Long story short...we came home after 5 days away with our 1.5 year old and noticed that the wherever the cat slept or lounged there was cat hair and little particles that looked like black pepper.
A quick internet search pointed to fleas. My wife bought a flea collar for the kitty (~$50 for a time release collar good for 8 months...that hurt the wallet) and a flea comb.
She proceeded to comb 40-50 fleas off of kitty. (Awhile ago I noticed spots on kitty's neck that were scabbed over. I should have guessed that it was probably from scratching.)
I also saw a flea on the carpet and then it sprang away.
My question is, what is the cheapest, safest and most efficient way to get rid of these suckers. Is there a permanent solution? I have a 1.5 year old so I'm concerned with using chemicals.