The worst flea infestation I've ever seen- HELP - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We gave our cat another flea bath tonight. Most of them are dead, but you can see engorged fleas still stuck to her chest and face. I just don't understand it. She only went outside in our backyard and this happened. Once she dries we're giving her a topical treatment. But I am worried it will not work. This is the absolute worst timing, as she is pregnant and due tommorrow. We are low income and have limited resources to take care of this problem. Are there any places that provide help? I wanted to get the Advantage treatment but it is just too expensive for us. If anyone has any good ideas, please don't hesitate to pass them on. We love our kitty and we want her to be healthy, not to mention we want the kittens to be healthy too!!! And please, don't post if you're just going to be snarky and tell me not to let my cat outside or to get her fixed. I need supportive advice, not a lecture. TIA
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#2 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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I wish I could help but I am just watching to see what responses you get because we are dealing with our first flea investation ever in 20 years of having cats. And my cats are indoor cats so I don't know what the deal is. : I posted a couple days ago in a different forum to see if anyone had any natural ideas but noone has responded.

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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#3 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:37 PM
 
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can you sell something on craigslist? does you vet let you buy single doses of advantage or frontline? mine will. maybe you could bum some off of a friend?
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#4 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:46 PM
 
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Hey Poot. Is your house infested, or just mama cat? If it were me, I would bring out the big guns. There's several natural things you can do to get rid of fleas, but most of them are for management/prevention or just a small flea problem. Since she's due so soon, I would bathe her again with flea shampoo, and use a flea comb to get the dead ones out of her fur. Wash everything that's washable, and put it somewhere else in the meantime. Close your cabinets and put everything away that is on your counters. And bomb the house. Go out for the day. When you get home, put a fresh bag in your vacuum (or empty out your canister) and vacuum really, really thoroughly. Upholstery and mattresses too. Empty out the canister/throw out the bag immediately. In a couple of days, the eggs that were missed the first time will start to hatch. Bathe mama cat again and comb her with the flea comb. Now I would use diatomaceous earth OR Borax overnight and vacuum in the morning. You can also dust mama cat with baking soda. Put a flea collar inside your vacuum and empty it every time you vacuum (preferably a couple of times a day).

I would dust the yard with DE in shady areas and in areas where there is longer grass. You may be bringing them in on your clothes, and your cat can get reinfested even if she never goes out. There's recipes for homemade flea collars using essential oils, but they aren't recommended for cats. But you can try feeding 1/2 a clove of garlic or a 1/2 teaspoon of yeast everyday.

You can try scattering pieces of wet newspaper on your floor overnight, put a few drops of cedar oil on them. The fleas will be attracted to it, and you can gather the papers, fleas and all, and throw it away in a garbage bag.

If you decide to use diatomaceous earth, be sure to get "FOOD GRADE" and not the stuff that's used in pool filters. Pool filter DE is high in silica dust, and is dangerous to breathe.

You can make a sachet of dried chamomile for her sleeping area.

Misti, mom to DS (12), DS (9), DD (3), and Mr. Man (October '10)!

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#5 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:50 PM
 
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oh yes....what are you feeding her? Some people have had success when they improve their pets' general overall health, the fleas don't seem to be attracted to them as much. For instance, I used to feed Canidae to my dogs, I recently switched them to EVO....and I haven't had fleas for as long as I can remember. This is due in part, I'm sure, to our climate, but good nutrition doesn't hurt.

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#6 of 31 Old 06-20-2007, 11:58 PM
 
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The cheapest thing is to just comb. I would dip/scrape off the fleas on the comb into soap dish water to kill them.

I use to have 3 indoor cats and every summer they would get fleas. I only used the topical stuff (the good stuff from the vet Frontline or Advantage) just once in the beginning of the season. Since I had 3 cats it might have made it easier to buy, but I didn't need an appointment or anything, just walk in a buy it.

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#7 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 12:05 AM
 
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Ebay has frontline and advantage for MUCH cheaper ($6-7/dose). But you generally have to buy at least 3 doses.
If it's just the mama and the fleas aren't bad in the house yet, one of these treatments would probably do the trick. Good luck!

