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Fleas!

JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp.I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
edited July 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
So for whatever reason, fleas have never really been an issue in my house; my cats are indoor cats, I vacuum regularly - and I guess we've been lucky in the past. Now that's all changed. They're infested and visibly unhappy, I'm catching the little bastards hopping around on me and on the furniture, and I need to know what to do. I've never dealt with this before.

Or more specifically

- what do I do to get them to leave the cats alone? Collars? Powder?

- what do I do to get them to leave me alone?

Caveat: I don't have the money right now to take three cats to the vet.

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Jacobkosh on

Posts

  • chrisofthedalechrisofthedale Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    My sister and her husband recently had the same issue (same number of cats even). They took the cats to the vet for treatment and had to call an exterminator to rid their apartment of the fleas.

    The most effective treatment for your cats will be the liquid drop medicine (I have no idea what it is called). As far as your house goes, I have no idea if there is an option other than an exterminator, as fleas can survive in carpet and such for some time without feeding.

    chrisofthedale on
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  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Go to the vet and ask for Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage (NOT ADVANTIX - Advantix will kill your cat).

    SkyCaptain on
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  • KyleWPetersonKyleWPeterson Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Had the same thing happen a few years back.

    First, get the cats on medicine. Second...

    Your best bet and strongest weapon against fleas is a good vacuum cleaner. Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Also, give the sheets in your bed a good washing now that you know they're probably in there and before you hop in every night make sure to check your body real quick for them. If they're in bed with you then they're going to be reproducing at a pretty alarming rate. I found that taking a quick shower before the night was over and then putting some flea repellent on my legs on the way to bed helped the most.

    But really, just vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. And I mean like every day. You don't have to do an amazing job or anything, but you need to be consistent with it if you're going to keep them away. All it takes is a lone egg or two to get those things started right up again.

    KyleWPeterson on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Two words: Steinernema carpocapsae

    That motherfucker eats fleas from the inside-out (for your morbid pleasure, it typically does so by forcing itself right down the flea's own mouth). I believe you can buy spray-on cultures of these nematodes under a variety of brand names - in any case, they'll have your apartment cleaned-up of fleas and then die-off themselves of starvation in little time. The worms themselves are harmless to anything aside from the fleas and a handful of other insects, are microscopic (so they shouldn't gross you out while constantly slithering around your place) and are as hardy as their prey.


    Spiders also make terrific flea catchers (thought they won't get the ones that are actually on your cats, like the nematodes will). If you're okay with spiders being in your pace for a while, and the spiders in your area aren't dangerous, capture a bunch from your yard or whatever and let them go to work (yeah, the webs will be a pain to clean-up later, but nothing quite as good an exterminator as a hungry arachnid).

    The Ender on
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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Generally once you medicine the cats with Frontline or Advantage and do a good vacuuming, the fleas will disappear with a lack of food source. Collars and store bought drops are garbage and do not work. Go to your vet.

    Esh on
  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Go to the vet and ask for Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage (NOT ADVANTIX - Advantix will kill your cat).

    Do this. Immediately. You'll be flea free in a couple of weeks.

    Don't buy any flea powder that you put on your carpet and vacuum up. It'll hurt your cats more than anything.

    Evil_Reaver on
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  • BlochWaveBlochWave Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ah fleas, my ancient foe. I had a true infestation in my old apartment a few years ago. My cats are indoor cats like yours, and I don't think they actually caused it (those apartments were a little skanky). I only noticed because the cats pretty much stopped walking on the carpet. They'd jump from chair to table to counter to table, sprint across a patch of carpet, and hop up on the couch. The carpet was infested. Walking around guaranteed flea bites on the legs.

    I'm kinda embarrassed I didn't notice earlier. I think you're in better shape, but you won't be for long so act fast! Treat the cats, and vacuum excessively. When it gets to a full blown infestation of the carpet, know that I tried everything, ridiculously thorough vacuuming twice a day for two, I STEAMCLEANED the floor, etc. They'd keep coming on back. Finally I had to go buy the spray, (I used that instead of the bug bombs). If you want a recommendation, Adams Flea and Tick got it done for me. It is pretty harsh stuff though and you'll have to relocate the cats for several hours. I still feel ghost fleas years later. Probably the ghosts of the millions of dead fleas ^_^ God I hate fleas. Kill them all man.

    BlochWave on
  • MunchMunch Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Revolution is the only thing I found to work with my dog, after trying collars, Frontline, sprays, organic deterrents, shampoos, and about a dozen other things. One stop at the vet for a Capstar pill, followed by a dose of Revolution, and my dog was totally flea-free.

