HEALTH & CARE

How to Get Rid Of Fleas on Cats: Simple But Effective Flea Treatments

cat itching because of fleas
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

A flea infestation is not just an unpleasant problem—it’s downright unhealthy for your cat and you. Flea bites are frustratingly itchy, and if you got bitten in areas where other people can see them—well, the rashes can be very embarrassing. Just imagine how your cat is feeling if she’s suffering from a full-blown flea infestation. Moreover, fleas are also known to carry various diseases. So if you have babies or kids at home, it’s really important to make sure that you know how to get rid of fleas on cats so you can keep everyone safe and healthy.

As soon as you see signs of fleas on your cat or in your home, it’s best to get rid of them right away. This will help ensure your pet’s health, and quite possibly, yours too. But it’s easier said than done. Fleas are notoriously stubborn. You need to act quickly, or they could grow resistant to your anti-flea measures.

kittenn itching because of fleas

Therefore, not only do you need to learn of some fast-acting ways to treat fleas on cats, but you will also want to be aware of different methods to get rid of fleas on your feline pet. And don’t forget that the methods should also be as safe and natural as possible. If you’re looking for all sorts of information on how to get rid of fleas on cats, you’ve come to the right place.

This article discusses different ways to treat fleas on your cat and prevent them from coming back. First, we’ll talk about the warning signs that tell you your pet may be suffering from fleas. This article will also tackle various remedies—both homemade and commercial—that are known to be effective against fleas. In this article, you will also find tips on cleaning your house to remove fleas and how to prevent these pests from coming back.

How to Tell If Your Feline Pet Has Fleas

checking cat for fleas

Adult fleas thrive on warm-bodied hosts, and your feline pet’s warm fur is an irresistible haven for fleas. So, what are the signs that your cat is unintentionally providing pesky fleas with a warm snack? Here are some questions that will help you find out.

  • Does your cat exhibit sudden, frantic, or excessive scratching?

  • Can you see signs of movement in your pet’s fur even when your cat is staying still?

  • Do you see red skin lesions on your cat’s skin?

  • Is your pet showing signs of restlessness, lethargy, and agitation?

  • Is your cat unable to sleep peacefully, waking up every now and then and scratching herself?

Answering yes to any three of these means you need to take action immediately. There are many ways to get rid of fleas, from using natural remedies to chemicals, shampoos, and collars. Each has its own advantages, and you can use one or a combination of these methods, depending on your preference as well as the vet’s advice.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats Using Commercial Products

cat wearing flea collar

The easiest and fastest way to be rid of fleas is to use commercially available products. Since flea infestation in cats is a common issue, there is no shortage of commercial products for you to choose from.

Commercial Product #1: Flea Collars

The insecticides and chemicals in the collar repel and kill fleas. When using a flea collar, closely observe your cat’s reaction to the collar. Cats are very sensitive to chemicals and insecticides, and some cats will have negative reactions to flea collars.

If you see any signs of allergy, skin reaction, or erratic behavior on your cat, remove the flea collar immediately. The other thing you need to watch out for when using a flea collar is that your cat may chew on the collar and ingest the insecticide in it.

Commercial Product #2: Flea Shampoos

bathing a cat with shampoo

Medicated shampoos used to treat fleas on pets are typically effective against adult fleas. The medicine in the shampoo kills the fleas on contact. But if while shampooing your cat, you’re keeping your pet’s head dry, the fleas will gather on your cat’s head to avoid the chemical in the shampoo.

You can use a flea comb to remove the fleas from your pet’s crown. Alternatively, you can place a collar of sudsy shampoo around your cat’s neck before you shampoo her body, to prevent the fleas from going to your cat’s head.

When buying a flea shampoo, make sure you buy one that is specifically used for cats. Flea shampoos for dogs may contain chemicals that are not safe for feline pets.

See Also: How to Bathe a Cat

Commercial Product #3: Spot-On Treatments

spot-on treatment against fleas

This type of treatment is very effective against fleas on cats. However, you need to remember that spot-on treatments are actually insecticides, and act as nerve poison to fleas. Some cats may show negative reactions such as drooling or erratic behavior.

