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HELP Cats covered with fleas  RSS feed

 
Linnea Nelson
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Cats need your help. I need your help. My 8 year old cats are covered with fleas. I live in Westminster, CA in a Senior Independent living on the 3rd floor, took cats to vet to get rabie shots per management May 15, 2017 did not notice anything till they started acting strange and found they were covered with fleas. Used natural products, vinegar, etc for cleaning did google search for option came across diatomaceous earth. Must say I have early stage Alzheimer some days are better than others. Read websites about DE purchased some at Home Depot covered the cats and brushed it in. They seemed happy, glad, more relaxed. When I brushed them the next day on a hard floor seemed like 100's were on the floor, believed I had won the battle. Later that day they started scratching again and I found your website. Thank you
Read more I realized that I had not cleaned the carpet or other furniture and the cats were jumping from the balcony to tables to kitchen floor.
New day vacuumed, cleaned carpet with professional machine, sprinkled Diatomaceous Earth on carpet cats got another treatment of Diatomaceous Earth, later maybe some difference. Placed dish under light in living room where they spend a lot of time. Morning maybe 30 fleas! should I have be happy?
Friends in building told be I was crazy to be using Diatomaceous Earth, had to get collar to protect them, have the apartment bombed with flea stuff. I got a collar, what a mistake when I went to combed them I could see many live fleas walking around having a good time, When I used Diatomaceous Earth I never saw a flea alive only died. Last night I did the light over plate with water/soap, about 20 I found this morning. Had read something about apple cider vinegar  I took a towel soaked and washed, really wiped the cat, Rye who weighs 25 lb. Fleas all ran to his groin area and back of tail, I again applies the towel and combed it was gross he ran away and hide which is rare for this loving large cat.

BEFORE I DO ANOTHER THING TELL ME WHAT TO DO. I have no help here where I live, no family, and short on cash. One more thing, believe I read something about different types of Diatomaceous Earth and wonder if I got the wrong thing. I have Safer Brand, Diatomaceous Earth, Crawling Insect Killer.


BEFORE I DO ANOTHER THING HELP RYE AND MERCEDES, HELP ME WIN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE FLEAS

LINNEA NELSON
 
Deb Rebel
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Unless you had such a massive infestation that it would take some serious retaliation to knock them out, it seems DE will work quite well. Just a little persistence.

Years back my fiancé and his roomies adopted a stray and it brought in a houseful of catfleas. It took them about a week to get rid of them. I fortunately missed this interlude.... just heard about it from the four guys, and got to spoil the cat.
 
Denise Kersting
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To ease your mind, (the original poster) the safer DE you purchased is fine, it might not be labeled (for human consumption) but their adverts say it is from the same mine. DE doesn't work overnight, and it sounds like from your reports of the bowl/soapy water/light source that the numbers are going down. You seem to be on the right course of action, the only thing I can add is that when I am dealing with a cat that has them, I shut us both in a confined space just for a good brushing (the bathroom) and use the flea comb in addition to regular DE treatments, any live ones pulled out are immediately dropped into a bowl of soapy water (I just dry the comb before going in for another brush). As frustrating as fleas are it sounds like you are getting it under control, best wishes!
 
Darren Anderson
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First understand the lifecycle of the flea.  (I tried to share a link but... no go...)
If your gonna do this in as natural a way as possible.  You have to understand this is a long battle.
What we often do first (We are a foster for a cat rescue) Is bathe the critter in dawn dish soap. The blue unscented stuff. This will do a job on the living pests and wash some eggs a such away.
DE will work. But it isn't something that is just gonna kill everything. You have to apply and re-apply. (See the link for understanding the lifecycle of a flea)
It will be hard work, and you must be diligent.
Otherwise....
the only alternative is what the vet recommends. PLEASE IF YOU GO THE CHEM WAY! DO NOT BUY STUFF FROM YOUR PET STORE! PLEASE PLEASE! have seen too much, paid too much in vet bills and witnessed too much pain to not say anything about the substandard consumer goods at the pet store.  
 
r ranson
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There is something about having fleas in the house that can drive a person to extreme measures.  Insomnia due to itching, the thought of having parasites crawling on us, ug, just thinking about it makes my skin crawl.  I feel your pain.

Some resources I found helpful with my flea problem last summer:
Die Fleas Die!
great big thread about organic solutions to fleas
 
chip sanft
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I'd like to reiterate what Deb said: Diatomaceous earth works but it takes time. After our dog almost died from IMHA brought on by unknown causes, we stopped using all chemicals and medicines except the very bare necessities (namely, a legally required rabies vaccine, heartworm preventative at a reduced frequency, and prescriptions for the IMHA itself).

Since we used flea meds in the past, I can tell you that it takes much more patience to use DE. When fleas appear, I assume from getting on her outside or hatching from somewhere, you can see them for a day or two on our dog due to her short, light-colored fur. We catch all we can but DE does the rest, it just takes time.

One thing I would like to add about DE is the need for thorough application and frequent re-application if there are fleas present. Even on a dog, which doesn't clean its fur like a cat does, the DE is gone quickly -- after no more than a week or so, I can't see it at all.

