Sunday 31 December 2023

What do I do if I have three cats and one dog all with fleas and I can’t afford flea medication?

Pray! The disturbing question is on the website. It is a question of hopelessness. A question which tells us that the person who asked it does not have enough money to be a good cat caregiver. Sorry but that is the only conclusion. It might not be their fault but you can't be a good cat owner on a shoestring. You have to have some money for the basics. Ensuring that your cats are flea-free is one on the basics. Flea combing can keep fleas under control if there is one cat and the home or flat is flea-free.

Cat fleas and treatments – comprehensive page

Budgeting cat caregiving
Budgeting :) - image: MikeB

But if there are three cats and one dog, all with fleas, there will be fleas throughout the home as well. Flea combing only won't fix the problem.

The only way to get rid of them is to use a flea spot-on treatment for the cats and the dog and clean the entire place top to bottom and maintain a high level of cleanliness. Get rid of the carpets too!

And use flea treatments for cats on cats and flea treatments for dogs on dogs. Don't mix them up or use dog flea treatments on cats to save money as it can kill cats. There are lots of examples.

The question might go back to the beginning - the moment when the person decided to acquire some cats and a dog. They did not ask themselves the question: "Can I afford three cats and one dog?" Or can I afford one cat and one dog? Clearly not. They don't have enough money.

Perhaps they fell on hard times and started off with money. I'll grant them that. It can happen. But the more likely reason is that they adopted too many cats because they fancied another cat and didn't really ask themselves some tough questions and provide honest answers. Three cats and one dog is not hoarding but all cat hoarders end up being out of their depth. They can't cope.

Idea: go to a pet food bank and save money on pet food and use the money saved on buying flea treatments.

Pet food listed banks in a map of the USA and UK

The adoption of cats and dogs starts before the animal is adopted. It is called budgeting. Knowing that you can afford to look after the animal for their entire life barring some unforeseen catastrophe. This is a lifetime commitment. If it can't be made the cat should not be adopted.

I am being tough and perhaps harsh but there are too many cat ownership failures which is why we have millions of feral and stray cats. Ferals and strays are a clear sign of failure in cat domestication. It is estimated that there might be over 200 million feral/stray cats in the world. Each one is a human failure.


There are food banks and pet food banks in the USA. There are food banks for people in many countries. Some - perhaps many - pet owners struggle to care for their pets well. Fleas are the biggest health risk for cats. Why aren't the pet food banks stocking over the counter cat spot-on flea treatments such as Frontline?

P.S. please forgive the occasional typo. These articles are written at breakneck speed using Dragon Dictate. I have to prepare them in around 20 mins.

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