Itch itch. Scratch scratch scratch. Fleas on your kitty are not fabulous. And they’re not great for you, either!
Fleas are parasites that can cause a whole host of issues for everyone living in the house – people and animals alike. Flea infestations can cause a range of skin conditions and they’re unpleasant in many other ways as well.
When flea season comes around, you’ll need to be prepared. There are plenty of chemical options you can use to treat fleas on your cat – everything from collars to tablets to topical treatments.
But what about the cat owner who wants to go natural? What kind of options can you use?
In this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about natural flea treatments for your cat.
You’ve heard the saying, and it applies to fleas, too. It’s much better to prevent fleas from taking up residence on your pussin than it is to cure an active infestation.
While the methods listed here will help you to prevent fleas, no single method is going to work all the time, every time. You may need to combine a few of the different treatments in order to get full flea prevention.
The easiest way to prevent fleas on your cat is by restricting your cat’s access to the outdoors. Your kitty picks up fleas from established colonies in the surrounding area – it might be your yard, but it might also be your neighbor’s.
By limiting your pussin’s time outside, you limit the chances of fleas coming into your home.
Fleas hate water, so one of the best ways to get rid of fleas on your cat is to give them a gentle rinse with lukewarm water – the fleas will jump off trying to get away!
Of course, bathing your cat is its own kind of challenge, so be prepared for this simple task to be a lot more difficult than you might expect.
You can also use a natural shampoo to help keep fleas from re-establishing themselves on your kitty. You can buy products with lavender, cedar or eucalyptus extracts. Fleas don’t like these scents and they may be less likely to colonise your cat if her fur has a gentle scent from one of these repellents.
As always, make sure you choose a product that is . And remember that you can never rinse too much. When you think you’ve rinsed your cat enough, rinse again. And then rinse once more!
Your cat is going to use their tongue to groom after a bath, and it’s your responsibility to make sure no trace of shampoo is left on their fur to ingest.
Flea combs are specially designed with teeth very close together, so that they hook and catch any fleas or eggs on your kitty.
Using the comb, run it through the fur gently and make sure it reaches through the full thickness of your cat’s coat. Concentrate on areas where fleas like to hang out, such as under the arms and at the base of the tail.
When you see fleas on the comb, drown them in a bowl of soapy water. You need to do this to ensure you kill them, otherwise they can jump off and bury themselves in your rug or carpet, and then leap back onto your cat after the grooming session is over.
Using a flea comb on a daily basis is a good idea.
Fleas really are invasive. They lay eggs anywhere your cat likes to sleep – their bed, your carpet, the cat tower, their favorite box, the sofa – even on your bed.
If you’re tackling a flea infestation, you must make sure to treat the environment as well. Wash their bedding in hot soapy water at least once a week, and do the same for your own. Add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine and it will help.
Vacuum regularly and thoroughly, and empty the vacuum after every use. Try sprinkling salt liberally on any carpets first, as fleas don’t like salt and it will help to kill them.
You might like to have your carpets professionally cleaned on the first occasion, to give yourself an advantage, but it won’t get rid of the problem entirely. Make sure you vacuum every few days to collect the adults and eggs that will have been left behind.
Diatomaceous earth is a little-known remedy that’s actually one of the most effective. It’s a fine white powder made from an ancient type of algae – and it kills most insects directly on contact.
You can buy food-grade diatomaceous earth online. You can also sprinkle it on your rugs and carpets, and leave it a few hours before vacuuming it up. Try putting a ‘line of defence’ in all your doorways to stop fleas (and ants!) coming into your house along with your pussin.
Never use it directly on your pet as it can dry out their skin.
Many natural scents will repel fleas, such as cedarwood, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus and lavender. But is it safe to use essential oils around your cats?
You can also use these oils yourself to create similar products at home. Be aware that it’s critical you don’t OVER-treat with essential oils as that can cause separate problems.
You can try using cedar in your home to repel fleas. A few drops on your cat’s bed or tower, or cedar-infused balls, can help to keep the pests away. Some cats don’t like the smell of cedar though, so be prepared to pivot and adapt.
You can also add a drop of the oil to your pet’s collar as a natural repellent. Just one drop is all you need, mixed in one drop of alcohol (vodka works well). Never soak your cat’s collar in an essential oil – you can cause dangerous skin burns and reactions.
You can also grind up natural repellents such as lavender, rosemary or pennyroyal, and sprinkle this around your home to help repel fleas naturally – while leaving your house smelling beautiful.