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10 Natural Home Remedies for Cats with Fleas

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	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ, Veterinarian

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Fleas can be a terrible nuisance for you and your pet. They breed extremely quickly, and what can seem like no big deal quickly gets out of hand. Besides flea bites causing pain, redness, and itching, it can cause more serious health problems like tapeworms and anemia. Commercial flea medication can get quite expensive because it usually only lasts about one month before you need to reapply it. In most cases, you will also need to take your cat to the vet to acquire the medication, which adds to the cost significantly.

It’s common to look for natural home remedies to keep fleas at bay while reducing cost, and we have assembled a list of ten such remedies that you can try out. You can find most of the items listed here around the home, or you can purchase them for cheap.

Join us while we discuss diatomaceous earth, rosemary, essential oils, and more to help you rid your pet of fleas.

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Home Remedies

These are the home remedies we came up with for you to try.

1. Vacuum

cat on couch while vacuum
Image Credit: Hananeko_Studio, Shutterstock

Vacuuming probably doesn’t sound like much of a home remedy, but experts say that you can catch up to 97% of adult fleas with your vacuum. With a percentage like that, the first thing you should do when you notice a flea problem is to vacuum your entire house thoroughly, including furniture. You will need to pay special attention to areas that you might neglect on a less thorough cleaning because that is where they will hide.

Since you are already going over the whole house with a vacuum, you will also want to remove and wash all pillowcases, sheets, and any loose fabric where they may have jumped. They lay eggs that you cannot see, so better safe than sorry.

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2. Bath

cat having a shower
Image Credit: Olleg, Shutterstock

Besides a thorough house cleaning, the best thing you can do before you try any of the other home remedies on this list is to bathe your cat. While cats generally do not like baths, it won’t hurt them, and fleas cannot swim. Gently washing your cat with a flea and tick shampoo made for cats will go a long way toward reducing fleas.

Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats Without Bathing

While we highly recommend bathing your cat to get the fleas off, the following remedies do not require you to bathe your cat first.

3. Salt

Salt may seem like a strange natural flea remedy, but salt works very well to dehydrate the fleas which kills them. You don’t need an ingredients list for this remedy. You only need a large supply of very finely ground salt. Sprinkle the salt onto the carpet wherever you notice fleas and wait a day or two so it can do its thing before using a vacuum to pick it up. This remedy works best when combined with our next home remedy, baking soda.

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4. Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is ground, dead diatoms, and works very similarly to salt in that it dehydrates and kills fleas. You apply diatomaceous earth the same as salt by sprinkling it over your carpet, where you notice a large flea population. Allow it to sit for about two days to do its job before vacuuming.

The one downside to diatomaceous earth is that it’s dangerous to breathe in for both humans and cats and can cause serious damage to your lungs and health. If you decide to use diatomaceous earth, make sure you are using food-grade, and be sure to remove the cats from the room and wear a mask while you are spreading it on the carpet.

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5. Baking Soda

baking soda
Image: Pikist

Baking soda is one of these products that has a million uses, and you can add flea removal to that list as well. There is no ingredients list needed for this remedy. Simply spread a liberal amount of baking soda over the carpet and furniture and scrub it in with a bristle brush. Once you treat the entire area, you can vacuum up the dust and dump it outside in a trash can. This remedy really cuts down on the number of fleas in your home, and since vacuuming is likely the first thing you will do, it makes sense to add it.

You can also sprinkle some baking soda directly into your cat’s fur, rub it in and let it stay for 15-20 min before brushing it off and removing the rest with a damp towel. When using this remedy, please avoid the cat’s face and make sure your cat can not lick the baking soda off its fur. On rare occasions, cats can develop an allergy to baking soda, so you must be mindful and check the skin for any redness or signs of itchiness and discomfort.  Take your cat to the vet if you notice any adverse reaction to the baking soda.

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6. Soapy Water

This remedy will not get rid of fleas, but it will help manage them until you can get them properly eliminated. This method involves mixing dish soap, like Dawn with some tap water. Mix the solution in a shallow plate and place it in an area where you notice a lot of fleas. Most experts recommend putting the solution in the middle of the room and changing it every day. Since fleas are nocturnal, this method will work best overnight, and we recommend placing a light source by it to attract them. An electric candle works well, as does a night light. Never use a wax candle or anything that can start a fire. This solution needs to be changed in the morning and replaced with new soapy water, it will help you attract and trap the fleas until you can remove them with other methods.

  • 1 cup room temperature tap water
  • 3 tbsp dish detergent
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7. Apple Cider Vinegar and Lemon Flea Repellent

There are a lot of herbs and essential oils that fleas and other insects don’t like, like lemon, witch hazel, and citronella. However, you need to be extremely careful with essential oils because they contain VOCs that are proven harmful to your cat. You should avoid using tea tree oil, lavender, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, sandalwood, and many other types in your home, and you should never apply any essential oil directly on your cat.

That said, our herbal flea repellent is safe to use around cats if used conservatively. It doesn’t use any harmful essential oils: only apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and witch hazel. Mix the ingredients in a large bowl to make the solution and put it in a spray bottle. You can then spray it around your home once a day, where you notice the most fleas, especially carpets, and under furniture where they can hide. Spray once a day for the best results.

  • 1 gallon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ gallon room temperature tap water
  • 16 ounces lemon juice
  • 8 ounces Witch hazel
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8. Another Herbal Flea Repellent

herbal oil
Image: Pixabay

You can create another herbal flea repellent that’s safe for your pets by grinding up equal amounts of rue, rosemary, wormwood, and fennel with a pestle and mortar until you have a fine powder. Sprinkle the powder over your carpets and any areas where you notice a lot of flea activity. Also, make sure to sprinkle some near any entrances to your home.

  • 1 part rue
  • 1 part rosemary
  • 1 part wormwood
  • 1 part fennel
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9.  Flea-Repelling House Plants

Image: Pixabay

Flea-repelling houseplants can be helpful to repel fleas and keep them from coming in contact with your pet. Penny Royal, chrysanthemums, lavender, spearmint, aloe vera, and any of the herbs we mentioned earlier will all repel fleas. However, each of these plants is dangerous for your cat to eat, so we only recommend having these houseplants if you can guarantee that your cat can’t get near them.

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10. Cedar Chips

If you have a large yard, it may be helpful to use cedar chips as a mulch around your home to prevent fleas from getting close to your house, minimizing the risk that they will get on your pet. Cedar chips have a strong odor that many insects and animals do not like. Keep in mind thatit can be harmful to any pet rodents you may have, like a hamster, or rabbit.

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We recommend giving your cat a bath using a high-quality flea and tick shampoo, along with a thorough vacuuming and washing all pillowcases and sheets to get a good start on eliminating fleas naturally. Once you have done that, you can try any of the other remedies, depending on what you have available. We found diatomaceous earth to work extremely well and rivals commercial products in its ability to rid your house of fleas. However, it can be dangerous for you and your pet.

Remember, fleas can cause your pet considerable discomfort and can cause health problems. If you notice the flea population is larger than these home remedies can handle, it’s important to get the Frontline or other commercial product to get rid of them quickly. Products like Frontline not only get rid of fleas, they also get rid of ticks and help protect your pet from heartworm. None of these home remedies protect from heartworm.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over our DIY ways to get rid of fleas. If you have found them useful, and they have helped you get rid of the fleas in your home, please share these ten natural home remedies for cats with fleas on Facebook and Twitter.

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Featured Image: Pixabay