    And as others have said, be sure to vacuum your home, especially in cracks or places your cats sleep or hang out a lot, and it probably wouldn't hurt to wash your own bedding, just to be sure.

    Munch on
  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha The pen is mightier than the sword http://youtu.be/G_sBOsh-vyIRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Cedar works well. I had a flea issue. I bought a cedar plank and broke it into pieces where they were most infested. Some reason fleas can't stand it.

    Viscountalpha on
  • MimMim I prefer my lovers… dead.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Go to the vet and ask for Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage (NOT ADVANTIX - Advantix will kill your cat).

    What about for dogs? Would Advantix kill dogs? I didn't know it could kill cats. o_O

    Mim on
  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    It's called K-9 Advantix. One of the ingredients is toxic and fatal to felines.

    SkyCaptain on
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  • ZenitramZenitram Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm fortunate enough to live in the boonies in the Pacific NW, where fleas have never really been an issue even for outside animals.

    But I have to agree with the liquid drops that you put between the shoulder blades of your pets. Gets rid of fleas quick and is a one-time thing that's super easy.

    Zenitram on
  • KillgrimageKillgrimage Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Drops drops drops. Fleas were gone in like 2 days, because it fucks up their life cycle and they just can't breed. Then vacuum up their little bodies and be thankful you are human and can use your giant brain to kill these fuckers.

    Killgrimage on
  • TrillianTrillian Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Mim wrote: »
    SkyCaptain wrote: »
    Go to the vet and ask for Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage (NOT ADVANTIX - Advantix will kill your cat).

    What about for dogs? Would Advantix kill dogs? I didn't know it could kill cats. o_O

    It does!
    Well, in any case it does not immediately outright kill, but it presents as uncontrollable tremors and seizing.
    Cats are much more sensitive to permethrins, which are found in pet store flea treatments and sprays. Symptoms of permethrin poisoning include the above mentioned tremors, seizures, drooling, lost consciousness and if untreated, death. My friend's dog was poisoned earlier this year by Sergeant's brand flea killer, and that was a pricey trip to the vet, not to mention the immeasurable heartache and worry. The ony good flea killers are the ones sold by veterinarians.

    Forget treating the carpets, just put some Advantage or Revolution on all the cats and let them walk around. The fleas are much more attracted to the cats than to you, and will be old history in no time. Keep this up monthly for no fleas, because they'll keep hatching from the carpets until there are none.

    Trillian on

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Esh wrote: »
    Generally once you medicine the cats with Frontline or Advantage and do a good vacuuming, the fleas will disappear with a lack of food source. Collars and store bought drops are garbage and do not work. Go to your vet.

    Frontline is the shit. Works great. All the normal "store-bought" shit (like you'd find at Petsmart and the like) are generally garbage, barely work, and you can find horror stories of it killing or maiming cats online. But Frontline (and the other one or two that are commonly sold at vets) work well and seem quite safe by comparison.

    As other said, it's a matter of killing their food source...your cats. They'll persist in carpets, upholstery, sheets, etc. for a while, but eventually without cats to feed on they will all die. So just vacuum consistently, use Frontline (as directed, and realize this may take 2-3 months), and you should be good to go.

    The only thing store-bought shit is good for is putting those collars in your vacuum bags. They basically work by emitting a gas, which will fill the bag and ensure any fleas you pick up are dead dead dead.

    By the way, you'll find that this shit is not cheap...I think we pay like $10 per month per cat for Frontline. But it's worth it. And if they're not going outside you might be able to get away with stopping the doses after a few months when the fleas are finally gone. We stopped over the winter, but started right back up in spring....but ours go outside.

    mcdermott on
  • ElinElin Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    My poor cat and apartment got a crazy bad flea infestation one summer. I used Advantage on her and it was instant. Put on the drops, 10 minutes later there was a little ring of flea corpses around her. Crazy. All the fleas were gone from the apartment and cat within 2 weeks, but I kept it up for 3 months just to be safe.

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  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Moderator mod
    edited July 2010
    Thanks for the help, guys. :) I'll see about getting some Revolution this week.

    Jacobkosh on
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  • MimMim I prefer my lovers… dead.Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Holy fuck. Even though this is about cats, I'm freaking out now about my dog! I've been using the store "flea killer" shampoos and stuff on her. No wonder she was looking a bit wigged out after baths. She's got a vet appointment tomorrow.

    Is Revolution good for dogs also?

    Mim on
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    edited July 2010
    Dogs and cats have their own versions of these things. Do NOT use the doggie version of a product on your cats. Most animals are fine with these brand-name drops you get from a vet - that's MOST of them. Do keep an eye out for the side effects mentioned on the label, because cats, like people, react to things differently from animal to animal.

