When you ask a pet owner about the biggest concern during summer, we bet that the most common answer would be “fleas”. And yes, cat owner does not make an exception as well. Cat fleas can cause severe discomfort for both owners and their cats and to add insult to injury, they may even lead to diseases like heartworm, Lyme disease, and tapeworms. A cat with fleas may scratch and seems to be itchy a lot, but not all. To check it correctly, put your cats on a white cloth and start combing, if there are small black droppings from their coat, or actual bigger fleas, there they are! When you find out fleas on your cats, you only want to know how to get rid of them, besides chemical treatment and medication methods you may not really want to use, here are some home non-toxic natural remedies to try.
How to get rid of fleas on your cats at home?
Only use fresh lemon, do not use essential oil
Lemon, a thing which is very easy to find in your fridge has been used as a successful alternative to chemical pesticides for controlling fleas as it contains full of citric acid. To have lemon spray, you need to slice a fresh lemon thinly, or into quarters, then boil with water and steep it overnight. And spray the solution on your pets, avoid their eyes, and open scratches as well. After your first spray, wait a little bit to see how sensitive your cat skin is and whether there is any redness or signs of irritation then you can continue regularly till your cats are out of fleas. If your feline friends do not tolerate spray, the combing method also works with this. In case you still have a little of the lemon liquid leftover, spray on your sofa, cat bedding, chairs, or anywhere your cats usually play around to feel fresh and keep the fleas stay away. Keep in mind that fresh lemon is good while the lemon essential oil is totally not.
2. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar only make fleas jump off your cats
Apple cider vinegar is believed to affect somehow on fleas, while it is not seemly to kill them, it can make fleas jump off your cats. It is used similarly to lemon. To get the fleas out of your cats, you can mix raw apple cider vinegar with water (2:1 ratio) and spray it to them. Another way is using together with a comb, you can repeatedly dip it in the mixed liquid and brush your cats’ coat to remove the bugs out. Of course, you can combine both ways and remember to avoid open wounds and eyes.
3. Brewer’s yeast
Brewer's yeast not only good for cat's health but also can remedy fleas
Some researches indicate that brewer’s yeast supplementation in cat diet considerably decrease numbers of fleas, especially if the pet’s health is good. "Healthy pets get fewer fleas, and good nutrition makes for healthy pets," said Dr. Michael Fox, D.V.M. He suggested that 1/2 teaspoon of brewer's yeast at mealtime for a cat would bring particular benefits to his/her health.
4. Flea repelling plants
We can take advantage of several plants that benefit to fend the fleas off. As they contain particular oil or compounds, the scent from them is quite unpleasant to these insects. Grow below plants around your home, in the playing yard, or just in a small flower pot is the easiest workable way you can do at home. Coupled with it, if your cats have no problem with topical treatment, these plants can be used on their coat as similar following ways:
- Chamomile/ Chrysanthemums: apply diluted cool chamomile tea to the cat’s coat, it helps to soothe the itching and attack fleas on your pet.
- Lavender: soak fresh lavender in water overnight, strain, and spray it onto your cat’s coat (no need to rinse).
- Rosemary: in addition to using rosemary as a bath solution for cats to relieve itching, you can also make herbal flea powder by grinding it together with some rue, wormwood, cumin, and spearmint. After that, sprinkle it on the carpets, furniture, and cat areas to repel the fleas.
- Cedar Chips: you can apply these wood chips the same way as rosemary powder, but in the outside yard because the fleas hate the smell of it. It will limit the places for them to multiply rapidly. Some people advise spreading cedar chips around cat bedding or on cushions but your cats probably also hate the smell of them. Pay attention!
Dish soap is known to be an effective solution that can break down fleas’ exoskeleton and kill them. The first way is to wet your cats’ coat with diluted dish soap in water, however, in case you would like to keep your furry friends away from the chemical substance, the second one is to place a plate with warm soapy water near a source of light in your home. It is the trap to attract fleas to come, stuck, and drown in the solution.
Dish soap is numb one choice for killing fleas
Another detergent that could be considered is baking soda. It works as a drying agent and contributes to eliminating fleas. Sprinkle it on carpet and furniture, take a deep brush, leave it for 24-48 hours, and vacuum entirely. Just remember to take out the contents of the vacuum cleaner, place it in an airtight container and empty in a safe place. Salt, our familiar spice, works the same way (but not in the areas with high humidity levels).
Baking soda also work with fleas
6. Diatomaceous earth (DE)
You may have never heard of Diatomaceous earth (DE) before, but you may have consumed many products that contain it (water filtration, food products, toothpaste, skincare products, and farming). DE powder is able to absorb the oils and fats from the exoskeletons of insects, dry them out, and finally kill them. According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, “Diatomaceous earth is deadly to any insect yet completely harmless to animals. Diatomaceous earth’s mode of action for insect- and parasite control is strictly mechanical.
The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite and pierce their protective coating, so they soon dehydrate and die. The larvae are affected in the same way”. Thus, you had better not use it directly on your cats’ coat as it can dry out their skin, only sprinkle over areas inside/outside your house likely to existing fleas, wait for 3 days or more than vacuum all the infested places.
Make sure to use food-grade DE as raw DE can contain crystalline DE which is not good for health. Though it is non-toxic to humans and pets, it can irritate eyes and throat. Wear face mask and gloves while using DE and keep your pet far away from affected areas during conducting time. Finally please be noted that you should use this method once or twice a year only. You can find DE at pet care stores or online products as below:
Organic diatomaceous earth from Harris Brand wins the heart of many pet owners. It is easy to apply with fast-acting on fleas, lice, carpet beetles and the producer guarantee safe to use in homes with people and pets. However, this item is not available for international shipping (US only).
2nd recommended product is from Vi-Olivia Brand, they commit their products are non-toxic, organic & edible, totally safe for families and pets. As advertised, Vi-Olivia DE is almost pure white. Darker colored Diatomaceous Earth often contains impurities such as iron and clay.
The battle to fight with these itchy pests and keep your feline friends flea-free is not a short term at all. We would like to draw your attention that you must care about persistent sanitation and cleaning. No matter how many adult fleas you may kill, countless “junior” fleas are growing exponentially.
In order to break down the flea cycle (eggs, larvae, pupae, adult), as a pet owner, you cannot be lazy. Wash pets’ bedding, your bedding, cat’s bowl… entirely, add any above workable methods (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, baking soda…) in water during laundry. Vacuum every corner of the carpet, floor, and furniture as these “junior” types can be sucked up by a vacuum cleaner or washed away in the laundry. And don’t forget to immediately seal the contents before putting it safely in an outside bin for disposal.
To wipe it out down to the last egg, it may take about 3-4 months minimum but the prevention afterward is all year around.
In conclusion, with these simple home treatments, we do expect that you can keep fleas stay far away from your family and cats. With a lot of choices and each remedy brings particular benefits, definitely, you can choose more than 01. Take advantage of all by combining or taking turns these methods. It is not only for your cats, but it is also for your home and family health. Don’t forget to hear advice from your vets. Do you have any other effective way, comment, and share with us below!