If you're having an ongoing problem, you might need to apply the DE every couple of days until it has passed. Don't forget the places where the cat sleeps or hangs out, too. Really try to get the stuff everywhere on its body. Fleas go all over, especially places where they can hide out (e.g., around the tail, in thick patches of fur), and it can be easy to miss those spots.
 
r ranson
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Heres some snippets from a post I wrote earlier.

r ranson wrote:We had some pretty nasty fleas last year... the fleas kept biting us and I was catching and killing maybe one an hour (during the day) and getting woken up a couple of times each night.  ...

Long, long ago, when the earth was young, we had a massive flea experience when we moved into a house that used to host several dogs.  You could see the fleas jumping in the carpet.  We made the mistake of using chemical treatment and exterminator.  This was very good for about a month.  But then, the fleas were worse than ever and nothing we or the exterminator did could get rid of the infestation.  It turns out that we weren't the first ones to use poisons on the fleas, but ours was the tipping point and we had created chemical resistant super-fleas!  It was nasty! 

So this time, we didn't want to risk having an exterminator in.  Instead, I followed the advice in this article for both house and car.  After three days the fleas were greatly reduced.  By two weeks, they were gone.  I never expected flea removal to be so painless and affordable.  I wish we had known about this the first time.  ... 



For the first week, I vacuumed the bedrooms every night and the whole house every three days.  After which, I applied DE.  The first day, it was pretty useless because my vacuum wouldn't suck enough to get the fleas off the floor.  I washed the filters and it worked much better.  I'm convinced that my new vacuum (a Dyson) is one of the biggest reasons why the fleas haven't come back.  That Dyson really sucks!

Extra loads of laundry were required. 

The challenge with this method is that it takes patience and dedication.  But when the fleas were bad enough, I didn't find it difficult at all.  I think if fleas are bad enough, it can bring on a kind of temporary insanity due to insomnia and all the itching.  I take the mad necessity to get rid of fleas and channelled all that energy into cleaning and applying DE.  The only thing worse than fleas is having mice in the house.  At least fleas can't contaminate food supplies.
 
Deb Rebel
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A dyson D17-animal (has a special beater head) and a small ball shopvac (1 gallon). A friend with three setters and some allergy concerns told me about this. Use the ball vac for the rough large clumps of hair then turn that dyson loose. it is a heavy vacuum, on the order of 20#, but it can dim the lights when you turn that 11 amp motor on. Also get an extra filter right away so you can wash out one in distilled water as needed. I had years of second and third hand inherited vacuums that were old and over the hill and my spouse INSISTED 'just needs a new belt'. Honest that chunk of lint sitting on the carpet was secure, it wouldn't even get sucked up and gummed to death for a bit and spit out elsewhere.

The first time you run a vacuum like that over carpeting you will be disgusted at what you pick up. And how much. Second and third time are still disgusting.

However. If you want to remove something like dust, dustmites, dander, and stuff like flea eggs, that vacuum will do it. I will recommend that a vacuum like that is totally worth it. If you have to play with dusts and powders (like DE) and want to get that back up along with whatever you're trying to get rid of, that is the only way to do it. There are newer models, I went with this older one because of the motor rating, and the recommendation of my friend. It also has a clear dirt catch container not a bag, so you can see what you sucked up. If you accidentally get a Barbie doll shoe or an earring, you can get it out again. Downside is emptying the catcher, and be absolutely sure of the wind direction at the trash can or dumpster.

DE is very useful stuff, I originally was using it in aquarium filters. It does do a number on the bugs though. Now if I could just dust the grasshoppers...
 
r ranson
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I could buy a small flock of sheep for what I paid for my Dyson - almost did actually, had the sheep all lined up and inspected, but the morning of the day I was supposed to close the deal I had a major fight with my old vacuum. 

Hardwood floors are a big help when it comes to reducing dust and bugs, but we have a couple of area rugs in the main part of the house. 
 
Linnea Nelson
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Thank you all for posting it is getting better I think. Have not found flea comb bit using comb with very thin combs.
In this order what I am doing
vacuum
Then comb cats
Vacuum dead fleas
Put more DE down.

Is this okay? Still see about 20 or so on soapy water dis with light, guess fleas are still going through the cycles.

If i'm doing something wrong please help me and let me know.

First time using something like this and would like to reply to each, but not sure how.

Again thank you all.
 
r ranson
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Linnea Nelson wrote:Thank you all for posting it is getting better I think. Have not found flea comb bit using comb with very thin combs.
In this order what I am doing
vacuum
Then comb cats
Vacuum dead fleas
Put more DE down.

Is this okay? 


Sounds like you are on the right track.  It will probably take two or three weeks, but you'll get there.

Might be useful to change/clean the filters in your vacuum.  That helped me a lot.
 
chip sanft
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Are you putting DE on the cats themselves, too? If not, you might consider it. If you are, you might think about doing it more frequently.
 
Judith Browning
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...and either wear a dust mask or be careful to not breath in the DE.....as with any dust and fine particles it's not good to breath into your lungs.  Some don't use it on their animals for that very reason. 
 
Linnea Nelson
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Yes every time I vacuum clean filter. using small one to get into corners full size for regular carpet. Do not think sofa and beds are getting done enough and living in apartment budget limits wash. Slipcovers on furniture, bedspreads, pillows, etc put in large Tarah bags with DE and hope for the best.
Yes on cats getting DE at least once a day. I have been combing 2 times a day then doing small amounts with hand to get those hidden areas.
Getting tired of the mess but finally given up on dusting and such until this is finished up.

Thanks
 
chip sanft
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Great! This is going to work -- just keep at it... dusting can wait
 
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