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Houston, we have a flea problem
March 28, 2010 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Help me get these little jerks off of my cat!

I've inherited a cat from my roommate at the end of this week. Yogs is an indoor-outdoor cat, and he gets fleas from time to time. Flea collars haven't worked, does anyone have solid suggestions for products or home remedies?

Thanks!
posted by wild like kudzu to Pets & Animals (29 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Advantage works very well. I've also had success with Frontline although there have been rumours of increased resistance (Advantage comes in six packs, Frontline in two packs and I have three cats so that's how I choose). Flea collars are a waste of time (and they smell), so are the flea treatments you get from the supermarkets (plus they can be dangerous). Flea powder or spray is a good way to piss off the cat while killing only a few fleas. The only downside of buying Advantage is the cost, but it's easy to use and effective so it's worth it.
posted by shelleycat at 7:16 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is there a Petsmart near you? Most of them have a veterinarian where you can get Advantage which in my experience can be sold by the single dose. You don't need an appointment. It's about 15 dollars or so and works wonders. I never had any luck with Frontline.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 7:21 PM on March 28, 2010


If it's really not that often, you could commit yourself to a regime of combing him with the fine flea comb found at a pet store. If he enjoys it, it might be something you do when he's sitting on your lap each night... I used to have a cat who loved it so much I'd just comb him for hours, with nary a flea to be found. But if you're not interested in that (you do have to crush or drown the fleas when you find them), seconding Advantage/Frontline. They're pretty much the same, but one advertises itself as also killing ticks, so if that's ever an issue in your neighborhood choose that one.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:33 PM on March 28, 2010


Buy Advantage online. Much cheaper and you can usually find coupons for free shipping. Flea collars are fairly useless -- and the drops from Target or whatever (Hartz is the brand, I think) are also totally useless. Get the good stuff, even if it's a bit more expensive. It actually works.
posted by barnone at 7:33 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Bayer Advantage is the best thing I've ever tried. It works fast, keeps the fleas out of the house, and is not terribly expensive. I usually order it online but the vet at Petsmart should have it too. Everything else I tried just annoyed the cat.
posted by irisclara at 7:50 PM on March 28, 2010


We used Advantage, we've switches to Revolution because it guards against ear mites which have been bugging our guy.

As far as collars? The only thing we've found that works in collar form is the tick collar for the dog.
posted by iamabot at 7:56 PM on March 28, 2010


Nthing Advantage. You'll notice an improvement really, really quickly.
posted by cooker girl at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2010


Yes, absolutely, Advantage. It's miraculous but not a miracle drug, so be sure you thoroughly vacuum carpets and rugs daily and wash pet bedding frequently, or even with Advantage you'll have a stalemate, and worst case, get a crop of resistant fleas. You may also want to limit the cat's access to outdoor areas, since they may be visiting other cats or breeding sources and bringing in batches of new fleas daily. IMHO flea collars don't work, and if you Google around you'll find that they have a dubious safety record. I'm not aware of any home remedies that work except aside from actually picking them out.
posted by crapmatic at 8:24 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Advantage works wonderfully on 99% of all cats. It is a godsend. Without it, you must resort to daily flea combings, monthly (at least) baths, and other horrors that not many cats would put up with.
posted by strixus at 8:55 PM on March 28, 2010


Advantage is awesome. I buy it from eBay, where apparently these geniuses divvy up big-dog doses into smaller quantities so you can buy 10 doses for $30, which is far below retail. Like this one. Looks sketchy, perhaps, but had become my standby.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:07 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The active ingredients in Advantage, Frontline and Revolution are all insect growth regulators, and they all work far better than straight poisons with less risk to puss's health. They're expensive per dose, but relatively very cheap per dead flea.
posted by flabdablet at 11:24 PM on March 28, 2010


Advantage.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:13 AM on March 29, 2010


Only buy Advantage from licensed veterinarians. A few online retailers are owned by licensed veterinarians, but do your research. I would never buy it off of Ebay.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 5:45 AM on March 29, 2010


Yep, Advantage. Or Frontline.

When we had dogs, we went for years without any flea problems. The first time I saw fleas on the cats, we got ahold of some Advantage from Dr. Foster and Smith, dosed them once, and that was the end of it.
posted by jquinby at 6:17 AM on March 29, 2010


I just had problems with Frontline not working on my cat, and I asked both of my vets (long story as to why I have two) and they both confirmed that Frontline was one of the earlier flea drop products and resistance has developed, and they both recommended Advantage.

