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How to Get Rid Of Fleas On Cats – 12 Methods

Fleas on cats can be a nuisance. Not only do they make your kitty itch, but they can also jump onto you and your other pets. Fleas are a common problem for cats and can be difficult to get rid of. Luckily, there are many different methods that can be used to get rid of fleas on cats, some of which are more effective than others. You can go to the store and buy a flea treatment, or you can make your own.

While there are numerous commercial flea treatments available, there are also several non-chemical methods of getting rid of fleas on cats. These include using a flea comb, bathing your cat in lemon juice, and using natural ingredients. The most effective way to get rid of fleas on a cat is to use a combination of methods. In this article, we will discuss 12 different methods for getting rid of fleas on cats.

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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Fleas?

The presence of fleas on a cat can be determined by various signs and behaviors. Since cats are such meticulous groomers, you might not notice they have fleas right away. Knowing how to spot and kill fleas on your pet and in your home can ease their itching (and protect you).

It will require some investigation on your part to determine if your cat has a flea infestation, but there are several things that indicate it. Because fleas are so small—only 1/12 to 1/16″ long—they are often difficult to identify when there are only a few present. In addition, their reddish-brown color might blend in with your cat’s fur. Rather than relying on your eyes to spot fleas in your kitty’s fur, look for these other common signs:

Cat with fleas
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  • Excessive scratching: Fleas can multiply quickly, but it doesn’t take many to send your cat into a tizzy. In addition to fleas crawling across your pet’s skin, your cat may also be allergic to flea saliva, which can cause sensitivity, itchiness, scratching, and even small scabs.
  • Biting and gnawing: As well as scratching excessively, your cat may also chew on their fur, legs, or feet in an attempt to get some relief.
  • Hair loss: Even a single flea’s saliva can cause an allergic reaction, and your cat may shed fur from biting or scratching.
  • Listlessness: Fleas can bite at least 100 times a day, sucking blood all the while. Blood loss can cause anemia in severe cases where there are many fleas biting your pet. Your pet might appear lethargic as a result.
  • Observation: You may start to see fleas once they multiply. Inspect your pet’s coat or bedding for light-colored specks (flea eggs) or black, pepper-like stains (flea feces). In addition, you may see dark insects scurrying around inside your pet’s fur.

The 12 Ways to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats

There are many different flea treatments available. Check out the following suggestions to find out which ones might be best for your furry friend, and remember, you can always ask your veterinarian for their suggestions too.

A regular, consistent flea control program is the only way to fully protect your cat from fleas. Make sure you keep track of the date you administered the first dose so you will know when to re-treat. There are many pet stores nationwide as well as many online pet stores where you can purchase the right product for your cat’s age, weight, and severity of the infestation.

1. Flea Spot-On

applying flea treatment to cat
Image Credit: Csaba Deli, Shutterstock

If you’re looking for an easy way to get rid of fleas on your cat, spot-on treatments are the way to go! Plus, they can help protect your furry friend from getting pesky fleas in the future. The effectiveness of spot-on flea treatments can vary, though.

Cat owners can simply apply a monthly spot-on to the skin on the cat’s neck at the base of the skull. The active ingredient is then released throughout your cat’s body to provide protection from nose to tail for up to 28 days. In addition to reducing the irritation caused by flea bites, it can provide relief for cats who suffer from flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), a skin allergy caused by flea saliva.

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2. Flea Collar

Image Credit: Daniel-Rajszczak-Shutterstok

We had no idea that flea collars had come so far! Newer models offer an effective and easy way of treating flea infestations. In some cases, a flea collar can protect your kitty cat for as long as eight months—the active ingredients contained in the collar are released slowly over time.

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3. Flea Tablets

maine coon cat having treat
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

Flea treatments can also be administered as a tablet. It is necessary for the fleas to bite your pet before they are killed by the active ingredients in flea tablets, though, as the tablets work by entering the bloodstream and attacking the fleas internally. They are often given to cats as a preventative measure, especially in areas where there is a high population of fleas. Flea tablets for cats come in a variety of different forms, including pills that are swallowed and chewable tablets.

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4. Flea Combs

combing fur of a maine coon cat
Image Credit: Summer 1810, Sutterstock

Flea combs are definitely not a foolproof way to treat or prevent fleas, but they can be really useful for checking your pet for any signs of those pesky parasites! Fleas on your pet can be very difficult to see with the naked eye because they are so small. Flea combs allow you to examine their fur in great detail. If you comb through your pet’s fur while they’re on a clean white surface, any black dots that appear could be fleas or flea poop (called flea dirt).

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5. Flea Powders

hand using powder
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When a cat has fleas, another good way to treat the problem is to use flea powder. Flea powder is a granular product that is applied to the fur of the cat and often contains diatomaceous earth. It kills the fleas that are on the cat’s body and also prevents new fleas from hatching. Infestations can be treated with flea powder, but it’s not a long-term solution. The powder will no longer be active once your cat has shaken it off. You should therefore re-apply often, as instructed by the product directions.

