Fleas and Cats – Let’s Discuss

Fleas and Cats
Photo credit: www.mantis.cz/mikrofotografie

Fleas and Cats – Let’s Discuss

A reader wrote in the other day, “Today we discovered our little guy has fleas.  We only take him on walks with a leash but that was enough. We’ve washed him (much to his dislike) and that got rid of the flea dirt, and we manually picked the fleas we could find out and killed them. What do you recommend treating Ragdolls with for killing fleas? Have you ever had to stamp out fleas in your house too? We’re thinking of getting a pest exterminator in as my wife has been bitten in the last day or two repeatedly.”

As many of you know, I let my two Ragdoll cats outside in my yard and I am with them while they are outside.  But they are outside for about 1 hour a day, exploring, rolling in dirt, eating grass, etc.  This is a personal choice of mine, and it is not something I advocate (I’ve been accused of advocating letting cats outside).   It’s a personal choice based on your situation, and I hope every cat owner makes a responsible educated decision based on where they live.

“Sorry to hear about the fleas – I HATE fleas. I have had them twice in my home and never want to deal with that again.

I can’t tell you what to do, and it wouldn’t be morally right for me to. You will want to talk to your vet.

I just applied Revolution flea control to my cats two days ago – I tried all the natural stuff and still got fleas.  I even tried not letting my cats outside, and we still got fleas. I have never treated my house with chemicals, but I vacuumed everything that couldn’t be washed and then threw away the vacuum bag into a plastic bag.  And then washed everything that could be washed. If you already have fleas, then they have laid eggs and the eggs will hatch and the process starts over again. Before I started using flea control, I was going mad with the little buggers.

Revolution makes a alcohol based treatment that doesn’t leave an oily residue on their fur.

I apply flea control in the warm months (I live in Kansas City) and apply it every 6 weeks or so – they say every 4 weeks, but that’s because it’s easier to keep track of.  I have found going 6-8 weeks works just fine.

My Charlie is actually allergic to flea bites and will itch the heck out of himself if I don’t put it on. I do hate putting it on them – feel like I am giving them chemicals, but my vet explained that I would feel much worse with heart worm (which our flea control prevents as well) or having them anemic from flea bites.

Vet Kem Siphotrol Plus II Premise Pest Control Spray

One summer I had a bad flea infestation in my home.  So we had to wash everything and vacuum everything I couldn’t wash with a bagged vacuum.  When we were done vacuuming, I was told to remove the vacuum bag, put it in a plastic grocery bag and then seal it tightly, so that if the flea eggs we had vacuumed up hatched, they would have no oxygen to survive.  Finally, our vet suggested we spray the house with this Vet Kem Siphotrol Plus II Premise Pest Control Spray.  We were headed away for the weekend, so we took the cats out of the house, sprayed it and let it settle for a few days while we were gone.

Hope that helps in some way.”

Here’s something I can’t figure out – I let my Rags outside for 3 years at the end of his life and he NEVER had fleas and I never used flea control.  They must not have liked his blood?

So where do you live and how do you manage fleas?  In your replies, please include:

  1. If you live in an area where fleas are common for pets
  2. If you’ve had fleas and what you’ve had to do to get rid of them on your cat and in your home
  3. If you use a preventative – how long you’ve been using it and it’s effectiveness

Another resource – Best Vacuums for Ragdoll Cat Hair According to Ragdoll Cat Owners – but remember, when vacuuming up fleas and flea eggs you have to have a vacuum with a bag (and then seal that bag into a plastic bag so that the fleas that hatch die).

The best treatment – Treating Flea Control Naturally

The Conscious Cat recently ran this article, Natural, Non-Toxic Flea Control, too.

Website | + posts

Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,

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  1. Hi All,

    I am new here in the forum and with Ragdolls. We have a new 6 months old female, and she already has lots of coat. So I find it hard to apply Revolution to her as I can’t get any skin area visible. Whenever I apply it, most of it is soaked up in the adjacent hair. Would thank you for any tips & tricks how to do that.



