control flea problems in kittens

Help for Flea-Infested Cat or Kitten

Fleas are parasitic insects that feed on the blood of animals like cats & kittens. Learn how to safely remove fleas and how to deal with affected pregnant cats. Understand the cat flea life cycle and learn about dangers from improper treatment. A section on cat lice is included to help your and your kitten.

Removing Fleas From Cat (and house!)

Dear Simba, Our 7-week-old kitten has fleas. Can I use a powder?
When will I be able to use something like Advantage II Kitten? Thanks for helping, - Flea Bitten

Dear Flea Bitten,
I did some searching and I found several products that are advertised to rid young kittens of fleas. The following products claim to kill 95-99% of-* all fleas within 12 hours:

  • NATURA flea & tick mousse claims it can be used onkittens as young as 2 weeks.
  • Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder can also be used on kittens.
The most important thing is that you carefully follow the directions on how and when to apply the treatment. This goes for all flea products. Keep me posted. Be sure to also watch for tapeworms since these go hand in hand with fleas. -Your Pal, Simba

Help Simba,
I just moved to flea-ridden California from the flea-free state of Colorado and my cat is having a terrible time with these fleas. I was slow to catch on and I cannot seem to get rid of the things. I did get Advantage and put it on him…however, do you know of a safe way to get the fleas out of the carpet? I am vacuuming like crazy, but it does not seem to be doing any good. Sofia

Dear Sofia,
What a mess! As you may know, fleas are little wingless, blood-sucking insects. They are a common source of frustration for people and their cats.

I believe that your best bet to kill those pesky fleas is to use a fogger. My reasoning is their high reproduction rate. For every adult flea found on the pet, there are 100-200 immature fleas in the environment. These will only grow and prosper if not killed and killed quickly. To give you an example, once grown, an adult flea can live on your cat for several weeks, taking a little bit of blood every one or two days. This means that a massive flea infestation can cause a small kitten to become anemic.

Some products that work well are the Zodiac FleaTrol Fogger or Zodiac FleaTrol Carpet & Upholstery Pump Spray.

Of course you can use these only if you and kitty are out of the area being fumigated. The spray time is perfect for a vet visit or a walk around the neighborhood. Just be sure to use the Cat-safe versions of a Flea & Tick Shampoo, 12oz and Advantage II Kitten can be used on kittens 2 to 5 pounds. Also, be sure to have kitty checked for tapeworm since fleas are a common host. Best of luck. Keep me posted. Simba

Dear Simba,
I bought some Flea Dip for Taz, my 5-month-old kitten. l did not read the directions and used entirely too much. My wife and me had to rush Taz to an emergency hospital. They gave him a bath and a shot of ambathol (or something like that). They said he would be fine, however he has changed dramatically. Today he has stayed under our bed and every effort of trying to love him has failed, he constantly has hissed, clawed, and deeply meowed at us every time we approach him. He has eaten and drank little. What has happened to our beloved kitten? - Wanting our kitten to love us again

Dear Wanting,
Poor little guy! The dips, the car ride, the hospital, the people poking at him, the shots, the noises have all given the little guy a scare. Give Taz time by himself. Be patient (do not rush him) he should come around. Make sure the room is quiet and warm. Leave food and water near the bed (now might be a good time to feed him his favorite food…Tuna?)If Taz does not eat consider taking him to the vet, kittens cannot skip meals! Simba

Cat Flea Life Cycle

fleas, tapeworm, parasites

Treating Pregnant Cat With Fleas

Dear Simba,My 13-month-old cat is 7 weeks pregnant...and she has fleas!!! Any recommendations for safe flea control?

Last time, I used a cheaper over-the-counter treatment, but the directions say not to use on pregnant cats. HELP! Jane

Dear Jane,
I believe that the best flea treatment for pregnant and nursing momma cats involves a flea comb, daily vacuuming and washing of bedding at a very high temperature.

I am wary of applying chemicals or even 'natural' shampoos to treat fleas on young kittens. Using the flea comb might take a little longer, but your cat will love the extra attention of being combed. Be sure to keep her indoors so as to prevent re-infestation.
fleas, tapeworm, parasites

Adjacent is a picture (by Dr.Zak, GNU License)of an affected cat with fleas. Note the little spots which are actually flea fecal matter (poo). If you see these on your cat, the fleas are still there. Simba

Cat Dies after Flea Treatment

Dear Simba,
I had a 4-month-old kitten She had been outside all day. I then let her in my kitchen. When I sprayed it with Frontline she died very suddenly. What could the kitten have possibly died from? M.Y.

Dear M.Y.,
How terrible this happened. My heart goes out to you. One of the more important things to know when using products like Advantage II Kitten is to ensure that you are apply only the recommended dose and that you use the appropriate type of product. Advantage comes in several versions, some made just for Dogs (Small, Medium, Large and X-large) as well as others made for just Kittens.

My reading on the topic shows that Advantage II Kitten is advertised as being safe for kittens under 5 pounds in weight. Reviews are generally positive as many folks have had positive experiences with it. At the same time, regardless of the goodness of the product any medicine can be harmful to some creatures depending on their health, age or in the manner and frequency in which the product is applied. For example, medicines like Frontline should not be reapplied within 30 days of a cat's initial treatment. It is possible that your little one may have consumed something outside she should not have or might just have gotten the wrong type of Frontline.

I wish you well. Keep me posted. Simba

Dear Simba,
I have a friend with two cats and a small child. I recently noticed the little boy has a rash. The doctors cannot seem to figure out what it is. Could it be a flea bite? I know the kitties have not yet been treated for fleas? Adam

Dear Adam,
There are a couple of possibilities. If the kitties are outdoor/indoor cats it is possible that they may have brought in particles to which people are allergic. One suspect is ringworm, a fungal disease that can be transferred from cats to people. It is the most common skin disease in humans transmitted by cats (many cats are carriers of this condition and show no outward signs). As you mentioned, flea bites are another possibility. While many cat flea bites leave no marks on people, they can produce a small, red spot that is surrounded by a reddened halo on folks with sensitive skin (like children).

It might be worthwhile to consult a dermatologist. He/she can let you know if it is a kitty thing or not. Should it be ringworm, your vet can treat kitty and help your friends avoid re-infection. And should it be a flea bite, there are plenty of products to help your friend's kid and the kitties. Keep me posted. Simba

Indoor/Outdoor cats have been known to transmit poison ivy to people. The likelihood of this is dependent on time of year and geographic location.

Removing Fleas from Kittens: Video

Click Here if you cannot see the video

Kitten Has Lice

Hi Simba,

We recently took in a very young kitten. Our vet told us she had lice and gave me a spray ("Adams") which we used to spray on her (except eyes and genital area). Our vet told us that cat lice are not spread to humans or dogs, only to other cats.

Our kitten has the run of the house, and likes to sit on my lap in the evenings. I have started itching while sitting on the couch, and am wondering if the advice the vet gave me was true.

Can cat lice be spread to humans and/or animals other than cats? What is the best source of information on cat lice and how to take care of the lice and nits? Should I fumigate my home? Nate

Dear Nate,
I think that your vet is right. Lice are generally host-specific and do not leave their preferred animal. Lice are transmitted from cat to cat or from infested materials to cats. Lice are easily killed with flea and tick products. The one good thing about lice is that unlike fleas / ticks, lice do not live in, nor can they travel in the environment.

Once you have treated your kitty, you need to ensure that all grooming instruments and bedding are disinfected. While not always necessary, flea and tick foggers can eliminate lice from your home. Remember, of all the parasites in cats, lice are the easiest to eliminate, and they pose no threat to you and your family!

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