I don't guarantee that this will work for everyone in all circumstances, but I tried a LOT of different things before I got rid of those pesky little micro-insects.
Regular flea collars didn't work very well -- frequently I'd find nests around their necks, right under the collar. Besides, Titania was allergic. Herbal flea collars, apart from that dismal green color most of them apparently have, just pure didn't do anything noticeable to the flea populations on my cats. Once, the vet gave me some goop to rub down into their skin on the back of their neck where they won't lick it. With Titania it's near impossible to find skin, and Jebu would quite literally foam at the mouth. And reading the fine print on most of that stuff: you wouldn't want anything you loved to come into physical contact with the stuff. You, the human, were supposed to apply it wearing gloves. Frequent flea baths take care of the problem for short periods of time.
Knock on wood, though, but we've been problem-free since August 1995, and it is already 1999. Oh, perhaps one or two show up, but none of us seem to notice them, and then they are gone. The secret???
Celebrating a flea-free body!
- Either start the program in the winter when you have no fleas, or if you have fleas, plan on taking a two week vacation somewhere. (I did not plan on going to Scotland for this reason at all, but it just worked out that way, and I was fed up with the incessant fleas.) If you have pesky levels of fleas living with you, you and your pets need to vacate your home. Otherwise the population will regenerate. Plan to stay with flea-less friends for two weeks if you can't get the vacation time. Board your felines if necessary.
- After you've planned your trip away, but a couple weeks before you go, start feeding your pets brewer's yeast. Some of it is formulated especially for pets -- but even the human stuff is good. This is not to be confused with bakers' yeast, or those little packages you get that you can put in bread. Your health food store may be able to help you. The stuff may come as a powder, in either a cardboard can or in a bag. If you get the bag, dumping it into an old coffee can may be helpful. Each cat should get approximately half a teaspoon a day -- I mix it into their canned catfood, half in the morning, the other half in the evening. Most cats readily eat it. I knew of a cat who would eat the tablet form. Sprinkling it on top of the dry food should work, too. Adapt to your own pet's feeding habits. Dogs may be fed the brewer's yeast based on body size. Ask your vet about young kittens.
This works by making the blood unappetizing to the flea. Some people supplement with a little bit of garlic powder, which also makes the blood unappealing (it may help with humans and mosquitos, to some extent.) Don't worry about any resulting kitty breath from the garlic -- in my opinion, kitty breath can only be helped by garlic... And there are nutrients in the brewer's yeast -- it has apparently helped clear up a skin condition that Jebu gets by the base of his tail.
However, this by itself isn't good enough. If you have a pre-existing flea population, they're going to be desparate.
- Back to that two-week trip away from home. If you leave your home because the fleas are currently obnoxious, remember, your pets need to go somewhere, too:
- De-flea your cat via a bath on your way out the door, or take him to the vet's and have them do it.
- Wash their bedding -- don't bring their bedding with your cats when you go, unless it has been washed thouroughly.
- Use those flea bombs. Follow their directions as to how many you'll need, and how to operate. Flea bombs kill all adult/hatched fleas. Shut the door, don't look back, and leave! Theoretically you can return to your home after you set off one of those bombs in a matter of hours -- but we want to get rid of the problem once and for all. None of the flea eggs will be killed by these bombs. They have a two-week gestation period. Which means they'll be hatching all during the next two weeks -- and at some point early during that two-week time frame, whatever is in those flea bombs ceases being effective as an agent of distruction. (A good thing, actually -- you and your pets do have to live there sometime again...)
- After two weeks, come on home. DON'T bring the pets, or children. There are millons of hungry, starved, unfed fleas in your home. They typically don't like human, but at this point they won't care. (I came back from Scotland on a warm August evening, and had a hellacious night buried under my covers hiding from the peskers -- fortunately, since pickup hours were over, the cats were still boarded...) My advice (from experience) is to arrange NOT to stay, but to go set off the next volley of flea bombs, and this time disappear for the recommended time on the bombs (5-8 hours???). Then, you can come home! All the fleas should be history. Decant your cats from their carriers, and let them once again take up occupancy!
Just keep feeding them brewer's yeast during flea season. I do it daily from March to September; some people may need to do it year round. Because of Jebu's skin condition, I give it on a semi-regular basis over the winter.
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