    1. Welcome and congrats on your 6-month old. Use a comb to part the hair and fold it down so you have direct access to the skin.

    2. I always part the fur carefully and apply on the skin, but no matter how careful I am it always end up on my kitty’s fur. It’ll look fine for a few hours, but then the flea gel kinda work itself up on the fur the next few days. It smells and clumps her fur… and it’s my favourite part of her to snuggle into!!! I use Bravecto and read up on how it works and its suppose to be absorbed and stored under the skin. So I wash it off with shampoo after a few days. Thankfully I only have to do this once every 3 months.

      1. thank you for sharing! that’s why I like the new alcohol based one – doesn’t leave that greasy film on their coat

  2. knowltons4 says:

    I have 2 Ragdolls and they are strictly inside, however, I occasionally use Advantage on them only because I also have 2 dogs and want to make sure they never get fleas. I use Advantage on the dogs monthly. I have never ever had fleas. Two days ago I put Advantage on the cats and yesterday both had diarrhea and one threw up a day later. I saw that the area I treated on the neck was drippy and my cat licked and licked that area to my horror. I am so upset I did not get it deep enough in the hair. I totally now think they had a reaction to the Advantage. I did not feed them last night and this morning I gave them a teaspoon full of meat and pumpkin. At first I thought it was the food and it was a bad batch or that they changed the formula AGAIN! I may have to board them next month so I will have to use some sort of flea prevention. What is the most gentle out there? Do you think this was a reaction to Advantage? Thanks for any help.

    1. What dosage of Advantage did you use? Did you use the dog’s Advantage on the cats? Have you contacted your vet?

  3. We’ve had flea problems this summer. I only treat our two Ragdolls in the warmer months; this usually suits them just fine. In late November (beginning of our summer here in New Zealand)I applied Revolution to the back of their necks. They seemed to be more twitchy & scratchy after this. I applied Revolution again 4 wks later-itching and general twitchiness increased & Beau began to over groom his belly and hind legs. Our vet advised against Revolution, her reason was that she didn’t find it effective and it seemed to be irritating to a lot of cats. Her advice was to be vigilant in checking and removing any flea contaminated bedding, check the cats for fleas and she administered 1 Capstar pill-an old remedy people tell me but it is working + 1 5mg tablet of Prednisone (single dose and not repeated). We then dosed both cats with 1/2 pill of Capstar 2 x weekly. Beau is still twitchy but he is generally a drama queen and is easily rattled. Our summer has been very hot and humid, fleas are prevalent in this area and both cats have enclosed outdoor spaces to come in contact with fleas. Inside infestation has not been apparent, very little to no flea dirt obvious on any sleeping surface now. I occasionally dust Beau lightly with Diatomaceous Earth to create a dry atmosphere in the fur that fleas don’t like, this seems to calm his itchiness which has lessened and I am hoping will continue to as we move to cooler months. Have not seen a single flea or evidence of in over a month. Usual preventative is to start flea treatment early (usually back of neck treatment but may now stay with Capstar as cats do not like back of the neck treatments: they go very quiet and are not themselves for a good few hours after application. Capstar shows no side effects and any scratching appears less immediately) and repeat as directed. Your comment about Rags not having fleas is interesting, In the past I have had 2 cats living together, one had fleas the other none, identical environments – weird! Hope my comment helps!

  4. Patti Johnson says:

    Great post and information, Jenny! Thanks! 🙂 <3

    We keep Miss PSB indoors at all times. It is incredibly rare that our sliding glass door on our balcony is ever open and we never open the windows in the other rooms. And, there are is no risk of other pets (which might be carrying fleas) coming into our apartment. Therefore, we do not use any flea control for her. She has never had any fleas and, hopefully, never will. (I have been in a home with a flea infestation when my son was just a baby. We went over for a BBQ. The lady had outdoor cats and dogs and I was bitten horribly on my legs by the end of the day. Luckily, my son was never bitten. It itched horribly and I vowed I would ever set foot in that family's home or yard again. Flea bites are just awful.)

    Big hugs!

    Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3

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