There’s so much that is done to our cats that is accepted and mediocre—so much so that few ever challenge it, especially Western trained veterinarians. But some of these habitual protocols done so mindlessly and often have turned out to be quite harmful for our cats. One of those is the routine use of chemical flea products. Let’s look at what we see advertised today routinely.
Flea collars (whether herbal or insecticidal) don’t work!
They don’t kill fleas, and they don’t even particularly repel them, except for the area right around the collar. The grocery/pet store variety contains concentrated toxic chemicals, and the herbal ones are irritating to odor-sensitive cats. Topical (spot-on or pour-on) flea preventatives are associated with liver disease and other adverse effects in cats. Permethrin, pyrethrin, or pyrethroid-containing products intended for dogs are extremely toxic to cats and have caused many feline deaths. Putting a dog flea product on a cat causes neurological signs (twitching, disorientation, seizures) that ultimately kill about 10 percent of cats.
Healthy cats eating a balanced, properly supplemented raw meat and raw bone diet are much less susceptible to fleas and other parasites. If your cat is experiencing a flea problem, work on improving your cat’s overall health and deal with the immediate parasite situation. This is a “holistic” approach in the truest sense of the word!
The conventional thinking that fleas are the problem is like saying “flies cause garbage” just because the two are often found together. It is the unhealthy state of the animal that attracts the parasites, just like garbage attracts flies.
Fleas, those nasty little blood suckers, are tough, highly evolved parasites that, once entrenched, are not easily eliminated. Fleas are attracted to warmth, moving shadows, and the vibrations from foot (or paw) steps. When dealing with fleas, you need to protect your cat and reach fleas and larvae hiding in carpets and yards. Even exclusively indoor cats can get fleas, which travel in on peoples shoes and clothing. (Keeping your cat indoors, however, will eliminate the risk of ticks.) And removing shoes at your front door keeps fleas out and helps keep other germs out as well.
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.