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#8 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 01:02 AM
 
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There have been some great ideas here. My grandmother truly believes in Borax and it is cheap and easy to purchase.

One word of caution. No matter what you do ~ please do not use the cheap topical flea treatment you can buy at pet stores. Please only use a reputable topical flea treatment if you are going to use one. Hartz and several others have very dangerous chemcials ~ so just be sure whatever you get is approved for cats and is from the vet (or at least a brand that is sold in vets that you obtain elsewhere).

Good luck!

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#9 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 09:27 AM
 
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I second the recommendation of a flea comb. Comb her, and have a bowl of soapy water nearby (really near - the fleas can jump off the comb in seconds). Then I either imerse the comb in the water or sort of flick the fleas into the water.

Having the water be soapy is important because it makes the surface tension of the water less. I've seen fleas that were able to jump off water using the water's surface tension.

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#10 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone! Unfortunately I'm still about the fleas in the house. Last night we gave Trixie a VERY thorough flea bath, and allowed her to dry upstairs in the house because there are still fleas in the basement. This morning there are some more fleas, so I'm going to vacuum the whole house again. They bit the hell out of the baby. I would love to bomb this house but we have a 22 month old and a 10 month old, where on earth would we go? My toddler can't sleep anywhere but home. The good news is that the cat is looking much better and does not appear to have fleas on her anymore, but that won't last unless we get the situation under control in this house. I called the vet this morning. I had initially been afraid to because normally they are so expensive, but they do sell Advantage treatments by the month, so I'm going to have DH pick it up on his way home from work. For now we are going to use a liquid pesticide in the basement for the fleas. The kids are never down there so I'm not worried about it. I'm still just in shock about this. Even when I had a cat who was mainly an outdoor cat, she never got fleas like this. They must be bad this year.
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#11 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by mesa View Post
oh yes....what are you feeding her? Some people have had success when they improve their pets' general overall health, the fleas don't seem to be attracted to them as much. For instance, I used to feed Canidae to my dogs, I recently switched them to EVO....and I haven't had fleas for as long as I can remember. This is due in part, I'm sure, to our climate, but good nutrition doesn't hurt.
We've been feeding her Purina One kitten chow because she's pregnant, and sometimes I'll give her a can of tuna fish.
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#12 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 01:11 PM
 
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Don't know what area of the country you live in but they can be worse at different times of the year and based upon different weather things (rainy and wet and warm). Sprinkle the borax on your carpet and let it sit 15 or 20 mins before you vacuum if you can ~ that will help.

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#13 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 01:36 PM
 
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OK this happened to us last year (in Georgia) and our basement was a nightmare. Fleas EVERYWHERE and by the millions. We have two cats and two dogs. I sprinkled 20 Mule Team Borax on EVERYTHING (rugs, all over the basement and the dirty clothes down there, on the furniture - no surface was left untouched by borax. All the animals were bathed in Lemon Joy (yes, Lemon Joy). I left the Borax all day and we stayed away as long as we could. This worked for us. In fact, its the only thing that did. There is something about Lemon Joy that really kills fleas. Good luck.
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#14 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just vacuumed with Borax again. I've been doing that for three days : There is one thing helping us ( I think ) and that is that we only have a big area rug for the living room and DS1's room, all the rest is hardwood floors. I can't imagine they'd live long on a wood floor. Either way I've been mopping too. All this scrubbing is exhausting...Since we just gave her a flea bath, the vet said to wait three days to apply the Advantage. She's due with her kittens like uh, any second now. But they said that was fine as well, they even called the company for me to make sure. Damned fleas
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#15 of 31 Old 06-21-2007, 01:46 PM
 
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I just vacuumed with Borax again. I've been doing that for three days : There is one thing helping us ( I think ) and that is that we only have a big area rug for the living room and DS1's room, all the rest is hardwood floors. I can't imagine they'd live long on a wood floor. Either way I've been mopping too. All this scrubbing is exhausting...Since we just gave her a flea bath, the vet said to wait three days to apply the Advantage. She's due with her kittens like uh, any second now. But they said that was fine as well, they even called the company for me to make sure. Damned fleas
fleas live just fine in hardwoods unfortunately.
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#16 of 31 Old 06-22-2007, 04:40 PM
 
