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Kittens with Fleas

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi,
I am fostering a momma cat and her 5 babies, they are about 6 weeks (give or take a few days). When they came here the momma had a few flea's here and there, not to serious, but now they are on the kittens Does anyone one know of anything i can do to at least cut down on the flea's? Any help at all would be greatly appreciated.

(i do have 3 other indoor/outdoor cats, and 2 dogs that get treated regularly and have no flea's on them.)
post #2 of 17
I had the same problem, but my kittens weren't even 6 hours old! Fill a large bowl or bucket with warm water and add a little bit of dawn dish soap, just enough to see bubbles. Then, dip the kittens(1 at a time) into the water and rub the soapy water on them til they are suddsy. Let it sit for a minute or 2. Then, rinse VERY well. Dry them as much as possible and give them to the mama to finish the job. Try to keep the clean ones away from the dirty ones so the fleas don't jump back on.

If you can afford it, find and by some Capstar flea tablets. You can give them to kittens as young as 4 week and to lactating mamas. They will kill all the adult fleas in less than a day and the soap ought to kill the eggs.

Oh yeah, don't forget to bath the mama!

I know this sound crazy, but a lot of people use dawn soap and it really works miracles!
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm trying it now!! Thanks

LOL mama's gonna be tricky, she was a stray and is fierce when it comes to my other cats going near her, wonder how she'll be with me and water. I'll let ya know how it goes
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TortieBaby View Post
I had the same problem, but my kittens weren't even 6 hours old! Fill a large bowl or bucket with warm water and add a little bit of dawn dish soap, just enough to see bubbles. Then, dip the kittens(1 at a time) into the water and rub the soapy water on them til they are suddsy. Let it sit for a minute or 2. Then, rinse VERY well. Dry them as much as possible and give them to the mama to finish the job. Try to keep the clean ones away from the dirty ones so the fleas don't jump back on.

I have to disagree...what you want to do is take a flea comb and gently run it through their coats and put the fleas you trap into the dish with the dishwashing liquid (which should kill the fleas), swoosh the flea comb around until the fleas are all dead and off the comb. Dry the comb off and use it again. The problem with dipping very young kittens directly into the bucket is that they cannot regulate their body temperature and keeping them warm is extremely important. Even for older kittens (like Dulcy's 6 week old kittens) it's better to use the flea comb approach. You can do the same thing with mom....simply run the flea comb through her fur and then take the fleas and drop them into the dishwashing detergent (this will also be less "invasive" to mom and you have a much higher chance of success). BTW...there is some good advice from Gaye in the links below...one talks about kittens and mom with fleas and what to do. Also...I found all of these posts by doing an advanced search puttting "fleas kitten" in the search along with Gayef as the poster.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...t=fleas+kitten

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...t=fleas+kitten

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...t=fleas+kitten

Katie
post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 
6 week old kittens can't regulate their body temperature?
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcyDoll View Post
6 week old kittens can't regulate their body temperature?
That response was more geared at very young kittens...however I still do not recommend dipping these kittens. For fleas...I always recommend using a dry flea comb and going through the fur of a kitten and then taking the fleas and placing them into the dawn dishwashing detergent. You want to dry off the comb between brushes.

Katie
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
O.0 ok
post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcyDoll View Post
O.0 ok
I'll clarify it. Glad you asked the question though. I truly think that your mom cat would prefer to have the flea comb approach.

BTW...here is Gaye's advice:

To remove the fleas:

Separate the kitten from it's Mother and isolate Mom until she can be treated as well. Make sure all bedding or other nesting materials are put into a securely sealed plastic bag or plastic storage tote and taken completely out of the house. Do not reuse the bedding, the plastic bag or the plastic tote if used. Get a bowl of hot water and add a drop or two of Dawn dishwashing liquid detergent. Swish it around to make a very thin layer of suds on the top of the water. Get plenty of papertowels and a fine tooth comb -- a lice nit comb is perfect on small kittens. With a DRY comb, run the teeth over the kittens and physically remove the fleas, quickly dip the comb in the soapy water, completely submersing it. Swish it around to dislodge all of the insects. Thoroughly DRY the comb with a clean paper towel each time (seal used paper towels into a plastic zip-lock type bag until you are ready to dispose of them away from the house) and repeat until there is no sign of fleas at all on the baby.

