My cat has fleas!
ughh, what should I do? Please tell me how to get rid of fleas.
Having cats in your house makes flea infestation possible: on your cat, and then in your home. And Fleas are annoying for both cat and human. A few fleas can quickly multiply very quickly – one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which can fall off your cat inside your home. The eggs develop into larvae, which then form cocoons.
The flea hatches when it senses heat, vibrations or exhaled carbon dioxide, signaling that an animal is nearby. Then they jump onto the host and the cycle continues.
Flea infestation is not inevitable, but here’s some suggestion to help avoid having them jump on your cat and be transported into your house.
MY KITTY CARE
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Ctenocephalides felis, cat flea
Chemical flea treatments like collars, powders and other products can be dangerous, because they may contain toxic pesticides, which is not good for your cat and especially kids and pregnant women who have contact with treated cats. Applying too much topical flea product to your cat, or mixing up a dog flea preventive can be deadly if used on your cat. Even when applied properly, serious side effects can occur: skin irritation, neurological problems, gastrointestinal disorders and organ failure.
But there are other alternatives, natural ones.
A safe option is apple cider vinegar: most households already have it, and it’s cheaper and non-toxic.
organic apple cider vinegar
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016
Apple cider vinegar doesn’t kill fleas, but it may repel them because fleas dislike the smell and taste.
One of the simplest ways to use it is to make your own solution
- equal parts apple cider vinegar and water.
- Add the mixture to a spray bottle and spritz it on your pet before he heads outdoors
- spray cat’s bedding.
- Create a stronger anti-flea solution by adding aromatic oils that are safe for cats. Try:
Geranium, lemongrass, lavender, neem and catnip oil
- If you bathe your cat, use that opportunity to add diluted apple cider vinegar to pour over your cat (roughly 1 cup of vinegar to 1 gallon of water).
Fleas also dislike citrus, so you can use that instead of vinegar.
- Sprinkle fresh-squeezed lemon, orange or grapefruit juice on your cat’s fur, being very careful to avoid her eyes (be aware, that lemon juice can lighten dark fur).
- After bathing your cat, add 1 cup of lemon juice to 1 gallon of rinse water and pour over your clean kitty, carefully avoid head, massage into coat and towel dry.
Fleas are attracted to unhealthy cas, so keep your guy healthy – it will make him less of a target. Feed your cat a balanced, protein rich, cat appropriate diet. By the way, tap water has fluoride and chlorine, chemicals that can have a negative affect your cat’s immune health. Some medications and vaccinations can compromise your cat’s immune system – talk to your vet.
For outdoor cats, be careful with environmental chemicals (like pesticides and lawn chemicals) because these can be detrimental to your cat. Tall grass, weeds and wood stacked against your house are inviting to both fleas and frolicking cats.
photo by shari smith dunaif © 2015
Brushing your cat is a good way to check for fleas. If you do find them on your cat, don’t freak out, instead do the following:
- Put your cat on a light-colored towel, take a comb and dip it into soapy water and run it thru your cat’s fur
- repeat until the fleas stop dropping onto the towel (oh, so that’s why the towel should be light colored: – so you can see them!)
- it’s also a good time to add apple cider vinegar to the soapy water solution you’re dipping the comb in.
You may need to do this for several days.
In your house, frequent vacuuming of floors and furniture; plus washing your cat’s bedding, frequently, and your own sheets, linens, throw rugs and blankets will help make your home uninviting to fleas.
Fleas can transmit tapeworms, cause cat scratch disease and may even cause severe cases of anemia, especially in young animals.
“Thank god I don’t have fleas!” photo by shari smith dunaif © 2016
Keeping your home and cats free of fleas makes everyone in your family much happier.