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SweetPea78's avatar

Help! I need to de-flea my house and cat!

Asked by SweetPea78 (13points) May 10th, 2011

So the other day, my indoor cat was accidentally left outside, and also today he got out again and now my house and him are full of fleas. I’ve decided to keep him outside for the moment since I am trying to sell my house and do not want more fleas coming in.
However, he is an indoor cat and I would like to have him back in the house as soon as possible. Are there any ways, without flea-bombing my house, to get rid of the fleas that are already in my home and on my cat?

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18 Answers

Coloma's avatar

Take your cat to the groomers for a flea bath, treatment, or to your vet for some advantage flea prevention medication. Then bomb your house, wash all animal bedding and vacuum thoroughly before you bring your cat home.

That ought to do it, but, I strongly suggest some flea preventive especially during the summers months.

I have no fleas issues in my area but use it for the spring and fall tick seasons.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Flea bath for the cat. If he isn’t used to being bathed, it might be worth taking him to the vet for the treatment. Once that is done a cat safe flea collar should be applied to the cat.

There are powders that you can sprinkle onto your carpet and vacuum up. You will have to do it every day for at least a week. You will have to wash your bedding and stored clothes.

Bombing your house is the best option.

Hibernate's avatar

If you have fleas in the house you need to get rid of them or else they will start making little fleas really fast.

syz's avatar

With the new(ish) flea products available, the days of bathing, dipping, and bombing are over. Call your vet, pick up whatever their current most effective product is (I like Advantage). The fleas will be gone in no time. (If you have any other pets, make sure that you treat them all.)

Do not purchase over the counter products (such as Hartz top spot) – they are toxic!!

SuperMouse's avatar

@syz will treating the cat take care of the fleas in the home as well? I don’t even have any pets I am just curious from living in cat filled and flea infested houses most of the time I was growing up.

marinelife's avatar

Flea bomb the house with something that you get from the vet. Then give your cat a flea bath and leave him indoors.

Buttonstc's avatar

I understand your wanting to avoid the bombing as I’m very allergic to that stuff.

I had great success with Frontline. I concur with everyone who says to avoid the OTC stuff (including flea collars-useless) It doesn’t work that well and has sickened or killed pets.

This is no time to cheap out. Go to the Vet and get either Frontline or Advantage, whichever your Vet carries.

These newer medicines kill fleas at EVERY stage of their life cycle. Within 24–48 hrs. every adult flea on your cat will be dead.

You then apply it once a month for three months. Don’t skip any and don’t fudge on the time interval. Fleas from the eggs and other life cycles will still continue to hatch out. That’s why it needs to be consistent.

I was a live-in caretaker for an elderly couple with one cat. My cats were totally indoor and flea free when I moved in. About a year later all pets began showing signs of fleas. The heaviest infestation was their cat who was LOADED. When the Vet ran a comb through her fur, there was flea dirt all over the exam table paper.

In addition to the Frontline, the vet naturally suggested bombing as well but I knew I wouldn’t survive it. That stuff gets into EVERYTHING and on every surface. So she suggested thorough cleaning and discarding the vac bag immediately out of the house EACH TIME for the next 3 months.

We Frontlined all of them. And then did a thorough vaccuuming of the entire house and discarded that bag completely. All the bedding was washed in hot water.

After that, any fleas which continued to hatch out would hop onto one of the cats and die within a day because the medication continues to reside in the sebaceous glands and poisons any future fleas.

I also called Frontline and they gave me the full detailed explanation and said it would kill all fleas completely in 3 months.

Three months later house and pets were totally flea free with no need for bombing or any other toxic applications.

The other thing I did with my own cats was frequent fine tooth combing them every few days. It was interesting to see that as the medication for each month began to weaken toward the end of the month I could find increasingly more fleas (but they were still greatly weakened and slowed down and quite small since they were hatchlings)

So, this is why it is imperative that you don’t go longer than a month between doses. I could see the gradual buildup of more little fleas each combing after three weeks.

This stuff really works. The old days of baths, powders and collars are over. But evidently they still sell that stuff for the clueless people trying to do it on the cheap. Go to the Vet and get the stuff that works. It is SO WORTH IT.

And if your cat continues to get out, you should probably consider doing this once a month until winter sets in (fleas can’t survive winter temps)

It costs more than the crap OTC stuff but you definitely won’t regret it.

Buttonstc's avatar


I’ll give you the same answer that Syz most likely will. In the days when you and I were growing up, the best that could be done with the pesticides available back then was try to keep the population of adult fleas down as much as possible.

But nowadays, they have a much better understanding of the flea life cycles and the current prescription flea meds (as opposed to OTC stuff) attack all life cycles.

So even if some fleas hatch out from the eggs and dormant stages, they will need to feed once hatched. As soon as they hop onto the TREATED pet, they will come into contact with the pesticide and die shortly thereafter. It’s not even necessary for them to bite the pet in order to be affected. It begins to weaken them just from contact. I personally combed out many a groggy half dead flea from my cats towards the end of each month. Even if had not combed them, I have no doubt they would have died shortly afterwards. But there was just something so satisfying about getting them ASAP and seeing with my own eyes :)

Obviously a thorough vac of the whole house helps enormously as long as the bags are discarded immediately. Otherwise the bags just provide a nice little incubation chamber :)

They have some pretty cool diagrams on the Frontline site. And I can state from personal experience that it works. It is entirely possible to have a flea-free home in this day and age.

