25 answers

Cat Flea Treatment

I have discovered my cat has fleas and am in need of recommendations for flea treatment. I know veterinarians recommend either advantage or frontline but is there another treatment that is affective but not as expensive? I am on limited funds and I have heard horror stories of other flea medicines that can cause death and want to be sure I get the right treatment. Also, what do you suggest for the house. I know I need to vacuum and clean thoroughly but do I need to buy a spray or something for the furniture and carpets? Any useful information is appreciated. I want to get this taken care of ASAP. Thanks!!

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So What Happened?™

Let me thank everyone for all the advice. I purchased a dose of Frontline from Petvet Pet Foods in El Cerrito. It was much less expensive than Petco. I applied it last night and tonight when I combed her with a flea comb I only retrieved one flea which is a vast improvement from yesterday. So far it seams to have worked. I will continue to comb her and vacuum the house. From now on I will keep up on the flea prevention so I hopefully don't have them in the future. Thanks again for all the recommendations.

Featured Answers

Flea Busters powder works great fot the house (when those flea bombs did not!). It's not cheap and a pain to bang into the carpet tho. I think there is a 1-800 number.


I put a request on freecycle.org when I needed advantage (we had strays that I found homes for). I got some for free. You only need a small amount for one cat, not what it says on the package. One little drop on the back of the neck will do it. Good luck! C.

I discovered a product that you get from the Vets office for flea treatment in the home. It is called Sephitrol.
It cost me $18 but you spray it on the carpet and floor area, it has no odor and is not harmfull to people. It gets rid of the fleas and eggs instantly....so worth the money. Before this I used Euculyptus leaves under the couch and chairs, but that was a much more bohemian method...it does work also, but not nearly as well. :)

More Answers

I bombed, washed my cat, frontlined, combed, vacuumed, and even moved into a different apartment, yet still have a few fleas. It seems that regular and thorough vacuuming and daily combing keep it at bay the best. Steam cleaning is supposed to be an eco-friendly way to get them out of your house. I didn't try it. Almost wish I had. If you can afford it, get your carpet cleaned with flea treatment. It will mean that you have to go away for the weekend, and should before hand remove as much furniture as possible.
If your cat is indoor/outdoor, a few fleas are normal and not the end of the world. My advice is to not sweat a few of them, and just keep them under control.

Amazon.com has a good price on Advantage, plus there is no tax or shipping.

There's the Hartz one, but I don't actually know if it's as good as Frontline or Advantage. It's about 1/3 the cost.

Hi J., I work for a Vet. We always recommend Advantage. it's safe and easy to use. Some vets will give you a free tube if you buy 6 . That may help you . Stay away from Bio Spot .I've heard horror stories about it and have seen 1 cat die. You can put a flea collar in your vacuum cleaner bag,But flea collars don't really work on the animals.
You can buy flea bombs for the house .Once you have your cats fleas under control , you shouldn't have a problem .But you have to keep up with the flea control on your cat.
Good Luck with this. K.

hi there J....

well you've hit the nail on the head, frontline and advantage are your best bets, and while their sticker price is on the higher side as far as flea meds go, anything else will cost you more in the long run, and work nowhere near as well. if you purchase the advantage "large dog formula", at a price with shipping of around $50.00 see site i've listed here...


you will have 24 doses of flea med for one 9lb and over cat, thats two tears of flea control, no sprays, no powders, no fleas, no headaches...

every pack of advantage, regaurdless of what it says; dog 55+ lbs, or cat under 9 lbs, is exactly the same chemicaly, they are no more different then say a two liter of coca-cola classic and a 12oz can of coca-cola classic, where-in the difference is in container size and number of servings per. the same is true for advantage flea medicine, and like with most products, the more you buy, the cheaper it gets.

if you can administer tylenol to an infant in the dark, and half asleep, whilwe you yourself are heavily dosed on nyquil, well then you can easily administer advantage that is sold in 4.0 ml x 6 packaging, to your >9 lbs kitty who only requires a 0.4 ml dose, or your <9 lbs cat the proper 0.8ml dose. in two months time you will have eliminated all evidence of the fleas who are freeloading off you and your kitty.

if you have any questions; dosage, availability, how to, where, when, anything, and i mean anything, lewt me know and i'm happy to assist you an any way that i can, and if for some reason i fi9nd i cannot, i will get you in touch with awonderful vetrinary hospital with a sleugh of docs, and techs who will gladly answer your questions and advise you in all things kitty (dog, hamster, ferret, etc.), by phone for free!!

good luck

i also recommend Drsfostersmith.com or carealotpets.com. Drs foster smith has bio spot their own brand of flea stuff and we used the dog version on our dog for many years it works great and it's way cheaper than advantage or frontline. Target also now sell some Drs. Foster smith stuff so you might want to check with them also. Usually applying the stuff to your pet also gets rid of them in your house within a few days unless you have a really bad infestation. In that case lots of vacuuming every few days for a couple of weeks will help prevent new eggs from hatching. Good luck.

