February 10, 2019 12:23 PM   Subscribe

So, naturalists observe, a flea Has smaller fleas that on him prey . . . The dang cat has fleas again. Which presumably means both cats have fleas. Again.

I treated them both with Advantage II almost exactly a month ago, and gave them both baths. Hadn't found any fleas for a while. Then last night I found a couple nice fat ones while brushing miniature girl cub cat.

Re-ordered another batch of the nasty poison in the hopes that it just missed a few larvae or something, but otherwise where the hell could they be coming from? These are indoor cats, and I don't have any friends with outdoor cats or dogs. I suspected the first batch were brought in on tiny baby manx kitty when she came home from the shelter, but if this next dose fails, what else should I try? The flea stuff does say to give them two doses a month a part, so maybe I'm just catastrophizing?

Miniature girl cub cat hangs out in the basement, which tiny baby kitty considers off limits. Could there be fleas down there? I've never seen a flea down there . . .

I quarantined her from the basement for a week when I discovered the infestation just in case - can fleas live longer than I think? I haven't seen or heard any evidence of rodents, which is the only vector I could think of. I do live in a drafty old bungalow, so if the fleas come back I'm thinking I may need to put down some traps or something just in case I've got some very quiet rats.

Anyway, I would prefer the cats to not have fleas, so if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears.
posted by aspersioncast to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Seresto Collar was like a miracle for my cats. It's approved for cats 10 weeks old or older. It's not cheap, but it lasts 8 months and works out cheaper than the equivalent in flea drops. And you can often find good deals online.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:30 PM on February 10, 2019

In order to solve this problem in our house we ended up having to use a flea bomb in every room, twice, co-ordinated with flea treatments for the cat. Remember to vacuum everywhere for a few days following the flea bombs.

It's a bit annoying, but not too costly, and not as bad as getting flea bites.
posted by bangalla at 1:24 PM on February 10, 2019

I bought the six month collars that hartz makes, I got the more super because it is slightly bigger for my fat cat. No fleas, no ill effects, ~$7 each. My neighbors in the duplex got them too, no fleas, ticks or whatever else. Their cat was having an allergic reaction to the drops and losing all his hair. So now he has thick hair for the first time in years, all kitties lush, no bugs!
posted by Oyéah at 1:38 PM on February 10, 2019

It often takes 2 or 3 doses to make sure it get's the freshly hatched/pupated fleas as well. Fleas don't necessarily live that long but their eggs can hang around for a while, colder weather means longer hatching times. Fleas in the pupae stage will pretty much just hang around until vibrations, C02 or increased heat make them think something is around & they hatch. Flea drop your cats, cranking up the heat & humidity will help encourage the pupae to emerge and then the drops have a chance to kill them.

Eliminating fleas often takes several attempts until it's successful. Even with the collars mentioned above elimination will not be immediate but happen in waves as eggs/pupae hatch.
posted by wwax at 1:44 PM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

This refers to dog flea medicine but I heard long ago that buying online could be risky. I used to buy Advantage II at a pet store instead. Also, as wwax says, it may take several treatments to control an infestation. I vacuumed everything including mattresses and the wood floors in case there were eggs in the gaps and discarded the vacuum bag immediately. This happened every year that I had cats so I got a lot of practice but I still miss the old guys.
posted by Botanizer at 1:49 PM on February 10, 2019

Nthing that it may take several months and several treatments to fully rid your home of fleas. Please don't use Hartz collars; I work in a vet clinic and have seen very bad reactions to them. Seresto collars are safe and work very well. As above, please don't get them from a third-party seller. They are guaranteed by the manufacturer but only if bought through a vet clinic. Make sure that the collar is fairly tight (should be able to get 2 fingers between your cat's neck and the collar) in order to work effectively. Vacuum what you can, and empty the bag/canister outside your house because the heat/vibration of the vacuum can stimulate flea eggs to hatch.

Unfortunately I have seen many indoor cats get fleas. They can hitch a ride on your clothes/shoes etc.

Good luck!
posted by cozenedindigo at 2:31 PM on February 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

Advantage is effective for three to four weeks. It's time to apply it again.
posted by Violet Hour at 2:58 PM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Flea medication is a bit hit and miss. If your cats enjoy being combed, try a flea comb on them. We used one during the last infestation a couple of years ago, and it took a week or so of combing every day, but then they were gone.

She loves it so much and comes and sits on my lap to be combed every evening. Two years later, still no fleas, and we even stopped using flea medication entirely.
posted by lollusc at 3:23 PM on February 10, 2019

We must have done 4 cycles of, oh, whichever foul smelling thing you squoosh onto the nape of their neck, before the problem was truly eradicated. We had previously tried doing it once or twice and the fleas always came back, the fuckers. They take some killing.
posted by Smearcase at 3:38 PM on February 10, 2019

We had luck using Capstar, which are pills that kill fleas immediately, in combination with the treatments you apply to the neck.
posted by soelo at 5:05 PM on February 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I found advantage worse than useless when one of our cats got fleas from running outside for literally ten minutes (subsequently, everyone got fleas...).

The pet store recommended comfortis, I winced at the price and was very skeptical a pill would work, but by gum it worked, and it worked super fast. Most of the fleas were dead in an hour. By the end of the week all the fleas were gone.

FYI fleas can live and persist longer than you think, for sure.
posted by smoke at 5:46 PM on February 10, 2019

Thanks all! I'm going to re-dose, vacuum everything, bathe and comb. If it doesn't take this time they're getting collars and/or comfortis.
posted by aspersioncast at 11:46 AM on February 11, 2019

For future reference, the second dose + vacuuming seems to have worked. Thanks!
posted by aspersioncast at 12:52 PM on March 13, 2019

« Older Use an old iPhone as an iPod?   |   Job me. Career me. Fulfill me. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.