When fleas infest your beloved kitty, they'll also make themselves at home around your house. After ridding your furry friend of these despicable pests, it's time to tackle your carpeting and furniture, prime hiding spots for them and their eggs, before they re-infest your kitty and start the cycle again.
Fleas on Cats
Visit the vet to determine what type of flea control will work best on your kitty. Treating her with a prescription topical flea preventative not only kills existing fleas and eggs ensconced in her fur, but continues to kill these pests for four to six weeks at a time. Use products containing both an insecticide and a flea-growth inhibitor to kill existing fleas and prevent young ones from developing into adults, recommends the Feline Advisory Bureau. Continuous flea control prevents re-infestation with fleas after you've taken the time to get them off your kitty and out of your home. Oral medications can also kill fleas or their eggs on your furry friend's coat, but they must be re-administered, sometimes daily.
Fleas on Furniture
Fleas tend to settle into the cracks and crevices of your sofas, chairs, tables and other furniture. Wash slipcovers, pet bedding and any removable items in hot water. Vacuum your furniture thoroughly, making sure to use a crevice tool attachment to get between and under the cushions of your sofas and chairs. Wipe down the surfaces of wood tables using a wood cleaner containing orange oil, which helps to repel fleas. You can also combine 10 drops of cedar oil with 10 drops of peppermint oil, both natural flea repellents, with 16 ounces of water and use it to spray all of your furniture and pet bedding, recommends Crow River Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic. Treatment with an insecticide containing d-limonene or linalool may also help to kill those icky pests on furniture, as well.
Fleas on Carpeting
Carpeting provides the perfect hiding space for those fleas and their eggs when they fall off your kitty. Sprinkle salt or food-grade diatomaceous earth all over your carpeting, getting into all of the crevices you see. These substances are safe to use around felines. Allow it to sit for a few days to kill the fleas by dehydrating them. Vacuum it away and throw away the vacuum bag immediately; fleas can reproduce in a vacuum bag and re-infest your home if not promptly discarded. Even without diatomaceous earth or salt, simply vacuuming alone removes around 30 percent of flea larvae and 60 percent of flea eggs from carpeting, according to Texas A & M University's Department of Entomology. Follow up the vacuuming with some steam cleaning to further eliminate fleas from your carpeting.
When using any products on or around your feline friends, avoid those containing permethrin or chlorpyrifos, according to Veterinary Support Personnel Network. These flea-killers are safe for use on or around canine companions but not felines and can be toxic if ingested or applied to their skin. Young kittens less than 4 weeks old aren't old enough for either oral or topical medications; a bath in dish soap and careful grooming with a flea comb can rid your little one of those pesky pests. For severe flea infestations in the home, consult a professional pest control company to treat the inside of your home, including your furniture and carpeting. Bring all animals, both canine and feline, into the vet for treatment, so they don't spread from pet to pet or around your home.
- Orkin: Fleas: Facts, Identification & Control
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Tackling Fleas on Cats
- WebMD: Ticks and Fleas on Cats Q&A
- petMD: Eight Natural Methods for Controlling Fleas on Cats
- Apartment Therapy: How To: Repel Fleas with Regular Household Items
- Veterinary Support Personnel Network: Small Animal Toxicoses -- Insecticides
- Kitten Rescue: Kitten Care Handbook
- Napa Humane: Orphaned Kitten Care
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.