Flea Busters powder works great fot the house (when those flea bombs did not!). It's not cheap and a pain to bang into the carpet tho. I think there is a 1-800 number.


My cat just recently got fleas, so i went and got a generic drop product. It was aweful. The oily fur, he was rolling in dirt to try to rid himself of it, he didn't like bathing so he started to stink. So after bathing him a lot and then letting him recover for a couple weeks i got him a flea collar. It took a few days for the fleas to go away, faster around the neck, a little longer further back. He's a much happier, much more affectionate cat.

I grew up with a lot of cats, one after the other my whole life. I have never had a cat get sick from a flea collar. The smell of the collar is odd, but not truly bad, and it dissipates with the age of the collar. They're very cheap.

It might not be what you want to hear, but Frontline and Advantage are the best out there and the only ones you should use. The others are toxic and can be harmful, especially to cats because they lick often to clean themselves. But Frontline and Advantage WORK, and work well. It's just an expense we have to spend to have pets in flea country (Sac valley).
I would recommend giving your cat a bath first to rid of all existing fleas on her then once she's dry, add the drops to the back of the neck. Fleas are a pain in the booty to get rid of - so you'll have to get rid of the ones in the carpet also. They lay their larvae in the bottom of the carpet so i have the best suggestion for you, and it's cost affective. It may sound weird, but i've been using and recommending it for years, so give it a try. It's Borax (brand name), or boric acid. It's non-toxic, cheap, easy to use, found in almost every store and great if you have little ones in the house. Just sprinkle evenly on the carpeted areas, even on rugs, and let stand overnight and vacuum in the morning. What it does is dry the larvae of the fleas.
Whenever you put a product on an animal that kills the fleas, the fleas go into "survival" mode, laying all the eggs they can before they die. So even when you get rid of the ones on the pet, you still have to contend with the ones hatching 3 weeks later. The Borax dries up the eggs and if you keep up on the Advantage you shouldn't ever have any problems again if it doesn't get out of hand. Borax only costs about $3.
Good luck! And let me know an update, I haven't had anyone say it hasn't worked yet - and i've been helping people with this problem for years!

I worked as a vet tech in college and let me just say that the over the counter drops, collers and powders are extreamly toxic and should never be used. We generally had one to two cats a month come in with kidney failure from these products. If you can't afford frontline or advantage there are some natual products that can help.

Bathe your cat once a week in a combination of pet shampoo and salt. Use salt water to rinse. This will probably dry out your cat's skin but that is only temporary. If you can get your hands on natural orange oil you can use that as well (doesn't take much, just a touch behind the coller). Next salt your carpet and use a broom to really work it into the pile. Let this sit overnight and then vaccume. Empty your vaccume into the trash as soon as you are done. Repeat the salt and vaccume procedure every 3 days.

I have heard people in the past recommend feeding garlic. This is actually only safe for dogs, garlic can make cats quite ill.

Good luck,


we had a recurring flea problem until we called fleabusters.
we had previously used EVERY other product/method and the problem either persisted or returned. i highly recommend you call them. i do not work for the company, just hate fleas!
also, those bombs are toxic and require a ridiculous amount of cleanup afterwards.

good luck.

I put a request on freecycle.org when I needed advantage (we had strays that I found homes for). I got some for free. You only need a small amount for one cat, not what it says on the package. One little drop on the back of the neck will do it. Good luck! C.

Hi J., My cats used to get fleas. I use Advantage. I know that it is expensive. I had a cat, who is no longer with us, but we were on very limited funds. I used a cheap flea treatment from Walmart. My cat almost died. She got down to 2 pounds, wouldn't eat, and her coat looked like she was dipped in oil. The vet bills to get her healthy were so expensive. She lived to be 16, however her health was never the same. She always had upper respitory problems which the vet says was a permanent cause of the allergic reaction. My suggestion, is to have your cat groomed with a flea dip and start advantage. You can try to find it online for cheaper. I started using this years ago for my dogs too, and glad to say we are flea free. I don't use it as often as I should anymore, because it does get expensive when you have alot of animals. They do sell natural sprays to spray in your house, but I found that that kind of stuff never really worked. Good Luck

Fleas hate Eucalyptus (spelling?). I got a cat coller with it at the health food store and have not seen a flea since. A friend of ours had them bad in his backyard and put down wood chips made from it and the fles are gone.
Good Luck,

I bathed my cat in flea bath (FUN), I used powder, and I used over the counter drops and nothing worked. I finally bought Frontline and it took care of them right away. You could see them on the tips of her fur dying. Gross but effective. I just vacuumed my apt a lot and she never had the problem again. Good luck!

