Holistic medicine focuses on treating your kitty as a whole, taking into account the state of her mind, her body and her spirit. Holistic care, taken seriously as a lifestyle, should be enough to fend off all but the most insidious flea infestation.
Holistic medicine relies on common-sense approaches to solving problems, avoiding toxins when possible, and focusing on the animal herself, according to the Holistic Pet Care website. While it's a bit time-consuming, brushing through your kitty's fur daily will physically remove fleas from her coat without your having to resort to toxic pesticides, and it eliminates the source of the problem completely. It also allows you to spend time with and pamper your kitty. This is good for her mental and physical states, as combing can be relaxing for her and it stimulates her circulation.
Coat a flea comb, a very fine-toothed comb, with petroleum jelly and carefully brush through the fur. The fleas will stick to the petroleum jelly rather than just jump off your kitty onto the carpet. If you find fleas, fill a bowl with soapy water or rubbing alcohol and dip the comb into the liquid to kill the fleas stuck to the comb. For grooming fleas on the face or for small kittens, you can use a pair of blunt tweezers to remove the fleas.
Bathing is another common-sense facet of maintaining your kitty's health. A dirty kitty will get mats and other skin issues, providing an ideal environment for fleas to flourish. A filthy cat is more likely to become ill. Cats groom themselves, so when she's healthy, bathing will be rare. If she's been sickly, though, a bath is in order, along with a vet consult.
Use a gentle, natural soap -- such as castile soap, cat shampoo or dish detergent -- to lather up your furry friend. Be sure to lather well everywhere so you don't miss the snug spaces to which the fleas will flee.
Allow the soap to sit on the coat for 10 minutes, avoiding the face, to drown the fleas before rinsing her off, recommends Dr. Jeffrey Levy of Homeovet.net. The soap itself will be enough to rid your cat of fleas, so you don't have to purchase special shampoos containing insecticides.
To control fleas on your kitty, you also have to control any fleas in her environment, which is your home. Remember, you're treating the whole pet and all of the systems around her, which includes her environment. A healthy, clean environment will result in a healthy, flea-free kitty. Vacuum frequently to remove fleas and their eggs from your carpets and throw away the bag immediately so the pests don't wind up hopping back into your home.
Wash your kitty's bedding weekly in hot water, especially after bathing her. Mop and sprinkle food-grade diatomaceous earth around your floors, especially in the cracks and crevices where fleas may hide. Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from the fossils of marine phytoplankton; it's essentially harmless to pets and humans but deadly to many creepy crawlies. You'll find it in health food or garden supply stores.
The Whole Kitty
Healthy living and achieving the maximum well-being possible are the cornerstones of holistic medicine, according to the American Holistic Health Association. Holistic medicine should incorporate both natural and traditional methods to keep your furry friend healthy. Look at your kitty's emotional well-being, in terms of environmental enrichment, to see if you can provide her with ways she can play indoors rather than go outside where she is more likely to pick up fleas.
Spend time with her and feed her a nutritious diet, such as one that follows the guidelines set up by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends. This keeps her body healthy, more able to fight off skin infections caused by fleas. In addition, bring her in for regular checks with your vet so that she can stay flea-free and in good health overall with regular exams and vaccinations. You can also ask your vet for natural and traditional flea prevention recommendations, depending on what would work best for your particular kitty.
- Partnership for Animal Welfare: Fleas, Ticks, Mosquitoes -- Prevention and Treatment
- Eartheasy: Natural Flea Control
- Homeovet.net: Healthy Lifestyle Choices
- VetInfo: Natural Flea Control for Cats
- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals: The ABCs of Cruelty-Free Flea Control
- WebMD: Natural Insect Control: Flea and Tick Treatments for Pets
- Holistic Pet Care: Welcome to Holistic Pet Care
- American Holistic Health Association: Holistic Health
- Holistic MindBody Healing: Definition of Holistic Medicine and Healing
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.