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6. Flea Shampoo

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There is a reason why veterinarians often recommend using flea shampoo on cats—it’s perhaps the most effective way to get rid of pesky parasites. Flea shampoo contains potent ingredients that can kill adult fleas as well as their eggs and larvae, thus preventing an infestation from taking hold.

It’s important to follow the instructions on the bottle carefully, however, as overuse can be harmful to cats. Many cats do not enjoy getting wet, so this may not be the method to try with your kitty.

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7. Use Cedar Chips

cedar chips and essential oil
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Cedar chips are known to repel fleas. Cedar chips can be spread on your cat’s bedding or outside in your garden. Because cedar oil is a non-toxic essential oil, you can spray a few drops on your cat’s fur or put a few drops on a banana peel to repel fleas too.

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8. Douse Your Cat In Lemon Juice

spraying on cat
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Citric acid is one of the best natural flea killers, making lemon juice an effective home remedy for treating fleas. A lemon or two, cut in half, can be boiled and then steeped for a few hours before the liquid is drained and transferred to a spray bottle. Be sure to avoid your pet’s eyes and watch for redness or other signs of irritation as you apply the solution to your pet’s fur.

Repeat the treatment as needed until the fleas are gone completely. You can also brush your cat’s fleas out with a comb dipped into the solution if your cat hates water. When you wash your pet’s bedding, add a cup of lemon juice to your laundry to help kill any fleas and flea eggs.

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9. Apple Cider Vinegar

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Apple cider vinegar is another grocery store product that fleas don’t particularly enjoy. This is not a cure-all, but apple cider vinegar can make fleas jump off your cat’s body so you can better deal with the issue, making it a great first step towards getting rid of fleas.

Mix apple cider vinegar with water in a 2:1 ratio and spray it on your cat’s coat. Some fleas are stubborn, so you may need to apply vinegar to your cat’s fur several times to eliminate them completely.

Additionally, you should vacuum the floors and upholstery (throw away the vacuum cleaner bag immediately), wash all bedding in hot water, and remove pet food bowls, bird feeders, garbage cans, and anything else that may attract wildlife that can re-infect your pet.

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10. Chamomile & Lavender

chamomile tea
Image: Needpix

Chamomile tea can also be used to kill fleas on your pet. Often used for soothing skin, loose chamomile tea can also be used to kill fleas on your cat. After the tea has fully cooled, apply the liquid to your cat’s coat and repeat daily for as long as necessary.

Besides soothing your pet’s skin—and possibly even helping them take a little cat nap—lavender is also a powerful flea repellent. According to some studies, formulas containing diluted lavender killed fleas just as effectively as commercial sprays containing chemicals. Use lavender in your home by steeping fresh lavender in water overnight, then straining the liquid and spraying it on your cat’s coat (no need to rinse).

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11. Clean Everything Your Pet Has Come In Contact with

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In order to get rid of your cat’s fleas, you need to take the necessary precautions to prevent reinfection. Your clothes and bedding should be washed in hot water and your entire house vacuumed thoroughly.

Listed below are our flea treatment plans that you can use for both your cat and your home.

  • Cleaning your cat’s bedding: You can vacuum your pet’s bedding, however, you should wash it at a temperature as high as possible to kill fleas. You can also tumble-dry the fabric at the highest temperature it can withstand.
  • Everything must be washed: Remove all bed covers and wash and dry cushions at as hot a temperature as possible. Similarly, your clothes and any other laundry may have been exposed to your flea infestation.
  • Vacuum thoroughly: Vacuum every other day for at least three weeks to remove cat fleas from carpets and soft furnishings. If a bad infestation occurs, vacuum more frequently. Cracks in skirting boards, corners of the room, and underneath beds are common places where eggs and larvae can be found. Flea dirt (the black specks of flea waste) found here could be serving as a food source for juvenile fleas.
  • Keep your vacuum cleaner clean: Eggs may get stuck in your vacuum cleaner’s bag and could be held there for a long time. Empty the vacuum cleaner completely, and if using a bagless vacuum, clean any washable parts with piping hot water.
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12. Fog or Spray Your Home

Use a flea spray in every room after vacuuming to get rid of any adult fleas and larvae that the vacuum might have missed. Take the time to do this well, treating all the rooms in the house, the car, under the bed, and on the sofa.

Make sure you follow the instructions on the packaging about dosage and frequency and keep your pet and family away while it works. You might have to do a top-up treatment for eggs that haven’t hatched yet. Foggers and flea bombs are great at covering a large area at once, but you might need a spray to reach areas that the fogger couldn’t reach, like under furniture.

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In conclusion, there are a few things that can be done in order to get rid of fleas on a cat. One is to use a topical treatment, such as a flea shampoo or spot-on treatment. Another is to use a powder, such as diatomaceous earth, which will help to kill the fleas.

There are also several home remedies to try. If you are having trouble getting rid of the fleas, you may want to layer up multiple methods or take your cat to the vet for a check-up. Finally, it is important to vacuum and thoroughly clean the areas where the cat spends time, in order to get rid of any fleas that may still be present.

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Featured Image: lev.studio, Shutterstock