They even have products containing nematodes for treating one’s yard as well. They love dining on the dormant stages of fleas. Nom nom nom.

Ain’t Science wonderful ?

yankeetooter's avatar

If you purchase one of the flea products where you treat your cat once a month, this will get rid of any eggs in the house besides the ones already on the cat and in the house…and trust me, they are already in there…

I used to have cats and I swear by this stuff…I used it and we never saw a flea again…

Frontline is good…I think it was mentioned above…

tedibear's avatar

Is there a treatment like this for people while waiting for the flea population to die off? Many years ago I had 2 cats who were full of fleas, which meant the carpets were full of fleas. I was bitten from just above my knees down to my feet. Strangely, the fleas didn’t bite my ex at all. I didn’t get sick but dang, I was itchy! It’s unlikely to happen again, but just in case, is there anything I could do? Short of spraying my clothes with permethrin, (sp?) that is.

yankeetooter's avatar

Frontline works fairly quickly…within a day or two I would say (as far as kiling live fleas). You will notice a difference really quickly…

And I have a friend who never gets bitten by mosquitos…it’s not fair, lol!

Buttonstc's avatar

They do have a powder which you can sprinkle into the carpets but it smell awful and is really toxic.

But that’s from 20 years ago before the modern treatments were developed so I imagine it’s probably still around.

But I don’t think that populations of adult fleas reach nearly the numbers they used to.

Most people begin noticing the fleas on their pet before reaching overwhelming numbers. If the cat belonging to the elderly couple had been my own cat or not so hostile to others, I would have spotted the problem long before it got to the point it did.

But if you move into an infested house and you can tolerate it, I guess bombing would do the job of offing the adult fleas.

SuperMouse's avatar

@Buttonstc what I would have given for this science when I was a little girl being bitten up by fleas! Lurve for a great and thorough answer!

creative1's avatar

My stepfather is an exterminator what you want to do is vacuum a few times a day with a hepafilter bag, keep doing this until the frontline kills all the fleas, the vacuum will vacuum up all the eggs and fleas in the house. Vacuum is your best thing for getting rid of fleas in a house its better than any bomb you can buy, the more vacuuming you do the more you are getting them. Change the bag frequently so you can get rid of the one you catch!

MissAusten's avatar

When my husband and I were first married, we lived with his parents for a while. We had a dog, and his parents had a couple of cats. The house became so infested with fleas, it was insane. My husband and I were watching TV one night and he felt something on his leg. We both looked, and he had several fleas all over his lower leg. It was disgusting.

However, we managed to get rid of all the fleas pretty quickly. We treated all of the animals with either Frontline or Advantage (can’t remember which) and also bought a spray from the vet to use around the house. The spray was much less invasive than a flea bomb and quite a bit safer. It came in aerosol cans and we sprayed it under furniture and around carpets. Besides killing adult fleas and eggs, it worked to kill any new fleas for several months. We didn’t have to leave the house when using it and it was safe for the animals. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what it was called. I’m sure if you go to the vet for a flea treatment for your cat, he or she can tell you a good product.

You need to get rid of the fleas and let your cat back inside. If she’s outside, she’s going to just keep picking up fleas and bringing them back to the house. Treating your cat and your house at the same time will not only solve the problem but prevent it from coming back. Good luck!

amykloster's avatar

It can be tough. First you need to choose the right flea medication for your pet. You need to figure out what works best for your cat. Here is an article on controlling fleas and another one on choosing the right flea medication. You must eradicate fleas from the ENTIRE environment for anything to work.

michelle83's avatar

Please can some one help us, we have treated our cat and home for flea’s.

1. Should I lef the cat back in the house as I have been keeping him in the kitchen and letting him outside.

2. Im still finding finding flea dirt on my cat but I’ve not seen any live flea’s on him just around the home

Buttonstc's avatar

I think the answer depends upon WHAT you treated the cat with. If it’s one of the modern meds with Fipronil as an ingredient (FRONTLINE is one of the most popular) then you can certainly let the cat in any area of the house since any fleas hatching out from dormant stages will jump onto him and die soon after because the flea med still on the cat will poison them.

If you just used some OTC crap like Hartz or such, then all bets are off and you still have a flea problem.

Get Frontline enough for 3 months and use it faithfully every 30 days. Vacuum regularly and throw out the bag immediately. If you do this, you will be rid of all fleas in your home.

But if you have a normally indoor cat who also goes outside then you need to use Frontline faithfully every 30 days until first frost which will kill all outdoor fleas.. But come spring, you need to start the Frontline again every 30 days.

It’s a whole lot easier and cheaper to switch him to being an indoor only cat and he will live longer too. If he doesn’t go outside to pick up new fleas, all the ones in the home were killed by the initial 3 Month treatment and your flea problem is over and done with.

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