Repeat this process with the Mother cat and do not place the kitten back in with her until both have been treated, the bedding completely replaced and surrounding areas thoroughly vacuumed or mopped and dry.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks!!!
I went to Petsmart this morning and bought a flea comb. I have momma in her travel carrier upstairs (away from all kittens- Cleaned kittens are going in a large dog crate untill everyone is finished. All bedding has been thrown out, and carpets have been thoroughly vacumed.

And now the fun begins, lol.
Thanks for all the info! Ill get some pictures up when they are all cleaned up
post #10 of 17
Could someone with more knowledge than I address the Capstar flea tablet issue? My understanding is that OTC flea medications can be very dangerous and I wouldn't want any new members to do harm to their kitties by giving them something harmful.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
Could someone with more knowledge than I address the Capstar flea tablet issue? My understanding is that OTC flea medications can be very dangerous and I wouldn't want any new members to do harm to their kitties by giving them something harmful.
With regard to treating ANY kittens with ANY flea medication, the BEST advice is to discuss it first with your vet. While there may be many who have had luck with this or that specific product, your vet is the best source of information on what is available for kittens, what is safe and how to use it correctly.
post #12 of 17
I took my kittens to the vet when they were 4 days old. They vet told me to give the mama capstar to kill the adult fleas and also use advantage. He said the advantage would rub off onto the kittens as they crawled on the mama and would get rid of the fleas.
I tried using a flea comb on the kittens, but the comb didn't get the fleas because they were not in the hair, they were on the skin, the comb didn't reack them.
Bathing them in soapy dawn water is really the best solution. I have used it numerous times on both of my cat's litters. It's not harmful to newborn kittens. I used it on them when they were a couple hours old. I took the mama and kittens out of the box and changed the bedding. I then bathed the mama and put her in the clean bedding and kept her away from the babies. I did them one at a time and gave the mama time to dry each one off. None of them got sick. I know everybody think that newborn kittens are really fragile and delicate, but they are much tougher than you would think. I have never had a kitten get ill before.
Plus, if you use the flea powder on them than the mama will be eating a lot of it since she does most of the cleaning for them. That can't be good for her.
post #13 of 17
From what I know, Capstar is given by a vet. I haven't known it to be available OTC. I like Capstar and have always successfully used it. I got it from the shelter I worked at though so I don't know how to get it exactly if it is OTC or from a vet, it was always my understanding it came from the vets though.
post #14 of 17
I have a question about fleas. Many, many years ago I had a dog that had fleas. They got into the carpet....yech!...it was BAD! But I remember being able to actually SEE the fleas, little black jumpy things.

Anyway, my kittens are scratching quite a bit and I have looked at them closely, moving their hair to see the skin and see no fleas. Could they HAVE them and I'm just not seeing them? I have inspected them right as they are scratching...I would think that I should be able to see SOMETHING...?

Overall they are healthy, crazy little 5 week old kittens. They are using the litterbox, but haven't really been interested in eating. One does like the dry food, one will eat a bit of wet and dry, and the third I haven't seen eating anything (unless she is snacking when I am not in the room).

Basically I am asking if there can be fleas even if I don't see them....
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by TortieBaby View Post
I took my kittens to the vet when they were 4 days old.
Just for the record, this is a very, very risky thing to do. The vet's office is the LAST place I would EVER take neonates. Their little immune systems are not fully functional nor are they fully developed, even with the first 24 to 48 hours of colostrum from the queen's milk and immunity from the plethora of malicious agents in a vet's office is absolutely NOT guaranteed.

As an alternative, you can always request a home visit if it is absolutely imperative that newborn kittens see a vet. Most vets will do them - yes, you might pay a little more for it, but to minimize the risk, it is, IMO worth every additional penny.