See Also: How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

When using spot-on treatments, you simply place a drop of the insecticide in between your pet’s shoulder blades. Some spot-on treatments target flea eggs, while others target adult fleas. You can combine spot-on treatments for flea eggs and nitenpyram to get rid of both the flea eggs and the adults.

Commercial Product #4: Nitenpyram

offerring pills to orange cat

If you’re in an emergency and you need to know how to get rid of fleas on cats fast, nitenpyram is an orally administered drug that acts really fast. Once consumed, it is absorbed into your cat’s bloodstream, and any fleas snacking on your cat’s blood will also ingest the drug.

Nitenpyram is extremely effective against adult fleas and can kill these pests within 30 minutes to 48 hours. However, the drug does not kill flea eggs or larvae, so you will need to take additional measures to fully get rid of the flea infestation on your cat and in your home.

To administer nitenpyram, put the pill in your cat’s mouth and have your pet swallow it. If your cat is having difficulties taking the pill, you can hide the pill in your pet’s food. Just make sure to pay attention while your cat is feeding, to confirm that she actually swallowed the medicine. One pill is usually effective enough to kill the fleas on your cat.

See Also: How to Get a Cat to Take a Pill

Note that nitenpyram should not be given to cats and pets less than 2 pounds in body weight and less than four years old. Before giving your cat nitenpyram, it is best to consult your local vet to make sure you give your cat the right dosage.

See Also: How to Help a Cat Gain Weight

Commercial Product #5: Flea Sprays and Powders

You can sprinkle flea powder on your cat’s fur to get rid of any living fleas on your cat. It’s also a good idea to put some flea powder on your cat’s bedding or to use flea spray on the areas your cat frequents. Fleas can jump off of your cat and settle on the bedding, carpet or sofa. If you’re using a flea spray, it’s best to make sure all these areas are covered.

You should also spray or sprinkle some powder in your yard, as fleas and ticks are also often found in yards, and they can hop from there into your home.

How to Get Rid Of Fleas on Cats Using Home Remedies

If you’re apprehensive about using any of the above commercial products, you will want to know how to get rid of fleas on cats home remedy. It’s perfectly understandable for cat parents to be concerned about using chemicals and insecticides on their beloved feline children. Not to mention that your cat may have allergic reactions to insecticides, it’s also a good idea to use natural ingredients when there are kids and babies in the house.

Home Remedy #1: DIY Flea Bath

giving cat flea bath

If you’ve heard of dish soaps as flea killers, then you might be wondering how to get rid of fleas on cats with Dawn. Fleas have a waxy covering all over their body, which enables them to float on the water surface. Dawn, a surfactant, reduces the surface tension of the water, and as a result, fleas sink instead of just remaining on the water’s surface.

Give your cat a flea bath by adding several drops of Dawn to the bath water. Make sure you wear gloves, as your pet may scratch and bite. Thoroughly bathe your pet, but make sure that the soapy water doesn’t get into her eyes as it may cause irritation.

Also, make sure it’s just a quick bath since Dawn is basically a detergent, and is generally harsher than flea shampoos. If you’re concerned that the chemicals in Dawn will strip off your feline pet’s natural protective oils, you can simply put water on a plate, add a few drops of Dawn, and place it under a lamp or a bright light. This will serve as a great flea trap.

See Also: Flea Bath for Cats

Home Remedy #2: Borax or Boric Acid

Both boron-related compounds work well for pest control. You can find pure borax powder in the laundry aisle of your local grocery store, or you can get boric acid from a hardware shop. Pure borax in water and borax powder are often used as a mild antiseptic, fungicide, insecticide, and even as a household cleaner.

The good thing about borax is that it’s non-toxic to humans. For fleas, however, borax is deadly. It acts as a desiccant so that when fleas come in contact with borax, they get severe dehydration and die. As a flea treatment, borax is effective against flea eggs and larva, so it’s always a good idea to use another treatment that targets adult fleas.

