Foothill Felines Spooky Spots; beautiful silver spotted Savannah.
|(PLEASE NOTE: We are NOT veterinarians!! However, we want to share our personal research and experiences regarding these important feline health issues with other cat-lovers!! We will be updating this page often!! Send us your ideas and any comments!!)|
What is a flea?? With 66 classifications, 230-plus species and subspecies in western North America alone, the "flea" is a unique insect with a vertically flattened body that lets it glide through the hair on its host, and, using its razor-sharp oral "siphoning device", easily enjoy the blood of its host. "Ctenocephalides felis" is the flea which attacks humans, cats and dogs.
What is the flea's life cycle?? The flea has four distinct life cycle stages: embryo in an egg case; free larva (three phases); pupa in a cocoon; and free adult flea. The flea can progress from the first stage to the last in as little as 12 days or as long as several months, depending upon the weather/host conditions. The adult female may lay as many as 2,000 eggs in her life span, which may last anywhere from several weeks up to a year. Eggs hatch in a few days, new adults emerge between 10 and 14 days, and the new adults then mate to produce more eggs.
What are the ideal living conditions for fleas to set up housekeeping?? Fleas like humid, 70-degree or warmer weather environments. They are also attracted to leaves and yard clippings outside, which may house flea larvae, cocoons and even adults.
Yikes!! So what flea removal products really work?? Well, there are several methods for controlling fleas. Let's take a look at each one. ALWAYS REMEMBER to use extreme caution when considering using any flea product (or any chemical, period) on or around young kittens!!
INSECT GROWTH REGULATORS (IGR'S)
This method includes products such as IGR sprays or foggers, and prescription-only IGR systemic products such as "Program". These methods are effective, safe and recommended. The prescription IGR systemics are also non-toxic, and environmentally safe.
There are two primary type of "desiccants"; Diatomaceous Earth, and Boron. These are organic methods of flea control that are very popular. They tend to be very effective in dry climates, and less so in humid areas. The desiccants work by causing the body of the flea to dry out. Diatomaceous earth is made from shells of tiny algae, and the shell particles are like pieces of glass to the body of the flea in all its life stages. Desiccants are considered effective and inexpensive, and they are recommended.
NEMATODES (BIOLOGICAL PARASITES)
Nematodes actually use the flea for their host!! Most effective in temperate climates, and when used outside, nematodes are another recommended method of flea control. It is okay to use nematodes around your living area, but do not apply them directly to your cat!!
There are a variety of chemical methods for controlling fleas. We will talk about a few of the most common ones. Flea Collars are generally not recommended as an effective method of flea control, plus they may cause irritation to yourself or your pet. Prescription topical adulticide (chemical products prescribed by your veterinarian to apply to your cat to kill adult fleas) are recommended and considered effective, non-toxic and environmentally safe. The highly popular and effective product called "Advantage" is considered in this category. Another type of chemical often used is the Pyrethrum family of dips, foggers, sprays and powders. These are all considered to be effective especially at getting a quick "knock-down" effect, and are recommended. The last class of chemical we will discuss is the Organophosphate group, which should be used only as a last resort as they are toxic and not environmentally safe.
Believe it or not, the vacuum cleaner is very effective in controlling fleas. Your vacuum sucks up fleas in all stages, removing 15 to 27 percent of flea larvae and 32 to 59 percent of eggs in carpeting. Just be sure to remove the vacuum cleaner bag and wrap it in plastic before putting it in the trash!! Flea combs are also recommended, effective, safe and inexpensive. The two mechanical methods for flea control which are generally not recommended and are not considered to be effective are: flea traps and ultrasonic chasers.
Help!! We have a serious flea problem!! Where do we start, and what do we do first?? Here's a recommended plan for controlling a serious flea infestation, step-by-step:
1) Remove fleas from all infested animals using a flea comb, powders, dips, sprays, etc.
2) Remove hosts from the environment by temporarily removing all animals and potential hosts.
3) Remove fleas from the environment, preferably using Pyrethrums. Disrupt flea life cycle using topical adulticides and topical IGR's on all cats or other hosts.
4) Remove any newly emerging or surviving fleas by frequent vacuuming of the area.
5) Prevent re-infestation by a combination of frequent vacuuming, Pyrethrum sprays, and desiccants in the interior areas, and by using IGR's and systemics on the animals/hosts. Remember to read all labels carefully and only use products specifically recommended for a certain animal on that animal. And, even though products are labeled as "safe" for use on cats and/or kittens, ALWAYS watch them closely, especially during the first 24-48 hours after use, for any potential allergic or other harmful reactions. We just don't feel comfortable using ANY product on young kittens under 8 weeks old. A product such as "Advantage", which you can get from your vet, will usually kill all fleas and eggs on adult cats within 24 hours. Therefore, a safer method of eliminating fleas when you have young kittens in the home, is to treat only the adult cats with the product, while also using the other methods above. If you have any doubts or concerns about any of your felines at any time, contact your veterinarian right away.
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NUVET PLUS FELINE SUPPLEMENT
~ Give your kitty the energy, great health and desire to enjoy life to the fullest! Used and recommended by Foothill Felines, click on image above to order this uniquely powerful nutritional supplement for felines at our Foothill Felines breeder discount. Just a pinch a day, sprinkled onto wet and/or dry food, energizes and supports all ages, weights and breeds of cats. Developed by scientists, veterinarians and formulators to enhance the health and lives of cats, this unique Nu- Vet supplement contains many important minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and vitamins especially needed by active felines' metabolisms INCLUDING taurine, calcium, blue green algae, brewer's yeast, and much more.
FELIWAY PLUG-INS & SPRAY
~ Click on links above for more information and to order these exceptionally calming Feliway products for felines. Used and recommended by Foothill Felines! Wonderful for cats of all ages, weights, and breeds. Contains natural cat pheromones for extremely effective stress relief and eliminating need for cats and kittens to mark or exhibit other unwanted behaviors. Every multi-cat household should know about these plug-ins; they are odorless to people, yet they are especially helpful to kittens/cats during a move, any change in your household routine, periods of stress of any kind, and queening.
~ Click on image above to learn about the incredible new exercise wheels for cats; the Toy-Go-Round wheels!! They're simply the best designed, best built and best priced wheels we've found anywhere!!
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