I saw one of two, either Advantage or Frontline at Costco in Danville, last week. I am sure you save money on it there, but not sure how much.... Unfortunately, my sister, who has a cat, tried to go with an off-brand one and it didn't work. They don't do anything for the house as if the cat doesn't have any fleas, the house won't either.

Years ago when we had cats we had a huge infestation of fleas. We called out "fleabusters" & they came out & sprinkled this all natural powder in our carpet & I am not kidding after a couple weeks we never had fleas again ever. (10 years plus til the cats died). It dries them out. I have heard now that you can buy the stuff & apply it yourself for much cheaper. I just googled them & it is still available.

I use Advantage for my cats. I bought a 10 application supply on Ebay for around $18.00. It was wonderful and all the fleas were gone within a day or so. Buying it on Ebay is way cheaper than the vet.

For the house, if you use Advantage or Frontline you don't need anything else. The still living fleas from the house will jump on the cat and die. It will rid your entire house of fleas.

Hi J.-
I use an all natural treatment. It's not as expensive as frontline and smells somuch better. It's called Nature's guardian. THe main ingredients are clove oil, peppermint oil, lemon oil, etc. It says to use every two weeks. I only use it once a month. I also use it spray down my curtains, door ways, kitty beds - anywhere a flea might get or anywhere the cats sleep, play, or scratch. It keeps them from destroying my furniture, and in the past four years I have not seen any fleas. I don't use it in the winter except to deodorize the home and their beds/roosts. It seems to work well. It's a green pump spray bottle, costs anywhere from $7-$12. I used to get it at Target or Walmart (hint- the dog one is exactly the same as the cat one!) but also purchased it at Petco. It won't harm your pets or your kids. I used to use frontline spray, but the cats hated it, I had to wear gloves to use it, and the chemical smell- well, it couldn't possibly be good or safe for the pets let alone any kids. SO I switched and LOVE IT.
I just remembered too, that to do an initial cleaning, give your cat a bath using dawn original liquid soap. THEN treat with flea spray. TO wash, lather with a light layer of dawn, let sit for a couple minutes, then rinse. YOu will see the fleas dying. Take a pair of tweezers to the rest and treat the house.
Hope this helps!

I discovered a product that you get from the Vets office for flea treatment in the home. It is called Sephitrol.
It cost me $18 but you spray it on the carpet and floor area, it has no odor and is not harmfull to people. It gets rid of the fleas and eggs instantly....so worth the money. Before this I used Euculyptus leaves under the couch and chairs, but that was a much more bohemian method...it does work also, but not nearly as well. :)

As a veterinary nurse, I've seen cats come in that had the wrong flea meds put on. Horrible!!! Never, ever use dog flea stuff on your cat - that's why they seizure. I know they can be expensive, but Advantage and Frontline for cats are the best and safest to use on the cats. If you have a major flea problem in the carpet, than spray for them. If not, just use the flea med on the cat and the flea life cycle eventually comes to an end (esp with frontline) and the fleas disappear. Talk to your vet or google Frontline to understand the life cycle of fleas.
Good luck.

Euculptyus (not sure of spelling) oil helps. Years ago when I had a cat, I was told that you can get collars with this in it. I bought one but the cat was trying to get out of it, so I took it off and put it under the sofa and never had problems with fleas. There are several essential oils out there that will take care of fleas. Check out your natural health store... if you have a Sunshine Natural Foods around you, they are very knowledgeable. I go to the one on Fair Oaks & Madison. Be sure to get all the pros & cons of the essential oils.

Try your Vet for a free sample of Frontline or Advantage or maybe your local SPCA or animal shelter has a coupon you could use. You can use a flea comb for temporary relief just make sure to squish the little buggers. Vaccuum often and get rid of the vacuum bag each time. I would not recommend using any sprays inside the house. The good thing is that Advantage and I believe Front line too work as a birth control for fleas so eventually there won't be anymore new ones. Finally, if you don't want to continue to have to buy and apply the flea treatments/preventatives I would recommend keeping your kitty inside only(as long as you don't have a dog who brings them in from outside ;). Hope your flea free soon.

I am an emergency veterinarian who sees the cases of the inexpensive flea treatment that turns into the 1000 dollar flea treatment. Please use advantage or frontine. Compared to what you could spend they are worth the money. You do not need a veterinarian to get them. You can get them at petco or petsmart.


We had an awful infestation of fleas and the Frontline wasn't working on its own. We got some fleabusters (http://www.fleabuster.com/) and applied it ourselves. It took a few months to break the cycle, but it really worked. Now we use Frontline, and our vet will sell it to us one dose at a time. Fleabusters is about $100 (which seems like a lot right now, I am sure), but we had literally used the chemical flea bombs three months in a row and it just wasn't working. See if your vet or anim al shelter will sell you frontline in single doses... also, if you bathe your cat, wait a few days to apply Frontline or advantage because they both work with the cats' natural oils in their skin (which wash away with the bath).

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