Quote:
They vet told me to give the mama capstar to kill the adult fleas and also use advantage. He said the advantage would rub off onto the kittens as they crawled on the mama and would get rid of the fleas.
I will say upfront that I have absolutely no personal experience with using Capstar. I do not now, nor have I ever had a flea problem with my breeding cats. In cats I have cared for in the past, yes, but Capstar wasn't available as an option at that time.

Advantage is not recommended for use in kittens under 8 weeks old. Period. I wouldn't have it anywhere near them, especially not on their mother and especially not when they are only a couple of days old. Your vet may have had good luck with this in the past and that's great but I would counsel anyone who might stumble upon this thread in the future to think twice before following the advice of any anonymous stranger over the Internet - that statement includes me. The ~best~ thing to do before administering ANY medications to kittens or to a nursing queen is to discuss it thoroughly and candidly with your own trusted vet and to obtain any necessary medications and the instructions for their use ONLY from your vet.

Quote:
I tried using a flea comb on the kittens, but the comb didn't get the fleas because they were not in the hair, they were on the skin, the comb didn't reack them.
Then frankly, you were using the wrong type of comb. Ideally, a small plastic comb with rounded teeth such as a lice nit comb is the best choice. If the fur is thick enough that the teeth do not reach the skin, then try combing short sections against the growth to lift up the fur and get in there deeper.

Quote:
Bathing them in soapy dawn water is really the best solution.
No, it is NOT the best solution. Newborn kittens should never, ever be immersed in water for any reason. They do not possess the ability to regulate their own body temperature. Somewhat like reptiles, the body temperature in a newborn kitten will adapt to that of the environment around the body. If the skin is cold and wet, the body temperature will drop. This causes the major organs of the body to slow and the kitten's normal metabolic rate to decrease. Their still-developing immune systems will not kick in when the body temperature is retrograde. They are vulnerable to a miriad of malicious agents normally contained within the environment of your everyday household, no matter how clean you may keep it.

I cannot stress the emphasis of this strongly enough - never, ever fully immerse a kitten into water for any reason whatsoever.


Quote:
I have used it numerous times on both of my cat's litters. It's not harmful to newborn kittens. I used it on them when they were a couple hours old.
You were extremely lucky. But if you continue to take this risk with newborn kittens, it isn't a matter of IF your luck runs out, it is a matter of WHEN.

Quote:
I know everybody think that newborn kittens are really fragile and delicate, but they are much tougher than you would think. I have never had a kitten get ill before.
Yes, they are tougher than one might think, but to say they are not fragile and delicate is completely false. They must be handled gently and to put them in harm's way by bathing them when it isn't necessary is, IMO acting without THEIR best interest at heart. You are, essentially, doing that which is best for YOU. It takes time to properly comb a kitten for fleas. It can be frustrating when Momma is sitting outside the door or in whatever other way confined from getting her kitten back from you. You get stressed, the kitten is screaming, Mom is screaming ... nobody's happy. Who wouldn't want to find an easier, quicker way to address the problem??? But it is the ONLY way to safely remove fleas from newborns.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by gayef View Post
Just for the record, this is a very, very risky thing to do. The vet's office is the LAST place I would EVER take neonates. Their little immune systems are not fully functional nor are they fully developed, even with the first 24 to 48 hours of colostrum from the queen's milk and immunity from the plethora of malicious agents in a vet's office is absolutely NOT guaranteed.

As an alternative, you can always request a home visit if it is absolutely imperative that newborn kittens see a vet. Most vets will do them - yes, you might pay a little more for it, but to minimize the risk, it is, IMO worth every additional penny.

In defense of this, I wasn't going to the vet for the kittens, it was for the mama. I had her scheduled even before she gave birth. I found out she had worms before she gave birth so scheduled an appointment to get her dewormed so the babies wouldn't get worms. I also had to find out what to do about the fleas. What was I supposed to do??? Leave the 4 day old kittens at home by themselves while I drove 1 1/2 hours to take the mama to the vet??? They would have been by themselves w/o their mama for over 4 hours.


