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Indoor cats - opinions on frequency of flea/worm treatment

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I appreciate that I am probably going to get a wide variety of opinion on this!

I live in a built up area of London in an upstairs flat with no garden, and my 2 cats are 100% indoor only, they have never even been beyond my front door, which opens onto a communal hallway and stairwell. Outside there is only pavement, I don't walk on any grass or earth, just concrete, so I don't ever track in vegetation or mud. (Doesn't that sound depressing? )

I would really like opinions on how often I should be de-fleaing and worming my cats. I check Radar for flea dirt daily, he's the easy one to check as he has white fur!

I have tried discussing this with my vet, but trust me they are completely flummoxed by the concept of indoor only cats, and say that all cats should be wormed and flea-treated monthly. Now I am not putting mildly toxic substances in/on my cats at that frequency if it is not needed, so I would really value some opinions from other indoor only cat owners about this!

post #2 of 14
I find it interesting that it is common practice for folks in the U.K. to have indoor/outdoor cats. It is more common to have indoor only cats in the U.S.

Most of my cats live indoors but I have 2 dogs and 2 cats that go in and out and can bring in fleas with them. I treat the indoor/outdoor critters with frontline/advantage monthly and only treat the indoor cats if I notice fleas inside the house. If I start treating the indoor/outdoor ones in early spring, it is rare when I have to treat the indoor cats, and only every few years when the fleas get out of hand in my area (I live out in the country). Even in bad years, I rarely go more than 2 months of treatment with my indoor cats.

For de-worming, I'll do the entire gang if I notice anyone with tapeworms (drontal gets expensive when you are treating 15 animals). I deworm the dogs monthly all year long. All cats have a fecal exam with their annual checkup and are treated if necessary. I haven't had a worm problem with any of them other than the occasional tapeworm in many years so I'm at low risk with it. The indoor/outdoor cats are dewormed annually whether they need it or not. They are semi-feral and getting de-worming medicine into them isn't an easy thing to do.

You have to look at your risk and treat them based on what that risk is.
post #3 of 14
I have had indoor only cats for the past 25 years, and other than the initial treatment when you get them from the shelter, there is no treatment necessary, unless, for some reason they get fleas or worms, like and overnight stay at the vets, or a kennel. If you are visiting shelters where cats have fleas, you could possible bring some home, just brush yourself off good if you think you have been exposed to any culprits. It would be ridiculous to treat them for no reason.

the states is not always indoor cats only, and many people have indoor/outdoor cats. It just takes a bad experience to change your philosophy to indoors only.
In the cities, they are primarily indoor only, but in the suburbs and rural areas, there tons of indoor/outdoor cats, mush to the dismay of those of us that keep ours indoors.
I know my one rescue would really love to go out. He sits at the window and cries for me when I am out in the yard. He used to live on the streets, so I know he really wants out, but I won't give in. It is hard, cause I know he would love it, but I don't want to start.
post #4 of 14
My personal opinion is that I will treat them if I see a problem. The vet told us to treat them during flea season because we could track them in, but I'm not putting a pesticide on my cats if there is no reason to, and so far there hasn't been.
post #5 of 14
I also treat only when I see a problem. I have only had to use Frontline a handful of times in the past ten years, and had to treat for tapeworm twice. If I didn't have dogs that go outside, the cats might not have needed any treatment since they were kittens.
post #6 of 14
I don't put anything on mine. One of them had a bad reaction to a flea medication.
Since then I put nothing on them.
post #7 of 14
mine are indoor only. because we live in a complex that allows dogs i treat the guys with frontline a couple times. i use the off-label flea use, i've heard that the flea treatment is actually good for 2-3 months. so i treat them in teh spring. then 3 months later. and if it's a bad year, i treat one more time in the very late summer/early fall.

i haven't dewormed any of mine since i adopted them. they got dewormed initially, and that was it. my vet saw no reason if there was no exposure.
post #8 of 14
Aside from an initial flea treatment when I got Merry and Pippin when they were babies, I only have treated for fleas once. That was when I had a foster named Smeagol who picked up fleas while being looked after by a friend (who has now adopted him).
I used an OTC flea treatment which was a BAD IDEA. I won't do that again. All my cats had bad reactions. Fortunately, they are ok. I would only treat them again if they had signs of worms or fleas. Since you are checking everyday for flea dirt, I'm sure you'll be able to catch the problem should it arise.
I don't see any reason to do a preventative treatment on animals who have, at most, minimal exposure.

post #9 of 14
I used to treat mine 2 or 3 times a year for fleas and annually for worms. I'd treat them with advantage at the start of the summer when it began to get warm, probably later on in the summer then at xmas because they were going into a cattery. They got a drontal about once a year. However, I got a bit lax and hadn't done them for a while and lo and behold, Jaffa got fleas last autumn. I was so embarrassed when the vet pointed them out! They weren't exactly infested, but Jaffa has never, ever been outside (except in his carrier to go to the vets etc) and he's almost 10 years old. You can bring fleas indoors, especially if you pet other cats outside or friend's pets. It's much easier to prevent them than to treat them as you have to do the whole house if they get them so get rid of the eggs and larvae. And that isn't easy when they're indoor cats and you live in a flat since they need to be out of the room while you spray it and for a while afterwards. So now they are going to get treated for fleas approx once a month during the summer months then I'll give them a break over the winter, although if they go into a cattery over xmas I'll probably do them before they go there. Maybe I'll end up doing it a bit less often than once a month (advantage is supposed to last for a month) but I'm not going to let them go more than a couple of months without teatment during the summer. As to worming - I don't think they need worming that often so will probably do them once every 3 months with drontal. Neither the advantage nor drontal have ever caused any side effect in my cats so I don't see any harm in treating them a bit more often than I have been. I don't want any fleas! Just thinking about them makes me itch.
post #10 of 14
This is just my opinion -- but I would not treat for fleas or worms. It sounds highly unlikely that your cats would ever contract them.

My kitty is indoor only and we have no other animals. I do not treat for fleas. Besides, I live in Michigan and fleas don't seem to be as common here as other parts of the country.
post #11 of 14
Jamie goes outside on a leash every day, and has regular contact with a neighbor's dog (who gets flea treatments), but I don't use any kind of flea treatment on him. I comb him every day after his walk with a fine-toothed comb, mainly looking for ticks, but thus far we've never had a flea problem.

As far as worming is concerned, I usually worm him once a year, just prior to his booster shot(s). I didn't even do that last year, as a fecal exam was done for a stomach upset, and no worms were found.
post #12 of 14
I treat as I need to, not as a complete preventative. Sho has had a bit of a reaction to Advantage so I'd rather not put that or any other flea treatment on them when I do not need to.

That said, I had a flea jump on me the other day while I was outside. Since the boys are 100% indoors but I'm not, they were treated with Revolution yesterday.

Is there anything that isn't a pesticide, non poisonous/toxic, preferably no chemicals at all even that can be sprayed on pant legs to repel fleas?
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thinking about it, I probably ought to do them occasionally, because I remembered that we have mice in the block of flats even though I haven't seen any in my flat, and downstairs have a dog now - so I think there may be potential for parasites. And I certainly can't ever spray the carpets with a parrot in the flat because it would likely kill him too. Hmmmm.
post #14 of 14
I do not use flea treatment on my indoors only cats. I have dewormed before, but that was when Molly came home & had worms.
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