HEALTH & CARE

Flea Bath for Cats: How to Rid Your Cat of Fleas without Chemicals

Image showing a cat taking a flea bath
Stella Noble
Written by Stella Noble

We’ve all had the misfortune of discovering that our beloved feline is infested with fleas. There is a variety of flea treatments that will eliminate these nasty pests from your cat, but they usually contain harsh chemicals that can provoke allergies and be harmful to your feline’s health. If you’re looking for a more natural approach to eliminating those blood-sucking parasites, flea bath for cats is a thing you must try.

A flea infestation is a huge problem because not only will it make your cat itch so much that he may hurt himself as he tries to relieve it, flea bites can also be a source of infections and diseases. But the worst part has to be how resilient these little creatures are.

Image showing an orange cat taking a bath

To this date, there is no permanent solution that can eradicate all the fleas infesting your cat in an instant and make him impervious to future afflictions. But if you know how to give a cat a flea bath and you do it routinely, it shouldn’t be impossible to keep your cat clean and healthy.

You will learn the benefits of using natural ingredients to tackle your cat’s flea infestation, how to make that bathing experience stress-free for your feline, and how maybe in time they will become a fun routine that will deepen the bond you share. We will also explain which plants are best to use for a flea bath, and why you should never use essential oils instead of dried herbs.

Natural Vs. Chemical Approach in Treating Fleas

There is no denying that the vast assortment of products intended for flea control is an easy fix. Commercial flea treatments are fast-acting solutions designed to lure you in when you are at your weakest—desperate to help your cat as her eyes plead for you to make it stop.

Pesticides that are put in this products do kill fleas, but can also jeopardize the health of your cat. Vomiting, fevers, burn marks around the cat’s neck from friction against the collar, and sometimes death are all conceivable side effects of using the chemical approach in treating fleas.

Image showing a cat in a towel after the bath

There is no need to put your feline’s health and life in jeopardy when you can use natural ingredients to make a homemade flea bath for cats. A natural approach to getting rid of fleas is no less successful than commercial ones, but it is without side-effects. Many of the herbs that are used in flea treatments also have a positive effect on your cat’s skin and hair.

Natural ingredients will not only they get rid of the nasty inhabitants of your cat’s fur, but they will also soothe your cat’s skin. A homemade flea bath can help your cat recover quicker from bite marks and scratches. We’ll explain more about how different natural ingredients can have a different soothing effect on your cat in the section below.

Homemade Flea Bath Recipes for Cats

With a little effort, you can easily make a homemade flea bath mixture. The recipes we’re going to share with you today will not only remove any fleas currently sucking away at your cat’s blood but will also repel others from invading your cat.

Image showing a cat taking a bath

Some of these ingredients you already have in your pantry, and if you don’t, all of them are easily found in your local store. All of these flea repellent herbs are perfectly safe and don’t have any side effects even if your cat licks her fur after use.

Homemade Flea Bath #1: Rosemary Wash

Rosemary is a natural flea repellent ingredient. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that will help soothe the itch in the skin. This mixture is very easy to make. You will only need fresh rosemary leaves and water.

  • First, take two cups of fresh rosemary leaves and two pints of water. Depending on your cat’s size, you can double the ingredients.

  • Bring the water to a boil before adding rosemary leaves, and let it boil for another 30 minutes.

  • Leave the mixture to cool.

  • Store the mixture in a glass bottle and use it on your cat only when it’s completely cold.

Apply the mixture to your cat’s fur. You can wash your cat with cat shampoo before applying the flea bath. One important thing to note is that you don’t need to rinse the rosemary wash from your cat’s fur. Just dry your cat with towels after the bath is over.

Image presenting Eucalyptus Rosemary Collection

You can store any excess rosemary water in the fridge. If your cat’s infestation is particularly bad, maybe you will need to repeat the bath once every other day until all the fleas are gone. With a smaller infestation, one bath should do the trick. Rosemary bath will make your cat’s fur soft and shiny and at last flea-free.

