My very skittish cat has fleas- how can I treat her?
October 27, 2016 12:16 PM   Subscribe

One of my cats has fleas. Unfortunately, she's also very skittish and nervous. Getting medication / Revolution on her is a hard battle. What alternatives do I have? As an added question, how can I treat my house when I can't take her away from the house (therefore ruling out flea bombs)?

I am the proud owner of a very nervy little girl who was a former feral. She's been scratching, poor girl. She's amenable to pats, but very smart and very quick, so getting Revolution on her almost always results in failure. I have another kitty who I am able to flea treat, but of course she keeps reinfecting him.

I know there are natural remedies available, but I'm doubtful about how effective they actually are.

Cost isn't an issue, so I'm happy to pay a bit more.

I'm also worried about how best to get rid of the fleas from my house. Bug bombs are out because there's no way I can catch her so that I can take her away for a few hours.
posted by anonymous to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
On catching your kitty - leave the kennel out on the floor for several days, and put treats and some of your clothes in there. This is how I manage to nab my skittish girl, although I still usually get some scratches for my trouble. I've finally given in and started shelling out for a vet that makes house calls, so that's always an option.
posted by backwards compatible at 12:25 PM on October 27, 2016

If you get a very large carrier and put a fluffy (machine washable) blanket in there, and put it on top of a table so that she can have a good view of the room while she's in there, there's a good chance she'll adopt it as a safe sleeping cave. Let that stay in place for a couple of weeks if you can before ever using it to trap and carry her.

Also, to relieve her stress, do try the pheromone solutions: Feliway diffuser and Sentry calming collar (they are different pheromones, so not redundant). This should make the whole trapping/moving thing less impossible. The calming collar will help her when she's away from home, too.

If she regards the carrier as a safe space, it will help when you have to get her back to your place.

Flea bomb is one option. Do look into getting any carpet and upholstery professionally cleaned, too.
posted by amtho at 12:31 PM on October 27, 2016

There are edible flea treatments, like Program, which you can just mix into some tasty stinky food (my cats used to down it in a bit of tuna).
posted by The otter lady at 12:46 PM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

Capstar in her food will kill the fleas that are on her. It's only effective for about 24 hrs (iirc), so you have to repeat. That, with obsessive (every nook and cranny) daily vacuuming—including disposing/emptying the bags outside—may take care of a not too awful infestation.
posted by she's not there at 1:23 PM on October 27, 2016 [5 favorites]

Program is amazing. All the fleas around here are resistent to Revolution, Capstar only works for 24 hours, but Program eliminated our fleas entirely, and the cats don't know they took it.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:49 PM on October 27, 2016 [1 favorite]

My cats had a flea infestation earlier this year. I tried quite a few treatments. The one that worked is Comfortis, an edible treatment that works for about 30 days. I got it from my vet for about $17/3 months of treatment.

It does require pilling the cat, so if you're up for that, get a pill popper. You can also try mixing it in her food. I can't do that because there are four of them, so ... yeah, that doesn't work in this household.

The treatment does, though. In the first month, three of them were pretty well clear of fleas; the fourth seems to be a flea magnet. We're in the second month, though, and the fleas are gone. Yay! We have one more month of treatment left.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 8:11 PM on October 27, 2016

The Seresto collar was a game-changer for me and my beasts. Even when I could fight the drops on to them, they just weren't working that well. After a week or so with the Seresto, all the fleas were gone and they never came back. One collar lasts for 8 months. My younger cat is super wiggly, so I took the collar with me to his vet check up, and the vet helped me put it on him.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2016 [3 favorites]

To get medication on the cat, grab her by the scruff with one hand, place her on a towel or blanket, and wrap her up like a burrito with the other hand. Hold her down with a forearm while you grab the scruff - the palm of your hand should on the top of her head so she can't turn around and bite you. Apply the medication with the other hand. This is not going to be easy or pleasant but it does work providing you don't have a huge or heavy cat. If you have a human helper, it'll be much easier.
posted by AFABulous at 7:42 AM on October 28, 2016

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