One resolution many cat owners have is to win the war against fleas, especially for those owners with carpeting. Once fleas get into carpets, they multiply quickly and can bite not just kitty, but humans as well. Though it may seem like a losing battle, it’s not impossible to get fleas out of your home without chucking the carpet altogether. All it takes is a lot of patience, a bit of time and money, and using the right tools for the job.
NOTE: This procedure is effective for dog owners too!
First, and most important, is to eliminate the food source. Like any parasite, fleas cannot survive without a host to feed from. Since fleas can't do anything but bite humans (human blood is too thick for fleas to suck), their food, in this case, is kitty's blood. Eliminating the food source means making kitty a very inhospitable place to have a meal. Using quality flea treatment products is a must for this. Flea collars are useless, and cheap flea treatments rarely get the job done (and are often toxic). In this case, as expensive as they can be, premium flea treatments offered at your local pet store or veterinarians are the way to go. Wait a day after application to allow for the treatment to work completely.
Second, the floor should be swept with a broom. That’s right, swept – this loosens the fibers, which exposes any hard-to-reach fleas and their eggs. Fleas and eggs can get deep into carpeting, but as long as they haven’t reached the padding (which is rare), eliminating them is possible.
Third, the floor needs to be vacuumed thoroughly. Though a bagged model is preferred - the bag must be thrown into a plastic trash bag and disposed of outdoors immediately, a bagless vacuum may also be used. If the vacuum is bagless, best results come with a NLS (Never Loses Suction) design such as Shark, Dyson or other such models. In either case, attention to detail with this step is essential. Pouring a small amount of flea-control powder into the dirt chamber will help to kill the fleas, but between uses it is essential the chamber is thoroughly cleaned with either bleach or disinfectant solution. If the next step is too expensive it can be skipped, but doing so requires this step to be repeated several times over a two-to-four week period to ensure all fleas and eggs are removed.
Though not required, a professional steam cleaning is highly recommended. This does two important things. First, the steam/soap mixture used by most professional cleaning companies kills any fleas left in the carpet. Second, the powerful suction of the cleaning vacuums (usually 10 times stronger than the strongest NLS vacuum) picks up 90% of eggs left in carpeting. It is important to note that consistent, twice daily vacuuming is absolutely essentially afterwards to ensure that any flea eggs and resulting larvae are quickly removed.
As an added precaution, be sure to purchase some tapeworm killer from your veterinary professional or pet store and administer it to kitty to ensure all larvae ingested are killed. It typically takes 1-3 months to completely eliminate fleas from a carpeted home but, with diligence, patience and attention to detail, a flea infestation can be little more than a major annoyance.