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We seem to be winning our battle with fleas. I bathed the cats with Peppermint Dr. Bronner's twice, and then treated them with Sergenant's Nature's Guardian which is an essential oil based treatment (doesn't say no pregnant cats, does say not kittens under 12 weeks). Lot's of cleaning. Things seem to be getting better - my baby isn't getting bit constantly. The Nature's Guardian did seem to dry the cats skin a bit and cause them to shed - they needed to shed though, they don't like to be brushed much.
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#17 of 31 Old 06-23-2007, 12:22 PM
 
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Hey Mama Poot We are dealing with a big flea problem too...and it is in our basement...and it is from my cats going outside to our backyard for less than 30 min. and just two or three times too. So, I just wanted to chime in and say that I know exactly what you are going through. Our budget is screaming tight too, so we could only get the Advantage for one of our kitties. But after reading all of these posts here I am going to go call my vet and see if I can get a single does for our little boy kitty. Great info ladies! TY!

We have not allowed our cats to go down there for at least 4 weeks now and the fleas still mob our legs when we venture down there...but then again I only vacuumed twice and sprinkled dust once...yeah, I am lazy lol.

The only thing that I wanted to add to the already great suggestions here (I am going to go wash my boy kitty with lemon joy after I post this and vacuum and etc.etc...) is to dump you litter box weekly. Flea eggs need about 2 weeks to hatch so by dumping the cat box once a week you are sure to get them out of your house before they hatch. And vacuum the hard wood floor. There are lots of little cracks and crevices that the fleas and their eggs and larvae can hide in. Eeeyuck! nothing creeps me out as bad as flea larvae ooh and mice

P.S. this flea infestation is soo not right for this time of year. Usually we get hit hard in the fall, not spring/early summer.

P.S.S. Fleas have this radar system to home in on females (hormone sensory). When given a choice, fleas will hop on to a female over a male. The reason being that sooner or later the female will have babies which will inturn feed more fleas.

Hope the kittens are all happy and healthy! Uhh! I am soo jealous. kittens are such fun! How many do you think she will have?
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#18 of 31 Old 06-23-2007, 12:36 PM
 
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i wish I had answers. my poor border collie mix has his second since we've had him flea problem, and he just got his regularly scheduled dose of revolution last saturday! I'm pulling my hair out, especially since my vet -who is a close friend- has always been a big advantage proponent has decided Revolution is MUCH better, especially since it treats/prevents worms as well as fleas & tics...
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#19 of 31 Old 06-25-2007, 04:53 AM
 
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We wasted a lot of money on natural treatments for fleas. It's actually cheaper in the long run to buy some flea treatment from a feed store or pet store. Don't buy anything off the shelf. Buy something like frontline etc.

We use the one on our cat which kills the whole cycle. We have found we can use it only a few times a year on each pet. Our dog is allergic to fleas so we have to keep a good eye on them. I think this last year we only did 3 or 4 treatments total on the two pets. I think we treated the dog 3 times and the cat once.

If you can kill the ones on the mom the kittens should be clear. Otherwise you are going to end up having to treat every single one of them.

Bombing treatments are terribly toxic. It's so much healthier for everyone to do a flea treatment.

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#20 of 31 Old 06-25-2007, 09:12 PM
 
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We had a sudden bad flea experience once--no explanation, just out of the blue. We treated all the animals with advantage and did a thorough cleaning and it was 99% better in a few days.

There is a pill the vet can give you for the cat, which will kill all the flea's on her within an hour. However I don't know if that is safe for pregnant cats. She can still be re-infested, so you'd want to follow up the pill with a dose of Advantage or Frontline, and clean thoroughly once more.

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#21 of 31 Old 06-25-2007, 10:21 PM
 
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We had the worst infestation ever and were getting estimates from exterminators. Then we used Advantage and it worked within a day.

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#22 of 31 Old 06-26-2007, 04:11 AM
 
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Hi,

This is my first post, so please excuse me if I'm butting in. I joined mothering.com because we are staying with my parents for the summer, and their cat brought in fleas. I was looking for advice, and all the suggestions I found elsewhere online were so toxic. My mom has been using Advantage, but... apparently it wasn't that effective. She thinks maybe she didn't apply it right, and has noticed that it seems to run out a few days before she is supposed to reapply it. We really didn't want to bomb the house. Poison everywhere, yuck.

