It is not that easy to get rid of fleas, you have to be aggressive and treat the pet and premises at the same time. The trick is to catch the fleas early when you first find out you have them on your pet. The longer you delay in treatment, the more infested your house will become.
Cat should be bathed every 3 days in Dawn detergent because a continual hatching will occur if house is not aggressively treated along with the cat, and your yard. Dawn kills fleas, comb them out into the bathwater as you are bathing cat. Flea collars are a waste of money. They just do not work no matter how much you pay for them.
Cats should be combed with a tiny flea comb every other day. All the live fleas and black specks (eggs) you comb out (or hand pick off of your cat) should immediately be put into a pill bottle filled with alcohol to kill the fleas. (I sit and watch TV, combing my cats, handpicking fleas. If you stop after a day or two, the fleas will come back. You have to do this continually until the fleas are really gone.)
House should be bombed or sprayed (all animals removed for at least a day, house aired out thoroughly before bringing them back in). The vet sells a good spray for about $15.00 which will treat 4 rooms. Use sparingly, and remove all pets, birds, birdcages, food dishes. Air out room thoroughly before bringing pets back in.
Fleas can spread to cats, dogs, ferrets, rabbits, your bedding. Eggs can hatch anywhere, jump onto your pet, pet will be miserable, scratch, cats commonly get scabs (allergies) from flea bites. The only thing that works in getting rid of the scabs is to totally get rid of the fleas. Dogs/cats can start losing their hair with the scratching. The longer you wait in treating your premises, the worse the condition will get. It is not that easy to get rid of fleas, you have to be aggressive and treat the pet and premises at the same time.
The best drops to put on the back of the pet is Advantage (expensive), only works for about 2-3 weeks, though. You have to keep putting this stuff on the cat. Frontline did not work for me. Sergeants is the cheapest and will work OK, but one treatment (one month) will not be enough if you use drops. Any drops have to be continued until the cat and premises are clear of fleas. I used Sevin powder (cheap-from Ace Hardware) on my carpets. The vet told me you can put a little on the pet's back where they can't lick it too. Use it sparingly.
Sevin powder is mainly used to kill bugs outside. There are lots of other commercial sprays/powders you can use for outside too. Be sure to use a mask and wash up when you are done using any sprays.
I have used diatomaceous earth, especially around the windows in the basement where the cat like to sit. You can put sevin and DE into the cat's bed too. Be careful the cat does not ingest any powder that you use, though.
Vacuum daily with a mothball in the bag to kill fleas and eggs you pick up. I am going to try the light bulb over water treatment next and whatever other idea anyone else may have suggested here next to help.
By furfinfeathers from Ohio
Editor's Note: The lightbulb over water treatment is from the feedback of an archived request. I have repeated it here:
Set a lamp on the floor without the shade and place a bowl of water with a little dish detergent in it under the light. The fleas will go to the warm bulb and fall in the water and die. That way you can see if there are still any fleas left.
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