My cat has fleas

Our question this week was:

My cat has fleas, what can I do about them?


Stephanie Waldman


Hi – thanks for your email. Your question brings up many more questions e.g. is your cat indoors only or indoor/outdoor, do you also have dogs, where do you live (what temperature and climate area), and how bad are the fleas?

Fleas can be complicated to deal with for a few reasons. First, their life cycle is such that they can live in your home, yard and carpet for weeks to months. And some portions of their life cycle are nearly impossible to kill. Therefore, it is necessary to repeat treatments.

Secondly, fleas not only live on your pet but also in your home. They say for every flea you see on your pet, there are 200 forms of the flea in your home (for example, living on the floor, carpet or bedding).

So to properly treat fleas, you need to deal with the ones on your cat and in your home. And you need to deal with all pets in the home. You will most likely also need to repeat treatments. If he goes outside, he will likely continuously bring new fleas into your home.

Fortunately, there are several relatively new and safe flea products on the market to help you deal with fleas. Some of the products will kill live fleas on your pet and others work to prevent flea infestations by making any fleas that jump on them essentially "sterile" therefore preventing new generations of fleas.

One important point I'd like to make – NEVER use dog flea products on your cat. The safest products are for cats only and sold through your veterinarian.

Some of my favorite products are listed in our article in Flea infestations in Cats which might be helpful to you.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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