I will say upfront that I have absolutely no personal experience with using Capstar. I do not now, nor have I ever had a flea problem with my breeding cats. In cats I have cared for in the past, yes, but Capstar wasn't available as an option at that time.

Advantage is not recommended for use in kittens under 8 weeks old. Period. I wouldn't have it anywhere near them, especially not on their mother and especially not when they are only a couple of days old. Your vet may have had good luck with this in the past and that's great but I would counsel anyone who might stumble upon this thread in the future to think twice before following the advice of any anonymous stranger over the Internet - that statement includes me. The ~best~ thing to do before administering ANY medications to kittens or to a nursing queen is to discuss it thoroughly and candidly with your own trusted vet and to obtain any necessary medications and the instructions for their use ONLY from your vet.

What I used was not actually Capstar, it was Johnson's. It is exactly the same thing as Capstar, the only difference is that it comes from Europe. I bought it over the internet because it was the safest thing that I could find. The vet spent 30 minutes researching it over the internet just to make sure it was safe. Also, the vet had always used Advantage without any negative side effects. I would never put it directly onto the babies, I'm not stupid. As it spreads through the oils in the mamas hair it eventually gets onto the kittens in a diluted form and protects them from fleas.


No, it is NOT the best solution. Newborn kittens should never, ever be immersed in water for any reason. They do not possess the ability to regulate their own body temperature. Somewhat like reptiles, the body temperature in a newborn kitten will adapt to that of the environment around the body. If the skin is cold and wet, the body temperature will drop. This causes the major organs of the body to slow and the kitten's normal metabolic rate to decrease. Their still-developing immune systems will not kick in when the body temperature is retrograde. They are vulnerable to a miriad of malicious agents normally contained within the environment of your everyday household, no matter how clean you may keep it.

You were extremely lucky. But if you continue to take this risk with newborn kittens, it isn't a matter of IF your luck runs out, it is a matter of WHEN.

Yes, they are tougher than one might think, but to say they are not fragile and delicate is completely false. They must be handled gently and to put them in harm's way by bathing them when it isn't necessary is, IMO acting without THEIR best interest at heart. You are, essentially, doing that which is best for YOU. It takes time to properly comb a kitten for fleas. It can be frustrating when Momma is sitting outside the door or in whatever other way confined from getting her kitten back from you. You get stressed, the kitten is screaming, Mom is screaming ... nobody's happy. Who wouldn't want to find an easier, quicker way to address the problem??? But it is the ONLY way to safely remove fleas from newborns.
Again, I'm not stupid. I don't just bathe the kittens and let them sit there and get cold. I bathe them one at a time and rub each one down for about 5-10 minutes after Ieach one. After that I put the washed kitty back with it's mama and wait for her to completely dry it off before bathing another one.
Also, I never said that they were not fragile and delicate. I said they were not REALLY(meaning VERY/EXTREMELY) fragile and delicate. Big difference.

I don't appreciate you making me look bad either. You're saying that I'm doing what is best for ME. Believe me, it is a lot less stressful, time consuming, and frustrating to comb a kitten then it is to bathe one. By bathing them I am assuring that I am not only killing the adult fleas, but also the nits and eggs. You can only get the adults with the comb. Fleas can transfer worms, diseases, and can eventually kill a newborn kittens if there are alot of them. Therefore, you need to get rid of them as soon as possible for the kittens health. By combing you are only getting rid of some of them, and only for a short period of time. By bathing you get rid of all of them and, if correct measures are taken(advantage), you can assure that they will not return.

Please, I'm not trying to be rude, but you really make me sound like a terrible person who doesn't know what they are doing and doen't give a crud about the health of my cats and kittens. After my hubby, they are the most important things in my life. I love them all to pieces and would never do anything I think could harm them. So, please, don't make me look cruel because I'm really not. I just do what I think, and have been told, is best for my cats.
post #17 of 17
sorry, some of my responses are in the quote, others are not.
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