I am talking "fleas".
It's that time of year and the fleas are in full force. Flea eggs are laid when the humidity is high and temperatures are moderate, that's what is happening right now in Texas.
There are 4 stages for the flea's life: eggs, larva, pupa and adult. It takes about 200 days to complete the growth cycle. So if you just kill the adult fleas, you will have a whole new batch on their way to attack your pets. I am going to write about flea control for cats because there are some big differences in treating cats and dogs for fleas.
How to know if your cat has fleas? You look for brown specs on their skin or run a wet paper towel through the cat's fur and if it is reddish color, that is blood from the fleas. If you suspect fleas, the next step is deciding on chemicals or natural remedies.
Many people choose chemicals because it is easier for them to just apply and go, but remember: it is also a poison. If you do choose a chemical, Frontline seems to work. It is non-toxic but NOT non-chemical and is 99% effective. I suggest checking it out before you put it on your pets.
There are also natural remedies, but I have found for them to work you have to be vigilant, and your cat has to be a willing participant or at least "controllable". By this I mean two people or a declawed kitty.
Lemon spray is one method that seems to work. Fleas hate it. You will need a fine toothed comb, 2-3 lemons chopped and brought to a boil in 3 cups of water and steeped for 3 hours. Strain and put lemon water in spray bottle.
If spraying freaks your cat out, (My animals all run when they see the spray bottle in my hand) then just dip the comb in the lemon water and comb through the cat's fur. You will need to do this a couple of times a day. Some people recommend doing the same with apple cider vinegar water but seriously who wants a cat that smells like vinegar?
This next step is important whether you use chemical or natural solutions: vacuum, vacuum, vacuum!!! And once the vacuum canister is dumped in the trash, put the trash bag outside.
There are other natural methods out there for all of us who hate using chemicals on our pets. You just have to do a little research and decide for yourself. Also start at the beginning of the problem "your yard" and down some natural fleas control on the lawn. Chemicals yard treatments kill beneficial insects too. And my cats eat the grass, so I never use pesticides outside. Look into Diatomaceous Earth, a natural flea killer.
So start the battle against fleas before your pets bring them in. Because once the little blood suckers are inside your home, you have a whole new battle to fight. Good luck to everyone.
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