Consider establishing the rule that shoes must be removed when entering your home. Fleas, flea larvae, and life-threatening viruses such as feline panleukopenia (also called feline distemper) can be tracked onto your floors and carpeting. This is especially important when bringing a new kitten or cat home. Therefore removing shoes at your front door keeps fleas out and helps keep other germs out as well. This is a simple yet effective prevention method.
Adult fleas spend most of their time on the cat, where they feed on blood several times a day. Flea eggs are slippery and quickly fall off the cat and onto the cat’s resting areas, floors, rugs, bedding, and furniture. The eggs hatch and go through several intermediate stages before emerging as adults in as little as two weeks, but they may remain dormant for months. That’s why even if you get rid of the fleas on your cat, reinfestation is a common and very frustrating phenomenon.
A Three-Pronged Approach to Treating Fleas
Try this one-two-three punch to eradicate fleas from your—and your cat’s—life.
ON YOUR CAT:
Use an ultra-fine-tooth flea comb daily. Pay particular attention to the neck, tummy, and base of the tail, which are favorite flea hangouts. Have a glass or bowl full of warm, soapy water at hand to drown any fleas that turn up.
You may also need to bathe your cat, especially if a lot of fleas are present. Bathing your cat will drown a lot of fleas, but apply soap around the ears and neck first to keep the fleas from rushing up to the cat’s head and face. The herb Erigeron canadensis (Canadian fleabane), found in some herbal shampoos, will help kill fleas. Bathe no more than once a week.