3 Home Remedies for Killing and Preventing Feline Fleas
Fleas can pose significant health risks, but with a little diligence you can prevent and control infestations. Although flea combs, baths and some natural repellents are safe and effective, it is always a good idea to work closely with your vet on any parasite-control programs.
Keep It Clean
The good news is that small infestations are fairly easy to get rid of without any chemicals, but it does take a bit of work. Keep a close eye on your cat for any symptoms of fleas, such as excessive grooming or scratching. If you do find fleas, thoroughly groom your cat with a flea comb and give it a bath if it can tolerate one. Fleas do not grip the cat's skin or hair, so a good rinse is enough to wash them away.
Also keep the environment clean and free of fleas, or your cat may simply get re-infested. Vacuum your house thoroughly and diligently, including the furniture. If your cat has a bed or pillow to sleep on, wash that in hot water.
Use Natural Repellents
Fleas can easily be deterred by the scent of certain plants, including lavender, cedar, eucalyptus and citrus. Create a flea-repelling spray by thoroughly diluting one or more of these essential oils and apply it to your cat, being careful not to get it in the eyes or ears. Check with your vet before using essential oils, as some are toxic to cats.
Vinegar is another safe and effective flea repellent. Spray undiluted apple cider vinegar directly on the fur and rinse it with water after five minutes.
Diatomaceous earth is the powdered form of a rock created from fossilized remains. It is generally safe for humans and animals, but it damages fleas' outer shells and eventually kills them. You can apply diatomaceous earth directly to your cat's coat, but make sure it is food-grade diatomaceous earth so your cat can safely groom itself after application. Diatomaceous earth can also be spread around your home and yard to kill fleas in the environment.
Be careful when applying diatomaceous earth, however, because inhaling it can be bad for your lungs. Use it in small amounts to minimize inhalation risk, and wear a mask when applying larger quantities around your home.
Fleas cause itchy, unpleasant bites, which is bad enough. However, for cats they can be even more serious by transmitting parasites and causing anemia. Smaller cats and kittens can even be killed by severe infestations, and some over-the-counter chemical treatments can be harsh and toxic to your cat. Fortunately, there are some safe and easy home remedies to keep your cat flea-free.