How To Keep Cat Fleas Away

how to keep fleas away from the home

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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.

Click this link for a description of the cat flea life cycle.

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.

  1. Flea treatments can kill cats
  2. Cat Flea Treatments
  3. Cat Flea: Biology, Ecology and Control

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.

6 thoughts on “How To Keep Cat Fleas Away”

  1. Monty’s vet tries very hard to sell me that Frontline Advantage stuff that you put on a cat to prevent fleas. But I’ve never found a flea on Monty. Why put a chemical on him, which comes with a certain amount of risk, when he’s never had a flea? If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. If he had a reaction to the flea treatment and got sick or died I would never forgive myself. If he gets fleas, we can deal with that, and at that point, a chemical might be the best option. But I’m not taking a risk like that for Monty with no reason. Some risks you have to take– like a rabies vaccine. Rabies is just too scary and it can be spread to humans. Plus, it’s the law to have him vaccinated. But is the chance he might get a flea worth the risks of the flea treatment? I don’t think it is. And right now, everything is frozen, so no fleas anyway.

    • I agree Ruth. Some people treat their cats with a drop on treatment every month because their vet recommends it, it makes my blood run cold thinking of all those chemicals on the cat every month! It must affect them.
      It’s easy enough to treat the cat and the house nowadays if a flea problem ever does occur, I’d rather do that than use all that risky to the cat’s health, prevention treatment.

      • I agree Ruth. To continually put a nasty chemical into a cat via its skin to kill fleas seems a bit desperate and could hurt the cat. I think it is a careless way to deal with fleas. It is easier than dealing with the whole house etc.. An instant fix that is not really an instant fix. Spot treatments are good for a while I believe but not as a permanent treatment. Better to deal with fleas in a more natural way.

    • There we are, some places and homes are flea free, while others constantly fight with infestations. I wonder if the climate where you are (very cold winters) is a big barrier to the flea life cycle functioning. For me, I am sure that a large rug we had in the living room harboured fleas and when that was removed we removed the flea bit allergy that hurt Charlie. He is fine now. I have since moved and he is still flea free. This is v.important for him because the flea bit allergy is awful.

  2. I have all wood floors but I recently put a very natural hemp or some such ..carpet on the living room floor because it bothers me that they cannot grip the floor. When they run around and chase eachother they are very limited by having nothing to grip on. I think it’s a little frustrating for them – and they really love to let go on the new big carpet so I am glad for it at the moment.

    Fleas are dormant, or more dormant at least – in winter and it’s a good time to get rid of them. In Canada I had huge problems with fleas. I’m not sure what happened in the end but Gigi seemed ok after a while and was without fleas and I have no idea why they stopped bothering her or living on her. Its impossible to get rid of them. I agree – get rid of carpets if it’s bad in your house. I heard they live in grass, so if you have a lawn/grass by your house like most people then there’s really nothing you can do about it except try and minimise – and if you really must, then give the cats front line/advantage etc..

    • I am making a pretty bold statement but feel I should. A lot of homes don’t have fleas and therefore dealing with them in a bold way is irrelevant but for those homes where they constantly have flea problems the carpet is reservoir for the life cycle of the cat fleas.

      I have rugs on a hard floor (like you) but no fleas. If I had a cat flea problem I’d take the rugs out or at least minmise them.


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