Applying borax is quite simple. Just sprinkle it on your cat’s bedding, the carpet, and any other area your cat frequents. When applying borax on your carpet, make sure to spread the powder over the whole surface. You can use a broom to work the powder deep into the carpet.

Home Remedy #3: Flea Comb

flea comb for a cat

Using a flea comb will help remove flea eggs and adults on your cat’s fur, but a flea comb doesn’t kill these pests. Thus, flea combs should be used in combination with other flea treatments.

Home Remedy #4: Vinegar and Water

vinegar used against fleas

This is the most convenient home remedy against fleas because you’ll always have these ingredients at home. It’s also very simple to prepare. Just mix equal parts of water and vinegar, put it in a spray bottle, and apply to flea-infested areas in your home, like your cat’s bedding, the carpet, the couch, or even in your yard.

When misting it on your cat, be careful so that it doesn’t get into your cat’s eyes, nose, and ears. Alternatively, you can use apple cider vinegar and mix a few drops of it to your cat’s drinking water. If you have distilled white vinegar at home, you can also use a mixture of that and water to rinse your cat after a flea bath.

Note that water and vinegar mixtures serve only to repel fleas. It’s best to use this method in combination with other flea-killing treatments.

Home Remedy #5: Brewer’s Yeast Supplement

This serves as a flea repellant, so if your cat’s regular diet includes brewer’s yeast supplement, fleas will stay away from your pet. You can simply mix a teaspoon of the supplement into your cat’s food every time you feed your pet.

Home Remedy #6: Rosemary

Rosemary used against fleas

For a milder flea dip, you can use rosemary. To prepare the dip, pour 2 cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water. Let it steep for half an hour. Remove the leaves by straining the liquid. Mix it with 1 to 2 gallons of warm water. Let it cool down a bit until the temperature is good enough to be comfortable for your cat.

Let your cat soak in the mixture. Rosemary is a flea repellant, and it has anti-inflammatory properties, so it will help soothe any itchiness your cat may be feeling.

How to De-Flea Your Home

Once fleas have gotten into your home, you can’t be sure that these pests will stay still in one location. Fleas jump all over the place—which enables them to travel from your cat to the carpet, to the couch, to your cat’s bedding, or even to your skin. Completely getting rid of a flea infestation means not just treating your cat, but also giving your home a thorough cleaning.

Method #1: Use the Vacuum Daily

vacuuming the carpet

You can get rid of flea eggs and live fleas this way. Just make sure you thoroughly vacuum the carpets and reach the cracks and crevices on the floor to make sure you get all the flea eggs that may have gotten there.

Be careful when removing the canister or emptying the vacuum as some eggs may have hatched inside the vacuum bag. It’s always a good idea to wash the canister using warm soapy water after you’re done cleaning.

Method #2: Wash the Covers Regularly

washing the carpet

At least once a week, make sure to strip off your cat’s bedding, sofa covers, your bedding, and any other washable fabric that your feline pet may have come into contact with. Use hot water when washing to kill any fleas that may have gotten on the fabrics. You can add a little borax powder into the water, or you can use laundry detergents that contain borax powder. After washing, use a hot dryer, if possible.

Method #3: Flea Bombs

This is perhaps the most drastic flea treatment, and should only be used when the flea infestation is extremely severe. Your family and pets should all leave the house while the flea bombs are in use. It’s best to consult an expert before you use a flea bomb, or you can have professionals do it for you.

Wrap Up

tabby cat itching

Fleas are irritating insects that pose a lot of health risks for your feline pet. Getting rid of these pests will not only make your cat healthier and more comfortable, but it will also make your home a safer place. Hopefully, this guide has given you great insights on how to get rid of fleas on cats naturally.

Did we miss any crucial information? If you have any experience battling fleas, do let us know how it went for you and your pet in the comments section below. In case it is not fleas that you are dealing with, but ticks, check out this article on how to keep your cat tick-free.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.

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