Making the home a place that is hostile to the cat flea, eggs, larvae, and pupae is how you keep cat fleas away once you have got rid of them. The ideal combination is a Sphynx cat (hairless) and a home without carpet and soft furnishings other than those covered in leather. Instead, a tiled or wood laminate floor with continuous sheer tiling and leather furniture is preferable. Fleas will find it much harder to live in such an environment making flea management considerably easier. Removing the carpet or rug will have a positive impact. It could be argued that cat owners should live in uncarpeted homes.
Preventing cat flea re-infestation is an important subject. There are many articles on the internet about getting rid of fleas but less on preventing them. Getting rid of fleas is a reactive step. It is not preventative action and it is hard work. A cat owner doesn’t want to spend a lot of time and effort removing fleas to then suffer a re-infestation in the near future.
Obviously, all the flea eradication methods are concerned with dealing with and treating the areas inside the home together with your cat or dog. However, a cat owner cannot control the environment outside the home. You can treat the yard (garden the UK) but what about the areas beyond the yard?
The only guaranteed way to stop fleas being brought into the home is for both cat owner, spouse, kids etc. and cat to remain inside the home, permanently, and for no one, neither animal nor human to visit the home. Quite impossible to achieve, obviously. An absurd idea. Fleas, larvae and pupae can be carried in with visiting cats, the cat’s owner, spouse, friends, you name it. The home is not a hermetically sealed unit cut off from the outside world.
If, with great effort and diligence, a cat owner believes that she has eradicated fleas from her home and from her cat, the next stage is to take proactive steps to try to keep the home flea free. There cannot be any certainties in this regard. You can’t guarantee that you won’t be doing another massive flea attack purge in 6 months time. However, you can make the home an unfriendly place for a cat flea. You can make the home a place where the cat flea, larvae, and pupae find it difficult to live.
So what kind of place do fleas, flea eggs and larvae like? Well, I think you only have to look at a cat to find the answer. The reason why cats and dogs are so prone to carrying fleas is because of their fur. The fur is a nice, protective, warm environment. If all cats were hairless, like the Sphynx or Don Sphynx, the cat flea problem, which is massive, would be dramatically reduced. Fleas are relatively rare on Sphynx cats.
Yes, a hairless cat would still be bitten if there were fleas in the carpet because the flea would jump onto the cat but the cat could not harbour the flea. If the floor was sheer wood laminate with no crevices, the combined environment (sheer cat, sheer floor) would be hostile to a cat flea. Despite being a hardy parasite, the chances of survival would be much reduced.
Whether on a cat, in the fur, or off the cat on the ground in grass or carpets, the flea or its larvae hide in these shady, moist, places.
Fleas and larvae can live on hardwood floors but they’ll find crevices within that floor such as the spaces between floorboards or defects in the floor. The flea lays eggs when on the cat in the fur. The eggs look like grains of rice. The eggs fall to the floor and settle into the base of the carpet fibres or soft furnishings where they eventually, via the pupae stage, hatch as fleas. The flea then jumps onto a passing host, your cat.
A bit about getting rid of fleas
All the literature on this popular subject informs us that: you have to treat (a) cat (b) home and (c) yard while (d) doing it all at once.
Personally, inline with what I have stated, I’d put the rug, if you have one, into storage. If you have carpets, consider getting rid of them, replacing them with some nice wood flooring that is sheer and easy clean.
If you have carpets you want to keep, manic hoovering in an extremely precise and complete way will remove almost all (a) eggs (b) larvae and (c) pupae that are at the base of the carpet fibres. Hoovers, through the inbuilt vibration mechanism, disturb particles and in this instance eggs etc. from the base of the carpet allowing the suction to remove them.
Once vacuuming is complete you could spray the entire house and yard with an insecticide. If you do this it should be done (a) thoroughly and completely and (b) with caution because insecticides are poisons and they can hurt cats and I presume there must be a risk of harm to people. A natural and harmless (to cats and people) way to kill fleas is to sprinkle food grade diatomaceous earth over the yard.
One expert recommends Insect Growth Regulator (IGR) insecticides. They are probably effective but another website states: “IGR metabolites may have adverse effects on vertebrates“. Cats are vertebrates and so are we. With other household products, insecticides are poisonous to cats. Caution is the key. What about checking it out with your vet first?
The most common way to treat a cat is the spot treatment (“topical”). The products vary from country to country by Frontline is popular. They are effective and prevent flea bites but should be used as part of a holistic approach. Warning: extreme caution! This can kill and harm. Don’t use dog flea treatments on cats. It can kill the cat.
So, what is the conclusion? A home that is better designed for a cat is one that has less in the way of places for fleas and eggs to hide and survive. The more modern-type house is preferable I would suggest. I think cat owners should think about this aspect of house furnishing when decorating a home. It should be functional as well as attractive.
Note: not all homes with cats have fleas. I depends on the area and the climate. This article is simply my thoughts on keeping fleas away where there have been fleas in the past.