I order Advantage from 1800petmeds - if you look around online you can find their coupon code for $5 off, and there's usually free shipping.
posted by komara at 7:08 AM on March 29, 2010


Advantage.

Be sure to use only spot-treatments like advantage meant for cats, though. There are major problems with people using products intended for dogs on cats--stuff is pretty poisonous for cats.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:20 AM on March 29, 2010


Is there a Petsmart near you? Most of them have a veterinarian where you can get Advantage which in my experience can be sold by the single dose.

If you want to be sure that you stomp out the fleas, you'll need to do a few rounds of Advantage treatment. One dose will kill all currently living fleas on your animal within a few days, but it won't kill any eggs that those fleas laid and that will hatch a month or so later.
posted by phatkitten at 9:19 AM on March 29, 2010


I bought mine off eBay and it worked great. Just make sure you follow the directions so you don't OD your pets.

It's priced like printer ink when you buy it from a vet or pet store.
posted by tmt at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2010


*I bought Advantage, that is.
posted by tmt at 9:30 AM on March 29, 2010


We use Frontline Plus (not just Frontline) because it also renders adults sterile (the ones that escape getting killed). If your cat goes outdoors, he'll probably keep getting reinfected, so it's important to keep up the regimen. If you buy Frontline Plus from your vet, it is really expensive. We get it from the Merial company through Amazon.com.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:02 AM on March 29, 2010


> Be sure to use only spot-treatments like advantage meant for cats, though. There are major problems with people using products intended for dogs on cats--stuff is pretty poisonous for cats.

Advantage is identical when marketed for dogs or cats, only dosed differently, at least according to my vet. Other types of meds are not. Ask your vet.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:13 AM on March 29, 2010


nthing Advantage. We tried Frontline first and it didn't work. I asked my vet about it and he said he hears that a lot (n.b. he sells both, not just Advantage). He also said he sees more cases of cats having reactions to Frontline.
posted by media_itoku at 10:40 AM on March 29, 2010


Definitely Advantage. I'd also recommend some flea doom spray for furniture, carpets, bedding, etc. I use one called RIP Flea, which is a UK brand but no doubt your vet or pet store will have something similar.
posted by essexjan at 10:50 AM on March 29, 2010


the drops from Target or whatever (Hartz is the brand, I think) are also totally useless.

they are actually not useless. When I dose the (insanely flea-allergic) Fat Man with whatever, hartz or sergeants, he is a really nice-looking sleek black tuxedo cat. When I forget, he looks like a moth-eaten wool suit, except with weeping sores in the holey parts.

I buy these cheap brands for my five cats because five doses a month of advantage year round would leave me eating cat food and them eating lizards or worse. hartz/sergeant's costs like $10-12 for 3 doses vs. $11/dose for Advantage.

be sure you get the box with the cat on the front for your cat. the dog formula is *rapidly and agonizingly fatal* to cats, hence the lawsuits you have heard about, which date to when the packaging for the two different products was insufficiently distinct.
posted by toodleydoodley at 12:38 PM on March 29, 2010


A difference of opinion with toodleydoodley there: I used Hartz a few months ago on my cat and she ended up with a small (1/8th inch?) bare patch and a light scab. I asked my vet, "What could have caused this?"

"Do you use flea drops?"

"Yes."

"Don't use that brand again."

So I am decidedly anti-Hartz (for my cat) regardless of how much cheaper it is.
posted by komara at 12:43 PM on March 29, 2010


Flea Treats. I swear by them.
posted by goml at 2:18 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


Advantage has worked okay for my cat, but Revolution seems to last longer and protects against the ear mites and heart worms.

An old-fashioned bath with Dr. Bronner's helps a lot, too.
posted by lunalaguna at 4:52 PM on March 29, 2010


Revolution ate holes into our cat's backs so bad we can't put anything on them now, so watch for that. Our vet told us (after the fact) that this can happen. Now our cats look like homeless waifs from show quality Ragdolls. I bleed from my soul when I look at them. I'm trying Flea Treats right now! Thanks (I hope) gomi!
posted by Redhush at 4:38 PM on March 30, 2010


thanks for all the responses! i'm definitely going to try advantage, and i'll remember flea treats just in case my yogs has a bad reaction :)

cat lovers FTW
posted by wild like kudzu at 5:45 PM on March 30, 2010


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