of DE are like shards of glass that work their way into the flea’s exoskeleton and shreds them apart until dead. It’s advised you wear a face mask when applying it. Remember, though, cats lick their fur constantly. Do you really want this stuff in your cat’s body, stomach and lungs? You decide.

Same with citrus peel extract. It’s okay for dogs but not cats. Do your research before trying any home or “over-the-fence” voodoo remedies.

Cat Bath to Kill Fleas

Next is....the cat bath.

You’ll need a tub, warm water, a bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid, welder’s gloves, a wet suit, band aids, iodine and a tourniquet in case a major vein is severed. Oh, it works, but prepare for a battle, featuring you against a hissing, howling mass of claws, teeth and fur that’s really, really fast. Now, all cats aren’t like that, but do you necessarily need to find out that lovable Snuggles is descended from killer prides of lions?

Flea Comb - The Flea Treatment that Works

Here is “The Solution” - a cat flea comb. It’s your best weapon in your flea treatment arsenal. It’s non-toxic, easy to use, inexpensive and it works. In fact, many cats like this flea treatment or at least tolerate it. And this flea treatment gets rid of fleas.

You’ll need:

1) one flea comb

2) two small bowls

3) Dawn liquid dishwashing detergent

4) a clean cloth

Ooze a few drops of Dawn into one bowl, add water and swish around until bubbles foam up. Fill the other bowl with clean water.

Call out to Snuggles that you have a treat, grab him and plop him on a table. In a soft and soothing voice, explain to him the necessity of this cat comb treatment. Or you could recite Newton’s laws of gravity. Cats don’t listen much to what people say, so it doesn’t matter what you say as long as you use your “kitty I got a treat” voice. (Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.)

Use the Flea Comb Treatment on the Face and Neck

 When using the comb flea treatment, pay special attention to the neck, face and the area in front of the tail. This is where fleas tend to gather.
When using the comb flea treatment, pay special attention to the neck, face and the area in front of the tail. This is where fleas tend to gather.

How to Use a Flea Comb

Start combing, from the neck back to the rear. The flea comb seems to act like a magnet as it scoops up the fleas and their eggs. After you see a few fleas on the comb, dip it in the soapy water. The buggers sink to the bottom and drown instantly. It’s really amazing.

Dip the flea comb in the clean water bowl, wipe with the cloth and return to work. Be sure to rinse the cat comb well after each pass because Dawn can dry out a cat’s skin.

Pay special attention to the neck, face and the area in front of the tail. This is where fleas tend to gather. Scholars and scientists have pondered why this is so, but cat owners know why: It’s so the fleas can see where the cat is going and where the cat has been. Cat owners are smart.

Give your cat the flea comb treatment at least twice a day. It may take several weeks to get all the critters, but little Snuggles will be happier, love you more and probably no longer believe you when you say you have a treat.

Clean House of Fleas

Incidentally, flea combing is but one element of removing fleas from your cat. This combing must also be accompanied by a war of attrition against the flea legions. That calls for ridding your home environment of fleas, larvae and eggs.

Ready for this? Clean your house. Total annihilation of the flea enemy means vacuuming, steam cleaning the rugs and plush furniture, washing the bedding and wet-mopping hardwood floors with soapy water. You’ll probably need to slave away at this several times - maybe once a week - before fleas get the word that a new and mean dog is on the block and he kills fleas.

It’s either do this or move to a different house.

Don't Forget Your Cat's Belly

Once Snuggle’s house is cleaned of fleas, you might need to keep him in the house until the flea season is over so he doesn’t go outside, pick up fleas and re-infest himself, you and the house. If that happens, you’ll need to start the flea treatment all over again.

And don’t forget to use the flea comb on your cat’s belly, and wash his litter box, too. It’s not difficult to do. After all, cat owners are smart, and that’s why cats hang around with us.


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    • ThomasE profile image


      8 years ago from UK

      In the UK at least there are a few cures for fleas that the vet can prescribe, which involve a couple of drops to the skin rather than a bath.

      They work pretty quick.

      But you will still need to clean the house :(


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