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CalCatDoc
CalCatDoc, Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 330
Experience:  I'm a veterinarian specializing in cats and have owned cats for 35 years. I love all things feline!
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My cat keeps scratching herself all the time.

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My cat keeps scratching herself all the time. I've got two, a male and a female. Both were scratching a lot and got flea collars about a month ago. She still scratches like crazy. The male doesn't really bother. It seemed like she had fleas when I looked before, (pre-collar) but it is tough to tell because she is a calico and most of the places she's scratching are dark. She spends a lot of time outside during the day, on the lawn and into the woods. They are inside cats at night. She does that think where she abruptly snaps her head around and goes after a spot, so I'm not sure if it's fleas or something else. How can I determine the issue? Thanks


 


 


I forgot to add, they get the flea/tick stuff that goes on the back of their neck periodically.


CalCatDoc :

Hi! I'm CalCatDoc and I can help with your questions about Nancy's problem.

CalCatDoc :

I first need to ask a few questions to assess her situation and current flea control.

CalCatDoc :

Which exact brand and name of flea product have you been using on her (the drops on the back of the neck)? How often have you been using them, and when did you start this year's treatment?

CalCatDoc :

What geographic area of the US are you in (location DOES matter)?

CalCatDoc :

I will wait to hear back from you before proceeding since you appear to be offline. I will be back here around 8 AM PST to look for your response if I don't see it tonight.

Customer:

Thanks for taking the time to look at my question. Unfortunately, I'm not sure of the brand, I ran out last month. Started in April I think. Sorry, I realize that is not very helpful.

CalCatDoc :

Well, that's ok. Just be aware that there are many brands of cheap knock-offs that don't do much at all (and can have dangerous side effects), and then there are a very few that work great.

CalCatDoc :

But first I will caution you strongly about using flea collars. They do not do much to control fleas, but they contain very toxic, obsolete chemicals that have no place on dogs OR cats and have not been part of effective flea control for over 30 years. So it is best to throw it away immediately.

CalCatDoc :

Now for easy and effective and safe flea control that really works: My two favorite OTC products in cats are Frontline Plus and Advantage II. Either is fine. But my personal favorite is Advantage II for the fastest flea killing and also the ability to kill flea eggs. If you are in an area where cats get ticks, you should use Frontline Plus, however. And be sure to only use the CAT product on cats. You cannot safely use dog flea control products on cats in most cases.

CalCatDoc :

Use the OTC topical products year round if you are someplace where it doesn't freeze and snow. Otherwise use it in any month when it doesn't freeze. Always follow the package directions for where to apply - we put the stuff on the back of the cat's head at the base of the skull (they can't lick there) and NOT along the spine like the dog products. Use the proper size product if using Advantage II - you will need to know if your cat is over or under 9 lb.

CalCatDoc :

In addition, fir the first month or two, you will need to kill the backlog of fleas and developing stages in your home. Use Siphotrol Plus II Premise Spray by VetKen for best results - it lasts a month. Follow directions on the can - lightly mist carpet, floors, and furniture AFTER a thorough vacuuming. Once you kill off the house fleas after a couple of Siphotrol treatments, you really only need to use the topical on the cats monthly. And if you have any dogs in the home, you must also treat them.

CalCatDoc :

These products are more expensive, but that's because they work, and work great, while being the very safest products out there.

CalCatDoc :

I remember the bad old days before we had these products and I would rather poke my eyes out than go back to not having them - that's how good they are compared to what we used to have to use.

CalCatDoc :

You can ask me additional questions here - I will check back in tomorrow morning.

Customer:

Thanks for the thorough answer. ONE, question is shouldn't i be seeing fleas if it is definitely fleas? I'll get rid of the collars tomorrow, if nothing else they don't work. And I know I've used the Frontline before specifically because of the tick issue, (I live less than 30 minutes from Lyme, CT), and it didn't seem to resolve it. I didn't buy this springs batch, so I think it might have been some off brand. Is it worth trying the Frontline again? Do vets do flea-dips or anything?........as I said, the big issue is I haven't seen any fleas on the carpets or furniture, and not really on the cats. Thanks

Oh, and you may or may not want to have an exterminator spray the yard once to get started killing fleas outside. They will eventually die off as they jump onto the cat(s) and make contact with the insecticide, but animals are happier when the lawn isn't infested.

 

Again, once you have used the good topicals for a couple of months, that is ALL you need to do. And fleas have never been shown to become resistant to those particular insecticides, so don't worry about that.

 

Also, full disclosure: I have ZERO financial interest in any of the products I recommend. I just have had really great results with them.

System says I need to respond, not sure why. Please ignore this Info Request unless you have further questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Ok, great, thanks very much. If nothing else she seems much happier without the collar. I ordered the spray and will spray the house.


 


How cold does it need to get to kill them outdoors? It seems a little late in the season for an exterminator, which I presume is costly. Trying to strike a reasonable balance, want the cats to be happy but they are so ridiculously spoiled already that they are far from suffering.


 


Actually here is a question about outdoors, is it possible they are mostly only outdoors and only occasionally make it inside? The reason I ask is this. The house is connected to a daycare center that is open weekdays. During the week when there are people/traffic around, she spends her days outdoors watching her territory and making appearances for her fans. On the weekends she is more content to spend time inside and hang out with whoever is here. She's been sitting by me all days once and I've noticed she hasn't scratched once. Think that is just a coincidence?

It's certainly possible that, right now, there are more fleas outdoors than in. But unless you are aggressive, you will eventually have big problems indoors. The presence of daycare adjacent pretty much mandates aggressive flea control due to the public health issues.

What geographic area in the US are you in? That will help me tell you when to stop worrying about the outdoors.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Northeast...near Lyme Ct

Oh, that's good, you have real winter there. I would stop worrying about outdoor fleas after a couple of nippy nights. It will slow their activity WAY down and bring reproduction outdoors pretty much to a halt.
CalCatDoc and 3 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

great, thanks. I'll spray the house and give the frontline another chance

Ok - let me know if you have any additional questions about Chuck.