You'll know fleas when you see 'em, so it's important to know some easy home remedies for fleas on cats. The tell-tale sign of pests cannot be mistaken, but how to treat them is not always common knowledge
It's important to seek professional advice from your vet on how to prevent fleas from making a home on your cat in the first place. The easiest way to prevent fleas from moving in are by getting year-round protection recommended by your vet. Products like flea collars for cats and topical flea treatments that will help make sure your cat is protected. If you didn't successfully prevent fleas, however, you'll want to know how to get rid of them.
Luckily, there are tons of commercial flea treatments on the market that include
topical preventives, flea collars, flea shampoos, oral treatments, sprays and combs. The best flea treatment for cats is often a combined effort using more than one of the aforementioned treatments that utilizes both a fast-acting but short-term treatment and a a longer-lasting one.
These traditional, store-bought approaches often do the trick, but there are DIY, natural flea killer treatments you can use for cats. Not only will these repel and rid your home of fleas, but they don't include any potentially harmful chemicals that could have side effects for your family and furbabies.
We'd recommend you consult your vet before using any of these methods, just to be extra safe.
- Do fleas bite humans? Find out more about the pesky parasites that plague your pets
- How do cats get fleas?
- Dog fleas vs cat fleas: What's the difference?
- Can cat fleas live on dogs?
1. Lemon spray
Citrus has many beneficial properties, but did you know it can also be used to repel and kill off fleas? To make your own citrus homemade flea spray, cut up a few lemons, boil in water, and steep for a few hours. To apply to the fur, you can either use a spray bottle or dip a comb into the liquid if your cat flinches at the sight of water. Make sure to keep an eye on your cat for any signs of skin irritation.
2. Cedar oil
A non-toxic essential oil for cats but hated by fleas, cedar oil can be an effective natural flea repellent. You can spray the oil directly into your feline's coat or use a comb, however a popular use is to create your own natural flea collar by placing or soaking the cedar oil on a collar.
You can even get a bit fancier and combine a few oils to create an essential oil collar. Why not pair 1 drop of cedar oil, with a drop of lavender, thyme or citronella essential oil? A teaspoon of alcohol such as vodka and vegetable oil can also act as supporting ingredients.
You can also sprinkle cedar chips around your garden or cat's bedding to deter the pests in the home.
3. Oregano oil
Oregano oil can be used to deter fleas, but it's best to heavily dilute it. While it contains a natural ingredient called carvacrol which helps repel fleas, it also features phenols which can be bad for cats.
To get the best oregano oil flea treatment for your feline friend, look to mix one teaspoon of oregano oil with three teaspoons of olive oil then add it to the most obvious places you'll find fleas lurking, such as the back of your cat's ears and the base of their tail, neck and stomach.
With its inviting aroma, rosemary is definitely sweet-smelling for human noses but it can also act as a natural flea killer. Create your own homemade rosemary flea spray by taking the dried herb and steeping it with lemon, lavender or chamomile and boiling in water for 30 minutes.
The product can then be applied to bedding or furniture, or apply directly to your cat's coat.
5. Aloe vera
Aloe vera already has a few great benefits for pets: it's a simple ingredient found in some natural pet shampoos, for instance. However, it can also be used to deter fleas in cats.
Look to mix the juice with cayenne pepper as an all-natural, non-toxic flea repellent either sprayed directly into the coat or combed through. Ensure you only use the clear juice; the milk is highly toxic.
Some pet owners add the treatment to a bath which can provide a nourishing treatment for your cat's coat, but could pose a challenge when most cats hate water!
Catnip has many effects on cats, the most common of these being driving them into fits of Zoomies. But it's also surprisingly effective as a flea repellent. Grow it in your backyard for a handy supply, while repelling fleas at the same time.
To use it around the home, cut up the leaves and use them over your cat's bedding or brush your feline down with them.
Another great option is to place catnip oil on a homemade flea collar or scratching posts.
With its sharp smell, vinegar isn't the most enticing scent on the nose, but that's not completely what drives fleas away.
Whether you opt for white or apple cider vinegar, this common household ingredient features acetic acid which can destroy flea eggs, while the aroma repels adult fleas.
It's best to apply vinegar directly to your cat's coat, but if you or your feline is having trouble with the strong smell, opt to water it down with another favorite ingredient for deterring fleas, lemon juice or simply go for a 50:50 split with water. Apple cider vinegar can often be the nicest option to use due to its softer aroma.
Around the home too, vinegar can be an effective cleaning method to stop fleas in their tracks; soak clothing or bedding in it to kill any flea eggs.
8. Coconut oil
Another natural ingredient that can feature in many DIY pet skin treatments, coconut oil can help with allergies, dry skin, itchiness, and provide overall coat health in cats. It's also naturally antiparasitic thanks to the lauric acid and high-fat content found in the oil that suffocates fleas.
To treat your feline, bathe the cat and then apply coconut oil to the skin and fur. After a few hours, rinse the oil away and watch the fleas wash out.
9. Olive oil
Much like coconut oil, olive oil also features a high-fat content that can suffocate fleas. It can be used on its own or combine with essential oils such as lavender, and oregano to soak in a homemade flea collar.
Olive oil is completely non-toxic to cats so even if they look to lick it off, you can apply it on its own without a problem. Simply rub the oil into the fur, leave it in for a few hours and then rinse or comb it out.
Chamomile can be an effective flea deterrent for cats, but ensure you only ever use small doses as too much can cause detrimental side effects in felines.
You can use it in its natural state but it's a good idea to dilute it down first. Why not take a few dried flowers and steep them in water? After a few hours, remove the flowers and use the water in a flea spray or on a comb.
If you're looking for a great homemade solution, you might be surprised by how much use you can get out of a chamomile tea bag.
You can simply place them around your cat's bedding or boil up a cuppa, leave it to get cold and turn it into a flea deterrent spray. The tea can even help soothe any itching bites on the skin.
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Ashleigh is Digital Editor on PetsRadar. With over 8 years of experience in print and digital media, she has acted as an editorial lead on a variety of projects, with animal themes a keen interest. As an avid animal lover, you can often find Ashleigh checking out the newest trends in animal care or looking at cute cat videos on TikTok.
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