Homemade Flea Bath #2: Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

Fleas hate the smell of apple cider vinegar, and that’s why it is so good for repelling them. It doesn’t affect the natural Ph. levels so it can be used on kittens as well. To make this natural flea-repellant, you need equal amounts of apple cider vinegar mixed with your cat’s regular shampoo.

Image showing detox bath epsom salt apple cider vinegar baking soda natural remove toxins

Start by applying the shampoo mixture on your cat’s neck first. When you are sure that the neck area is totally covered and that the fleas have nowhere to run, gently rub shampoo onto the rest of your kitty’s fur. Let it sit for 5 minutes, and in the meantime offer your cat treats and soothing words that will make her stay calm a while longer.

When the 5 minutes are up, rinse your cat thoroughly and dry her with towels. Apple cider vinegar is a great conditioner, and you don’t have to worry when you see your cat grooming that she is ingesting something poisonous. Just let your kitty enjoy here flea-free fur.

Homemade Flea Bath #3: Herbal Bath

For this bath, you will need two cups of apple cider vinegar, one cup of water, one tablespoon of dried neem leaf, catnip, lavender, and peppermint leaf. If you can’t find all of these herbs dry, don’t try to substitute them with essential oils. Cats are sensitive, and some oils can provoke an allergic reaction. Mix all of the ingredients and leave them to steep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for one or two weeks. This mixture is very effective in killing and repelling fleas.

Image showing herbal bath bags

To use this homemade flea bath, start with your cat’s neck, and work your way through her fur. You can wash your cat with her shampoo before applying this mixture because you don’t have to wash it off. Don’t be afraid if your cat is ravenous with her grooming. This bath is perfectly non-poisonous for your cat and doesn’t have any side-effects.

Homemade Flea Bath #4: Lavender Bath

To make this homemade flea bath for cats, you need only fresh lavender and water. Leave the lavender to soak in the water overnight and then use it to bathe your kitty. Besides the wonderful smell, lavender is great for your cat’s skin and fur and will fight off the fleas effectively.

Soap and Lavender flowers. Spa elements.

After you’ve prepared everything to make your kitty comfortable during the bath, use the lavender water to soak your cat’s fur. You can wash your cat with shampoo before applying the flea repellent mixture to get rid of dirt and any flea eggs. There is no need to rinse this homemade flea repellent. You can just towel dry your cat.

Homemade Flea Bath #5: Lemon Juice Bath

Lemon homemade flea bath for cats is highly efficient, and fresh lemons are easily found. To make this mixture, cut two to three lemons and let them boil with water for a few minutes. After that let them steep in the water for several hours. Strain the mixture from lemon particulates, and you are all set.

Image showing Lemon Juice in a bowl on a table

Soak your cat fur and pay special attention to the most flea infected regions—usually around the base of the tail and behind the ears. Be careful not to get any of the mixtures in your cat’s eyes. To make sure that the bathing experience is less stressful, place some of your cat’s favorite toys in the bath with her to make her feel more relaxed.

Homemade Flea Bath #6: Chamomile Bath

Flea bites can cause serious damage to your cat’s skin, and all that scratching is not helpful at all. That’s where chamomile bath steps up on stage. Depending on the state of your cat’s skin, you can make a weaker or stronger mixture. Use chamomile tea bags and make a bath for your cat as you would make tea for yourself.

Organic and All Natural Chamomile Eucalyptus Bath Salts

Soak your cat’s fur as much as you can so that the chamomile could reach your cat’s skin. This mixture is gentle but also strong. Because of its soothing properties, it can be used on kittens and adult cats. You can use this homemade flea bath for cats daily until he is finally free of fleas.

Tips on How to Give Your Cat a Flea Bath

We are well aware that the first thing that comes to your mind when reading an article about giving a bath to a cat is that it is highly unlikely that your cat will go for it. You may picture yourself with bandaged hands up to your elbows.

Image showing a Sphinx cat taking a bath

But it isn’t impossible, and we will provide you with information how to prepare yourself and your cat, and make that first bathing experience less traumatic for both of you if this is your first time bathing your kitty.