    Talk to your vet about which name you're looking for. Some are safe for kittens and older cats and some are not, or have special formulas for kittens. Best to speak to a pro before you go dropping chemicals all over your cats.

    ceres on
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  • ransimransim Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    You can also try picking up some Diatomaceous earth (food grade only!) and putting it inside where you know the animals sleep. Works well if they have a bed. Not so much if its just anywhere. But it'll kill the little bastards. You can even spray it on them with water I believe, or powder them with it.

    Another thing to try once you get it under control is feeding your cats Brewers Yeast.

    ransim on
  • SatsumomoSatsumomo Rated PG! Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Frontline and Advantage are incredibly effective, Dad's a vet and we have a pet store. Revolution is for heartworm disease but it also kills fleas.

    Satsumomo on
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    yea, just us animal specific stuff on the animals and you will be fine.

    the only thing you can go cross species is K9 advantage, you just need to find the dosage for your cat. DO NOT USE K9 ADVANTIX on your cat the difference is advantix has a tick component where as advantage is only flea. the tick stuff will kill your cat but the k9 advantage is fine at the right dose

    we use revolution but i would just get what works best for you. also costco sometimes carries frontline super cheap

    mts on
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  • NebulousQNebulousQ Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I'm going to piggy back on this thread.

    My brother and his wife are having a flea problem in their small home. They have one indoor cat and there are many kittens that live near their house, under the patio or some such. They bombed their house once already for fleas, but now the fleas have come back. I think using the Frontline medicine on the indoor cat might not be effective since they will have another nearby food source: the kittens.

    NebulousQ on
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    more than likely they will have to do something about the kittens. If they are getting eaten alive by fleas they probably aren't too happy either! Call animal control or the local SPCA, they will either come get them or your brother can take them in. only downside to this is if they don't get adopted, there is a chance they will be put down.

    Dr. Frenchenstein on
  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Just want to echo: Revolution, Frontline, or Advantage. Also, I think they sell at least one or two of those products at Petco or Petsmart, if you're near them.

    LadyM on
  • iamthepiemaniamthepieman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Didn't read the rest of this post but we are in a similiar situation though a bit further along in our treatment of it.

    The biggest mistake you can make is kicking the cats outside. Go to a pet supply store and get the flee medications recommended by other posters and treat your cats right away. Keep them off furniture if possible since the flea eggs will drop off their fur onto your couch and other upholstery.

    If you kick the cats out or make them stay in a kennel then the fleas will turn to you as their next meal. Also, fleas will die when they bite a treated animal.

    We fogged our house and it worked for a few days but then the fleas came back with a vengeance. Apparently the self-applied foggers don't kill the cocoons, just the eggs and adult fleas since the cocoons are wrapped tight in a protective shell. It's a ton of work, but we vacuum the house once or twice a day, including using a narrow vacuum attachment to get all the nooks and crannies around the baseboard and under the radiators. This has kept the population in check.

    Hope this helps.

    iamthepieman on
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    just make sure you vacuum every day and empty it.

    mts on
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  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Frontline Plus is great, but just make sure you shop around. You can get it for $40 at Wal-Mart or $35 at Costco but Petco/Petsmart sells it for $65. I don't know about you, but I can use that $20 for food.

    A couple of cycles of Frontline should get rid of the fleas... it takes care of the fleas and ruins egg development. However, you're going to want to vacuum frequently over the next couple of weeks so the little bastards don't decide to eat you instead (clean the bag, otherwise they'll just crawl out). If you have leather furniture you should be ok, but if it's fabric, you're also going to want to get into that and steam it. Wash all the animals bedding. Wash your own sheets, too. They usually won't get in the mattress.

    You also probably want to try to figure out what the vector was... If they're inside cats, how did the fleas get to them?

    GungHo on
  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    plus the petsmart version is for 3 months. that same price at costco is for 6 i believe

    mts on
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  • iamthepiemaniamthepieman Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    GungHo wrote: »
    You also probably want to try to figure out what the vector was... If they're inside cats, how did the fleas get to them?

    Fleas usually come from your yard or from neighboring pets. You can get bio-engineered nemotodes that attack fleas and other pests. They are shipped overnite in an ice-pak box and you sprinkle them around the perimeter of your house and yard.

    http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=2779

    iamthepieman on
  • SkyCaptainSkyCaptain IndianaRegistered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Haha, I am so buying those nematodes and telling my nosy neighbor that I'm adding blood-activated genetically engineered assassins to my security protocols in case of a zombie apocalypse.

    SkyCaptain on
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