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Old 02-18-2012, 05:02 PM
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I think my cat has fleas. She is a long-haired indoor cat but she's been scratching at her neck a lot (she doesn't wear a collar). Today I found some kind of larvae on her tail but it moved too fast for me to catch.

I don't want to use drugstore flea spray or collars but would prefer a more holistic approach to killing these things. Some cat sites have mentioned spraying vinegar on the cat and its bedding to kill the fleas. Has anyone tried that?

Also- what about using odorless garlic powder in wet cat food? I'm an avid garlic powder user myself which helps prevent mosquito bites (it may also explain why the cat's fleas have not bitten me). But I've read conflicting accounts on using garlic powder for cats. Does anybody have any experience with this? Is garlic poison to cats? It seems that everything is poisonous to cats!

Any holistic recommendations for flea/tick problems? Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:32 PM
Location: North Western NJ
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garlic wont kill them but may help repel, the problem is garlic in large doses can be toxic, and how large is too large is a topic we dont realy know (my generall rule of thumb has always been 1/4 a teaspoon fresh for every 10lbs, (or 1/2 of that dry), but in that kind of dosage, it doesnt have all that much effect.

ive neve rheard of vinegar.
i do KNOW that dawn dish soap kills them, but obviously for that moethod you have to give the cat a bath...not sure how sucessfull that will be.
brewers yeast also helps repel but again, to what extent will vary.

i think in your situation my first suggestion woudl be FOOD grade diatemacious earth (DE) its an incredibly fine powder so ive found the easies method of aplication is to fill a stocking with about 1/2 a cup of de, twist it tight and use the stocking filled like a powder poof dabbing it all over...the idea is you want to get a good coat of DE deep into the coat. FOOD grade is 100% when the cat cleans itself, but DE is not an instant cure and youll have to apply it at least once a week for a minimum of 3 months (if youve got 1 flea...youve got lots of fleas hiding and it takes about 3 months to break the lifecycle with DE as it relies on the flea actually moving across it (the little particles peice the exso skeleton and cause the flea to dehydrate)

id also add 1 tab of brewers yeast every day (my cats LOVE the brewers yeast tabs and will come running when they hear the bottle open) i use the human tabs...and a tiny it of garlic on her wet food if shell eat it...some cats wont touch it even if it is "odorless"

if youve caught it early enough you should be able to get it under control fairly quickly with these methods (and if its not fleas the DE will also work on any kind or lice and mites too)

you can get a pill called capstar...its not a preventative and will nly kill the fleas ON the cat in the first i bleive 12 hours, after that it does nothign and wont kill ay fleas in the home...but if you want to get rid of the ones on her quick while your treating the house...this is the best option.

if all else fails i sugges Advantage flea topical for cats, but because you want to go as natural as possible only get a 3 month dose...assuming your treating your house and noones bringin new fleas in 3 moths worht should be enough to kill the entire flea population in a home. after that id then stick to the brewrs yeast and garlic regime to try and repel additional new commers.
you can also use the DE to treat your home, sprinkle it in a line across doorways and along baseboards, and under cushions and matresses ect...
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:38 PM
Location: Monadnock region
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don't know about vinegar, but garlic (like onions) makes cats anemic. don't use it where they can ingest it (which is pretty much anywhere on them or their bedding).
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Old 02-18-2012, 09:49 PM
Location: southwest TN
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DE has a high incidence of allergies for people as well as some pets, so I'd be very careful to test it in just a few areas first.
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:11 PM
Location: North Western NJ
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wannacomehome, while your right that garlic can cause a blood cell disorder leading to anemia...it is safe in SMALL amounts...

NY Annie, i havent heard of food grade de causing issues before, good to know...it does make me sneeze...
i cant be around the other stuff though, the processed stuff made for pool filters and such makes me watery eyes and realy itchy...(and its obviously not safe for any animal due to the risk of ingestion) but the food grade doesnt give me any issues...agree, start small...i do use a mask when doing large amounts though (i use it in the chicken cook and duck house and such)
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Old 02-18-2012, 11:48 PM
Location: Near Nashville TN
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Originally Posted by renault View Post

Any holistic recommendations for flea/tick problems? Thanks in advance.
I sure don't but remember whatever you use, you have to treat your home as well as the cat. The fleas only feed on the cat. The rest of the time they're in your carpets, bedding, closets etc. where they lay their eggs.
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Old 02-19-2012, 09:29 AM
Location: Canada
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personally I would NEVER use garlic in any amount for a cat!!
heres a site that may be of help, click on each product to see the toxic ingredients in nearly all the preps avail on the market, also gives some great advice for non chemical treatments...good luck

GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory | Smarter Living
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Old 02-19-2012, 11:42 AM
Location: El Paso, TX
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I mix 1 part apple cider vinegar to 3 parts water, and I wipe my kitties down with that mix on a washcloth every so often, which works well. You could also put a small amount of that mixture into their wet food if they like the taste (mine do, strangely enough). The ACV is actually great for restoring proper Ph levels, so even by wiping them down with it, when they groom and lick it off they get the benefits...plus, it's good for their coats, and makes them really shiny! If your kitty's infested, though, you may have to resort to a bath...but you don't need to buy any toxic "flea shampoo", the dawn dish soap works just as well. Also, as someone else pointed out, you'll have to address the floors/bedding...if you have wood or tile floors, use a broom-vac to suck 'em up, then a thorough mopping with hot water and bleach...if you have carpeting, it'll be harder, but I'd put on a dust mask, put the kitty in a safe place away from the area (like the bathroom, and don't forget the litterbox & some water!), douse the carpet with DE, let it sit for a few hours, then vacuum it all up. Bedding can be washed in hot water with some bleach. Sorry you're going through this...no fun at all! Hang in there!
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Old 02-19-2012, 01:39 PM
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There was a thread awhile back that discussed alternative flea remedies in depth, this link is to the first of my posts discussing DE, it was easier for me to find my posts than the thread itself.

Cost efficient/safe flea treatments, help

In addition to my original posts months ago, I would like to add, that
I'm now sure, from seeing an x-ray of a "friend of a friends" cat that had a hazy cloud-like image over the lungs, that using DE like you would carpet deodorizer ( shaking it over a surface while standing up and causing/letting dust to hover, smoke-like in the air) will eventually cause breathing difficulties.

Use the same care applying DE that you would any other flea treatment.

DE would still be my first choice, but although the product itself is much safer than chemicals, if DE is used incorrectly, or excessively it will be harmful.
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:39 PM
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Thanks for the helpful replies. I searched around on the web and found this brewsters yeast/garlic tab product. I am thinking of trying that. I'll crush half of it in the wet food and see how that works.

As for killing flea eggs in the carpet I don't know what to do about that. Will a good hot steam vacuuming work?

We'll launder all of our clothes and bedding with vinegar from now on maybe that will help too.
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