Anyway, I was going to ask on these forums for advice, but then I saw the post from 2bluefish about fleas (from a couple of weeks ago?) and started to vacuum. We vacuumed once a day, changed the sheets daily for a while, and put all the blankets in the dryer. We didn't actually see any fleas on the cat (black and long haired) but we were being eaten alive, especially at night. My son had 30 bites on his shoulders and back, and my daughter may have scars from where she kept scratching the ones on her leg. I also had tons of bites and even my husband, who never gets bitten, got some. Anyway, I am posting now to thank everyone for their good advice, since we are now mostly flea free, and to add just a few notes.

1) Don't feel like you have to be perfect. The fleas seem to have gone away for us, even though we really did a lot of things wrong. We didn't empty the vacuum bag or put a flea collar in it (although it does have a good filter), we didn't vacuum every single day, and we would do silly things like change the sheets and put the blankets in the dryer, but then use last night's PJ's, off the floor! We didn't vacuum the furniture in the living room. We didn't comb the cat. We didn't sprinkle the borax. Maybe they'll be back, but for now, I'm very grateful that it didn't take perfection to get rid of them.
2) I was reading an epinions thread about fleas, among their suggestions there was one interesting tip, and that was to leave a cake pan or other dish with water and dish soap in it under a light or under a nightlight, and leave it all night. The fleas are apparently attracted by the light and jump right in. This is for rooms that are the worst affected. (But be sure to clean it up first thing in the morning before the kids get it!) I wonder if this might be a good idea for your basement, Mama Poot. The price is right, anyway.
3) My dad hasn't been affected at all, and he is very allergic to fleas. He sleeps with a white noise machine in his room, and I wonder if that makes a difference? Putting a radio on static in the baby's room would be something to try.

I'm so glad to chat with others who are in the same itchy boat. Thanks!
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#23 of 31 Old 06-27-2007, 02:50 PM
 
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For treating the cats, if you are trying to go natural, essential oils are the best way to go. I found Young Living Peppermint Oil applied neat around the neck gets rid of the fleas quickly. Better than that product I mentioned previously and without the skin reaction they got to that product. One application seemed to do the trick. I've seen research that said to avoid melalucca/tea tree with cats, but that's the only one. Use with caution of course.
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#24 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 03:15 AM
 
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Peppermint oil sounds intriguing. Someone said don't do essential oils with cats, but now that you said it is only tea tree that is bad for them, I am interested. Do you apply the peppermint oil all the way around the neck? I guess it is where they can't lick it. Would this be instead of Advantage? At the first sight of fleas?

Curious-
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#25 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 03:32 AM
 
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make sure you also treat her for worms. fleas & tapeworms have a mutual parasitic relationship, so if she eats a flea she will in turn get tapeworms, which will then pass to the babies. you can get over-the-counter tapeworm pills from any pet or feed store, usually about $12 for 3 pills. you give them dosages based on weight - our 11-pound cats each needed 1.5 pills of the kind we got.
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#26 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 02:33 PM
 
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Do you apply the peppermint oil all the way around the neck? I guess it is where they can't lick it. Would this be instead of Advantage? At the first sight of fleas?

Curious-
Mine had quite a bad infestation of fleas. I put it all the way around the neck - 4 or 5 drops massaged in. It is therapeutic grade oil - if I didn't have therapeutic grade I would dilute it with veggetable or massage oil. I haven't used Advantage myself or any products other than an essential oil based product I found in wal-mart. I found my own oils worked better than the product from wal-mart.

The only definative information about cats and EOs that I have found says not tea tree. There are a lot of people who claim they aren't safe - but there are also alot of people who say you shouldn't use them undiluted or ingest them. I use Young Living oils. I've used them for years. I feel great about them - I use them undiluted and I ingest them on occasion. My cats have been exposed to them in our house since they were kittens. (We haven't diffused oils in awhile, and that's probably why we have fleas.) You just have to follow your intuition I think. But being pregnant and having my babies wallowing the cats, I'm really uncomfortable using poisons in my house.

