Cats and Fleas: which repellents are safe?

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Poor itchy kitties! Summer is flea time and those nasty little bites can make our cats just miserable. What to do? Some folks swear by garlic. Others say pyrethrin-based powders do the trick. But some natural remedies may be dangerous to your pet.

Find out which remedies are safe–and which you should avoid–to keep your kitty flea-free.

DANGERS

Flea powders containing pyrethrins (derived from chrysanthemums) have been generally considered “safe”, but research has shown that these powders can be ingested by cats during grooming. Avoid them.

Although feeding raw garlic to your dog is a tried-and-true remedy for canine fleas, research now suggests that garlic and cats don’t mix. Avoid using raw garlic with your feline: it can cause a dangerous form of anemia and even lead to death.

The safest methods of flea control begin with the environment:

Wash your cat’s bedding and any area rugs frequently. Fleas can’t swim and hot water will kill them.

Vacuum often and dispose of bags in an airtight container, or freeze them first to kill flea, eggs, and larvae.

Beneficial nematodes may be used to dust your lawn. These creatures will infest and kill fleas, but are harmless to pets and humans.

The best defense against fleas seems to be a healthy overall immune system. Keep your cat in top form by feeding her a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils, including a small amount of brewer’s yeast to meals, and avoiding over-processed foods with by-products.

If your cat already has fleas, bathe her with a mild detergent once a week to remove adult fleas, larvae, and eggs. Groom her with a flea comb between baths. Dip the comb in water after every stroke to drown any fleas you comb out.

 

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