Fleas. No one likes them. They jump and bite and make us itch, and when you see your furry feline friends in distress because of them, you want to step in and help. But what can you do? There are several ways to get rid of irritating cat fleas naturally, and we will discuss all you need to know to be able to help your cat without using harmful chemicals.
Unfortunately, finding pesky cat fleas on felines is common, especially regarding rescuing feral and stray cats. Cat fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are the most commonly seen type of flea. They can be a major source of irritation for both cats and their owners, and they can even transmit diseases. Eliminating these fleas can be a challenge, but with persistence, you can be rid of this pest for good!
Topical flea and tick preventatives are one of the best ways to keep your cat safe from these parasitic insects. But, when these aren't effective or are inaccessible for one reason or another, your cat is almost certain to get cat fleas.
Identifying Fleas on Your Cat
Excessive scratching and grooming are the most frequent signs that cats with fleas display. If you observe your cat engaging in these activities, you may want to use a flea comb to inspect their fur for black specks, which are commonly referred to as flea dirt. Additionally, you can examine the skin around your cat's tail base or under their armpits for moving black dots.
Getting Rid of Cat Fleas on Your Cat - Naturally
If you happen to have a cat who has fleas, following these five tips can help you eliminate these irritating insects from your cat.
Keep Cats Indoors - Fleas Out
Limiting your cat's outdoor exposure and keeping them indoors is one of the most effective ways to prevent them from getting fleas. Additionally, removing your shoes before entering your home can help prevent the inadvertent tracking of fleas indoors. If you have other pets, like dogs, that may bring fleas inside; you may need to take additional precautions to avoid a flea infestation.
Maintaining Laundry and Vacuuming
Vacuuming your carpets, rugs, and upholstery is one of the most effective ways to keep cat fleas at bay. Make sure to clean out the vacuum while outdoors to keep all that dust and dirt from reentering your home.
Make sure not to forget to neglect your feline's favorite place to nap. Covering your cat's bed or furniture with blankets or towels, ensuring you launder them every few days in hot water to kill any fleas, including their eggs and larvae stages.
Using a Flea Comb
If your cat ends up with fleas, one effective way to remove them without the use of chemicals is to use a flea comb. Flea combs have a row of narrowly spaced teeth that are able to trap any fleas that might be in their path.
Be sure to comb through your cat's fur slowly and thoroughly, inspecting the comb for fleas and flea dirt after each stroke. If you find fleas on the comb, you can dunk it into a bowl of water mixed with a concentrated liquid soap. The soap helps by trapping the fleas so they can't climb out, and they ultimately drown. Do this each day until no more fleas are seen. After you've successfully removed the fleas, you can follow up by continuing this treatment once a week to help keep the cat fleas from returning.
Washing Fleas Away
One of the best ways to get rid of fleas on cats is a good bath, which will help to drown fleas and remove them from your cat's fur and skin. Try a shampoo with a low concentration of natural oils known to repel fleas, such as cedar, lavender, eucalyptus, or citrus. A diluted solution of apple cider vinegar may also help get rid of fleas.
Read More: A Guide On How and When to Bathe Your Cat
Note: As high concentrations of essential oils can be toxic to cats, it is important to verify that the concentration is diluted (usually to approximately 5%) before using any essential oil products and to seek advice from your veterinarian if you have any inquiries or if you notice any negative effects.
Creating a Flea-Free Backyard
If you suspect that fleas are being brought into your home from outside, you can take steps to treat the area around your house to deter them. Regularly remove debris and leaves, and plant aromatic herbs like lavender and fennel to repel fleas. You can also use food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) in the soil to eliminate fleas and their eggs without using chemicals.
Eliminating fleas on cats requires persistence, so regardless of which method you choose, it's crucial to stick with it. If you are still struggling to get rid of your cat's fleas, consider consulting your veterinarian to explore a flea control program that may involve administering a long-lasting medication to prevent fleas.