A flea infestation affects your entire home, not just the cat. If she's infested, your home could be welcoming in millions of tiny bloodsucking parasites. Treat your kitty and your home at the first sight of fleas to keep things from getting out of hand.
Scrub that cat down with a feline shampoo formulated to target fleas. You'll likely have to wash, rinse and repeat once or twice. Afterward, give her a good brushing with a flea comb to yank out any lingering parasites.
Wash whatever you can get your hands on, particularly linens that your cat favors. If she has a favorite pillow, blanket, pet bed, anything, put it through the wash.
Vacuum. A lot. Paying special attention to your cat's favorite hangouts, vacuum the carpet every day and empty the vacuum outside every day. Cats shed fleas, flea eggs and flea pupae everywhere, so if you want to walk around barefoot without getting skeeved, vacuum that floor.
Treat your cat with a topical flea medication. Available from your vet or the local pet store, these squeeze-on treatments soak into your cat and inhibit flea infestations. After the medicine has taken effect, according to the instructions, continue with her bathing and combing regimen.
Attack your house with pesticides. While you could call an exterminator for heavy-duty flea killing, plenty of over-the-counter foggers and sprays will also do the trick. Always read the label, as you and your pet will most definitely have to vacate the area while the chemicals are doing their work. You'll also have to reapply these chemicals every week or two, as many of them don't affect unhatched eggs. When the new ones hatch, you reapply the chemicals, and so on until there aren't any more fleas.
- If your cat is suffering from a serious infestation, or the combination of bites and her scratching has led to open sores or bleeding, take her to a vet.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.