How to Find Feline Fleas and Stamp Them Out Naturally
Fleas are uncomfortable and distressing for both you and your cat. Stay alert for signs of their presence, and treat as soon as possible to prevent full-on infestations. Using natural preventative measures is also a wise move.
Identifying the Foe
It may be obvious when your cat picks up fleas. Many cats instantly begin to scratch more, and on pale fur, the insects themselves can be visible crawling or jumping around. However, darker-furred animals that do not react much to flea movement may not show an infestation until it is severe. It is a good idea to groom your pet regularly, even if it has short fur, as this helps you spot any insects or bite marks. You can also tell if there are fleas by examining any black specks on your pet's skin or bedding. If these smear red, they are flea droppings, filled with blood.
Treating Your Pet
Grooming your pet is also the first stage in getting rid of fleas. Using a fine tooth comb or a specially designed flea comb, thoroughly go over your cat's coat to remove any adult fleas. These can be drowned in a bowl of soapy water or alcohol as you collect them. If your cat does not mind the smell, misting the fur with diluted lemon juice or cider vinegar beforehand helps to disturb the fleas and encourage them to show themselves. The residue these sprays leave also helps to deter new infestations.
Giving your pet a dust bath in food-grade diatomaceous earth also helps to remove a current infestation. The tiny particles in the earth abrade fleas' skins and cause them to bleed out, but the particles are too small to harm cats or people as long as you take care not to breathe in the dust.
Treating the House
Diatomaceous earth is also useful for treating areas where your cat sleeps or sits regularly. After washing whatever items you can at the highest temperature possible and tumble drying to kill more eggs with the heat, dust these areas with diatomaceous earth and rub it in well to kill any stragglers or newly emerging fleas.
Setting shallow dishes of soapy water around these areas is another way to kill fleas. They investigate the shiny surfaces, fall in and drown, particularly if you use water at around blood temperature placed under a good light source.
Deterring Future Attacks
Vacuuming regularly with a powerful cleaner helps to remove eggs and young fleas from soft furnishings and carpets. Do this after using diatomaceous earth, and any eggs or pupae that survive being sucked up are abraded and destroyed by the earth in the cleaner's bag or cylinder. Disposing of the bag contents immediately helps prevent reinfestation. Vinegar or lemon spritzes on your cat or its resting places help to deter fleas, which do not like the smell, but this depends on your cat tolerating the scent itself.
Cats are beloved companions for millions of people around the world, but they bring increased risks of parasites and other unwelcome additions to the house. Fleas are one of the most common cat parasites, so it is important to know how to spot them and deal with them quickly before they become a bigger issue.