Prior Preparations

There are some prior preparations you should make before bathing your cat so that it’ll be smooth-sailing without both sides sustaining any unwanted strain or injuries:

  • Always brush your cat before bathing. Tangled hair and hair knots will be that much harder to remove from wet fur.

  • Play with your cat before bath. This will tire your kitty out and improve her mood, so the likelihood of her trying to escape will be considerably less.

  • Prepare towels that you will use to dry your cat’s fur after and keep them close. No need for your kitty to stay wet longer than necessary.

  • If you are not confident that you can handle bathing your cat alone, ask someone to help you. It is better to have an extra pair of hands than risking your kitty injuring herself by trying to escape.

  • Place a towel or a rubber mat in your tub, so your cat doesn’t slip.

  • Fill your tub with a few inches of water, and prepare jugs or pots that will help you rinse your cat.

  • Clip your cat’s nails before the bath. She doesn’t want to hurt you, but her instincts may force her to.

The Actual Bath

Now that you finished with all necessary preparations, it is time to get your cat and start the flea bath.

Image showing an unhappy cat in bath

If you think that your cat will feel more comfortable and more at ease, you can bath her in the sink, or a small tub.

  • Use the water from the tub to wet your kitty’s neck first. This is important because fleas will try to escape from the water to the dry fur on your cat’s head.

  • Use one of the aforementioned homemade flea bath mixtures to soak your cat’s fur.

  • Use gentle motions to rub the mixture through your kitty’s fur.

  • When you are sure that you have covered all of your cat’s fur, it is time for rinsing. Use already prepared jugs or pots with warm water. Don’t try to rinse your cat with a showerhead, as the sound of running water can be overwhelming for your cat.

  • Rinse your cat until you are sure that the mixture is completely washed off.

  • Wrap the towels around your cat and rub gently to dry her fur. Use how many are necessary to dry your cat. Avoid blow drying your cat if possible as it can be a traumatic experience and can make skin-burns.

It is important that during the bath you talk to your kitty in a calm and soothing manner. You can also offer her some treats for her good behavior, and use motions similar to those when you pet her so that she will feel at ease. All is done. You and your cat survived the flea bathing experience. It wasn’t so bad, don’t you think? 

Image showing a cat taking bath

Now it’s time to give your kitty her favorite food or treat. You can also go and treat yourself to a job well done. Pet your cat and tell her how great she did, and that those nasty fleas will no longer bother her. Although, those homemade flea baths won’t be of much use if you don’t get rid of the fleas inside your house.

Keeping Your House Free of Fleas

There are many natural solutions for a flea-free house that will not endanger the health of your cat and your family. Regular washing of your kitten’s beddings and vacuuming can help you a great deal in getting rid fleas. If the flea infestation on your feline and in your house is so bad that nothing seems to work, it is best to take your cat to the vet.

Close-up image of a vacuum-cleaner-for-carpets

It is important that you don’t let things go so out of control. You can accomplish that with regular brushing of your cat’s fur. On the first sign of scratching do a thorough search of your cats for fleas.

Even if you don’t find any, you can still bathe them with one of our homemade anti-flea mixtures. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and as there are no side effects to worry about, you can do this as often as you want.

Wrap Up

It is possible to get rid of your cat’s flies using natural ingredients, and homemade flea bath for cats is one of the best ways to do it. Many cat owners don’t fancy the idea of bathing their cat because the cat can go quite crazy due to their fear of water, but it is also possible to give your cat a nice bath experience and walk out of it without a scratch. We believe that the tips and tricks we mentioned above should improve the experience for you and your cat tremendously.

Image showing a cat preparing to take a bath

Do you often give your cat flea baths? Do you have a homemade recipe of your own that we didn’t mention in this article? Share your experiences and any recipes for natural flea baths in the comments section below.

About the author
Stella Noble
Stella Noble

Stella Noble lives in Warren, Michigan with her family and three cats. She is a Certified Cat Trainer and a member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants.

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