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Franny Syufy

Get Rid of Cat Fleas

By April 16, 2014

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Have your cats become the local fast food hangout for families of fleas? Fleas are not only annoying, but they are nasty little critters that carry any number of "hitch-hikers" such as tapeworms and the Haemobartonellosis microorganism. I'm sure you'll agree with the importance of stopping flea infestations before they occur, for your cats' comfort and your own peace of mind.

With warmer weather, our cats are scratching more lately. But worse, a couple of them have ear mites, which are really bothering them. Although I can't find any evidence of fleas on them, it's past due time to treat them with the Frontline we have on hand.
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I do not personally recommend any flea powders nor flea collars for cats, and definitely not for young kittens. Nor should any flea control product labeled for dogs ever be used on cats of any age. In 2001, hundreds of cat owners lost their cats after using certain flea products containing either permethrin or methoprene. After hearing hundreds of specific consumer complaints, the EPA investigated the Hartz Mountain Corporation, manufacturer of a variety of pet products, including flea control products. Those unnecessary deaths underscored the necessity of reading and understanding labels, not only on food products, but also on flea and tick control products.


April 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm
(1) Kate says:

We stopped using a flea collar years ago after it caused a very nasty rash on our cats neck. She also lost fur it was really nasty. Now we only use the monthly flea treatment prescribed by our vets and fleas haven’t been a problem since.

April 25, 2008 at 4:24 pm
(2) Cat Lover says:

Advantage for Dogs can be used on cats but the dosage must be adjusted. It saves rescuers a lot of money because one tube for the largest dogs can be used on many cats. This cannot be done with Frontline, Revolution, Advantix, etc so people must be careful. My vet taught me this.

April 25, 2008 at 6:02 pm
(3) Franny Syufy says:

Cat Lover: I’m aware that some rescue people and breeders practice this kind of off-label use. If your vet taught you how and approves it, that’s fine for you.

What I’d like to avoid though, is uneducated people just grabbing a package of any dog flea product and haphazardly guesstimating the amount they can safely use on their cats. It offers a potential for tragedy.

You should realize, of course, that your vet is jeopardizing his license for handing out that kind of off-label advice.

April 26, 2008 at 2:13 pm
(4) Janet DVM - Vetmedicine Guide says:

I concur with Franny 100%. Products intended for a particular species, especially cats (they metabolize things so differently than dogs and humans), should be used on the species they are labeled for. To do otherwise, is just asking for trouble, IMO.

If your veterinarian recommended off-label usage, that is between you and your veterinarian (client-patient relationship), and should come with warnings of potential adverse effects.

Cat lovers: unless prescribed/recommended by your veterinarian, please contact your vet before giving any medications to your cat. It could mean the difference between life and death.

April 28, 2008 at 7:59 am
(5) E. says:

My cat Kevin had a severe flea problem since moving to the new compound in the woods where there was a significant flea problem. Since we were too far away from the nearest town to seek medical help, we had to take matters in our own hands and shave Kevin’s fur off to rid him of fleas. I realize some people may find this extreme, but there really was no other choice and the kids and I were not willing to put Kevin down. Kevin got used to it eventually and his fur grew back without the fleas I’m happy to say.

April 29, 2008 at 7:07 am
(6) Chris says:

Shaving your cat???? What?

April 29, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(7) Caroline Neiderscheiss says:

I find it shocking that you would shave a harmless cat! Kevin should have been given away to someone who wouldn’t live on a “compound” and jeopardize the cat’s saftey and well being.

March 15, 2012 at 6:23 am
(8) Ann says:

Pets owners have to be very careful in selecting a de-flea product for their dogs and cats. As mentioned by Franny, certain ingredients are toxic to cats and dogs and its the responsibility of pet owners to do their due diligence in checking on this before apply any products on their beloved pets.

Also, many pet owners simply apply the de-flea product onto their pets and failed to look out for any adverse effects thereafter. It’s really important that you pay particular attention to your pets after giving them any new medications so that no time would be wasted in treating them should any adverse effects be seen to have taken place.

March 15, 2012 at 7:52 pm
(9) Franny Syufy says:

Good advice, Ann! Thanks.

April 7, 2013 at 7:06 am
(10) oneandahalfcats says:

When we discovered that our newest member, Thomas, came bearing a gift when we took him in (Fleas), we promptly dosed all of our cats with an appropriate amount of Advantage Flea treatment, washed and completely vacuumed our whole house, washed all bedding including that which the cats slept on, and while the cats were outside, we also used a special flea spray from our vets and sprayed this on carpets, couches and floors in every room. The rationale here is that while you can eliminate fleas from your animals, those same fleas have probably deposited 100s of eggs in carpets, cracks in floors,.etc., and those eggs can survive for some time and hatch later on, creating a new cycle of fleas. The eggs are white and the size of a grain of salt, so if you suspect your cats have fleas and see a lot of tiny white specs around your house, best to get out the vacuum!

We have checked all cats regularly since that time and thankfully all cats appear to be flea-free.

April 7, 2013 at 7:12 am
(11) oneandahalfcats says:

Good advice Ann re. adverse effects of some drugs on cats. Again, with Thomas, we had him neutered as soon as it was safe to do so, and while the operation was a success, Thomas unfortunately had a very bad reaction to the anesthetic (combination of Ketamine and something else). He has since fully recovered, but this is an example of how one cat can do fine with a drug, but another won’t and could possibly die as the result. Needless to say, an alert has been put on Thomas’ chart at the vets with the instruction to not use Ketamine.

April 17, 2014 at 10:01 pm
(12) Psibermage says:

When you vacuum for fleas, <i><b>always, always & always</i></b> throw out the bag immediately afterwards. And play it safe by removing the bag outside and clean the compartment. Surviving fleas and untreated eggs will eventually hatch (probably sooner than later). They can migrate out of the bag and vacuum, only to re-infest your home.

April 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm
(13) Franny Syufy says:

Good advice,Psibermage!

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