Foster kittens

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QuestionsCategory: Flea InfestationsFoster kittens
Amanda Frost asked 1 year ago

Hi. I fostered 2 kittens and having never seen a flea before I had no idea they were infested. I had them for 3 months. I have 2 cats of my own that were never treated with any anti flea stuff previously because they are indoor cats. As soon as i found the infestation the kittens left and I gave my cats capstar, revolution and 2 weeks later, Frontline (as per my vets instructions) I also had My whole house sprayed by an exterminator 3 times. I\’m still finding many fleas in the traps we have. My cats are still on Frontline as of 3 months from the infestation but tonight I found about 3 live fleas on one of my cats. What can I do now?! Am I missing something? Are there just a lot of them and they will eventually die? Can the ones that I just found on my cat be newly hatched ones that will die as soon as they bite her? Please advise. I\’m ready to burn all my clothes!

1 Answers
Adam Retzer Staff answered 1 year ago


Sorry to hear about your flea problem.

It usually take around 8 weeks after treatment to end an infestation. However, it can take longer, especially if the infestation is severe. If you didn’t notice the fleas right away, they likely had time to mate and lay many, many eggs.

If your cats are treated with Frontline, then any fleas emerging from the environment will die when they jump onto them. Continue the monthly Frontline treatments until the infestation completely ends.

Exterminator treatments usually aren’t as effective as people hope. 95-99% of flea infestations consist of eggs, larvae and pupae living in the environment. Insecticide sprays have limited effect on these stages, because they often live deep within carpets. Insecticide sprays can’t penetrate the carpets well. In addition, the insecticides have a relatively short residual effect. This is why it is important to use an insect growth regulator (IGR) in the sprays.

IGRs last for 7 months. These compounds mimic natural insect hormones that control development. Exposed eggs and larvae aren’t able to reach adulthood. So, any new eggs falling into the environment won’t survive. Do you know if the exterminator applied an IGR? The two common compounds are pyriproxyfen (Nylar) and methoprene (Precor). If not, it may be a good idea to apply some yourself. You can purchase IGR concentrate (without any other more toxic chemicals). For example, Martin’s IGR.

It’s important to regularly vacuum when you are dealing with fleas. Pre-emerged adults are the biggest problem stage. These cocooned adults can stay quiescent for up to 5 months. However, they’ll rapidly emerge when they detect a host laying on their cocoon (heat and pressure). Vacuuming simulates these host cues and forces these latent fleas to emerge and then die.

In summary, it sounds you’re on the right track. Continue the monthly Frontline treatments, vacuum regularly, and consider spraying and IGR (if the exterminator hasn’t already).

Hope this helps,

Amanda Frost replied 1 year ago

Thank you so much for your quick response.
The exterminator did use igr. But I guess my next question is, if he missed any spots and they have no hosts (keeping them on Frontline) will they eventually die out? I’m not getting bitten and I don’t really find them on me but I just want to make sure that this will eventually end.

Adam Retzer Staff replied 1 year ago

I’d assume the exterminator didn’t miss any spots. Even if he did, studies have shown that flea drops for dogs and cats (Advantage II or Frontline Plus) can end an infestation on their own. Like you say, the flea drops will prevent the fleas from having a suitable host. The infestation will become extinct once all the immature stages mature, emerge, and then die when they jump onto the treated cats. The IGR in the environment just greatly speeds up the eradication process, and adds a level of redundancy to ensure all the fleas die. The IGR is also useful for preventing re-infestations, since it lasts for 7 months indoors.

If you’re worried that the exterminator missed any spots, especially hot-spots where your cats often rest, you could treat the areas yourself. Premise sprays, or IGR concentrate, can be purchased online relatively cheaply (under $20). Martin’s concentrate, referenced in my previous reply, comes in a small size suitable for indoor use. And for premise sprays, Precor 2000 Plus is a good product and cheaper than its competitors.