Anyway, when I started applying the peppermint, I literally saw fleas jumping off the cat to get away! 2 days later, I can't find a single flea on the cats.

My shag carpet in the living room has been a bit of a problem. I put 20 drops lavender oil in a cup of backing soda last night and let it sit in a sealed container. I'm going to try sprinkling it on the carpet and letting it sit before vaccuming it. I read in my Essenail Oils Desk Reference that that would take care of fleas.

Good luck!
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#27 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 02:42 PM
 
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I would just say, remember to empty your vacuum bag when you are finished vacuuming! Those succors will wriggle out!

Second, you might have to bite the bullet! I just ordered a special deal from Dr. Foster & Smith website of biospot flea treatment. A 9 month supply for $35! Wohoo! And don't feel bad aobut the cats getting out - mine have gotten them through the window & door screens! Ugh!

So, there is a special code for the deal. Lets see...

Oh, Item #ABS-30283. It is enough to do one cat for 9 mos (i'm sure you can keep it until next summer!) or in my case, 3 cats for 3 mos each! By that time, the fleas will die for the winter.

The website is: www.drsfostersmith.com

Good luck!
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#28 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 05:27 PM
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I hear you on the dreaded fleas. I've given Daisy a bath, flea combed her, changed her food, and have put natural flea spray on her, but we still have some that come out of hiding.

One thing I have found that helps break the flea life cycle is a oral liquid called Program. This flea medicine used to be very popular before Advantage and Frontline came out. All you do is squeeze the contents of the packet onto some tasty wet food and then have the cat eat the food. It makes it to where any flea eggs layed by the female flea will never develop. Plus, one treatment lasts 1 month and you get enough treatments in a box to last 6 months.
It is a little pricey ($36.00 for 6 month supply), but is well worth the price. Also, Capstar, another oral flea medicine, kills fleas within a couple of hours and both are safe for pregnant cats. Thye Capstar is cheaper, but you only get 6 tablets in a box and its recommended that you give a cat a pill every other day until you don't see any more fleas on the cat.

BTW: don't bother going to a vet to get Program or Capstar. Most vets don't sell it anymore, because more people are buying Frontline or Advantage. Its also cheaper to get it through a mail-order pet catalog.

You can find both of these flea treatments on these websites:
www.jefferspet.com
www.upco.com
www.drfostersmith.com

Jessie
(single mommy to Emma, 3 years and Angela, 2 years)
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#29 of 31 Old 06-28-2007, 05:37 PM
 
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i don't have time to read all responses. but, we have had fleas before even when we didn't have a pet. they can hitchhike on humans and get in your home. i am sure you know already you have to treat your environment or she will get them back. it sounds like they are in your yard for sure and ideally your yard should be treated or they will just hitchike on you back into the house even if you don't let your cat out at all she could be reinfested easily. a flea egg can stay dormant for up to a year i have read. what did work for us is to vaccum whole house thoroughly then sprinkle borax on the carpet and leave it for as long as you can, at least a few days to a week and then reapply more borax. use a broom to brush it in. you will also have to vaccum everything like couches, bedding, sheets, remember under beds and under furniture and in closets since cats usually go to those places and soft furniture and then seal the vaccum bag in a plastic bag and throw it away. far from your house. that is the only sort of natural remedy i know of. borax is found in the laundry isle. i think the topical will work on your cat but i have heard some brands don't work well. i wish you the best and hope your problem is over soon.

oh, i did read the one about peppermint oil. great idea but still remember the environment or they will just feed off you instead.
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#30 of 31 Old 08-03-2007, 12:30 PM
 
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BUMPing this for all the good advice...MamaPoot~how'd you make out?

We just got a 8week? old cat that has major fleas, and I don't want our other cat or dog to get them. Poor baby is quarantined to a bedroom. Last night I bathed her with Dawn dish soap....(safe for wildlife, the one they use on the oil spill ducks) and it slowed them down so I could pick them off and throw in a soapy cup of HOT water. But, when we went back upstairs there were two fleas jumping around in the sink. ACK, they didn't drown or go down the drain!

I really really have NO money to spend on this. And I don't want to use a chemical treatment.
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