Pet Problems: Getting Rid of Fleas

By Serena Piper

It’s flea season and, according to the staff at Eugene City Spay & Neuter Clinic, it’s one of the worst Oregon has dealt with so far. My cat (Mao, a long-haired Siamese/Scottish Fold) and I have been struggling with fleas since February, when I moved into an apartment whose owners never fully dealt with the already existing flea problem. Needless to say, they attached themselves to Mao.

Mao, a Siamese/Scottish Fold mix loves finding new places to perch.

Ever since I adopted Mao, I’ve tried everything imaginable to help protect him from fleas. Sprays, powders, bombs, collars, and the “apply to the back of the neck” Frontline and Advantage. Several years ago, those might’ve worked, but as any Eugene vet will now tell you, the fleas have been building up a tolerance to Frontline and Advantage. Had this been common knowledge, I wouldn’t have spent more than $50 since February buying multiple flea products.

After spending several hours each week doing online research and poring over any flea-relief articles I could find, I finally found a new article recommending I try Comfortis. Comfortis is usually used for dog flea relief, but it’s recently been prescribed to cats, as it’s much stronger than Frontline and Advantage.

I consulted with as many vets as I could find, and bugged my friends and family for their advice before finally deciding to get Mao a prescription for Comfortis. At Eugene City Spay & Neuter, you can buy a 4-month Comfortis subscription for $18. An exam is required to get the prescription, but it will be worth it to rule out any other reasons your pet might be scratching (turns out, Mao also had a food allergy).

Although I saw a decrease in Mao’s scratching in the first couple of days, there were a few other things I did to help kill the flea population.

1. Wash everything. Rugs, blankets, and all bedding. Try to do this every week.

2. Vacuum. If you can, put a flea collar in your vacuum canister (to kill any that get sucked up), and vacuum every inch of carpet you can reach and the crevices of your mattresses, where fleas like to lay their eggs. Empty the vacuum bag immediately after you finish.

3. Deflea. Sprays and powders do work, as long as you use them weekly and use them properly in combination with the Comfortis. Remember to apply sprays and powders generously.

Remember to treat all your animals at the same time and preferably on the same schedule so don’t have to keep track of multiple application times. It can be costly staying on top of flea treatments, but if you follow the directions on every spray, powder, or other product, and do it right the first time, you’ll soon see a difference.

Eugene City Spay & Neuter Clinic can be reached at 541-682-3643. They are located at 3970 West 1st Avenue, Eugene, OR 97402.

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