Many people enjoy having cats as pets because they are quiet and clean creatures that often don’t require as much care and attention as dogs or other pets. Unfortunately though, cats can be difficult to treat when they suffer from a flea infestation. Especially because of their habit of licking themselves to stay clean, many cat owners don’t feel comfortable using chemical flea treatments for cats.
If you’ve got a cat that’s come under attack from these annoying little insects, the following natural flea treatments should help you to rid your feline friend of his or her unwanted guests.
Give Your Cat a Bath
Cats are well known for their dislike of water, but if you can manage to ease them into it, you might have success with bathing your cat. This is generally easier to do in a small container like your kitchen sink rather than a bathtub. You should use a shampoo designed for pets to avoid irritation of the skin.
Before getting into the full bath, lather up some shampoo around your cat’s neck to stop fleas from migrating up to their head to escape the bath treatment. From there, you just want to give them a thorough bathing and be sure to rinse them well to get rid of both fleas and any soap residue.
Using a fine tooth flea comb daily will help to control and reduce your problem. You’ll need to make sure you comb deep in the cat’s coat, getting as close to the skin as possible. Continue to comb as long as you’re finding fleas or for as long as your cat will allow it.
As you comb out the fleas, dip the comb into a bowl of water with a bit of dish washing detergent to drown and kill those that you remove.
Make a Flea Trap
Fleas are attracted to light sources at night. You can actually trap and kill fleas with a nightlight and a bowl of water.
To set up this trap, just place a nightlight in an area where your cat normally sleeps and put a small bowl of water underneath the light. When the fleas jump towards the light, they will land in the water and drown.
Diatomaceous earth is a fine powdery substance that will kill fleas (and other insects) through dehydration but is safe for humans and pets. It’s important to use food grade diatomaceous earth when using it as a flea treatment for cats. Products made for use in pools or other purposes may be treated with chemicals that will be toxic.
Simply sprinkle the diatomaceous earth around your cat’s sleeping areas, carpets and floors. Leave it for as long as possible and then vacuum it up along with the dead fleas.
You can also massage small amounts of it directly into your cat’s fur. It is not toxic if they lick it off, but will only last about a day because of their habit of constantly cleaning themselves.
Apple Cider Vinegar Treatment
Apple cider vinegar is a powerful natural flea repellent. You can spray it directly on your cat as a mist with a spray bottle or mix it with pet shampoo to help remove fleas during a bath.
To use it in the bath, make a mix with 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% shampoo. Work it into a good lather on your cat and let it sit for about 5 minutes before rinsing off. This should kill many of the fleas on your pet and also have a residual repellent effect.
Treat Your Yard With Nematodes
This is not exactly a flea treatment for your cat, but if your cat spends any time outdoors this can help to remove fleas that they might pick up as they’re exploring and hunting.
Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on insects. They are especially good at destroying fleas and their larvae. You should be able to find these in most garden supply stores, as they are often used to keep garden pests under control.
Nematodes require moist soil to survive and thrive, so this option might not work well if you are in an area where it is extremely dry. If you live in an area where the soil retains some moisture though, you can simply spread the nematodes around the perimeter of your house and they will go to work. They can drastically reduce any outdoor flea populations and make it much less likely for your cat to come under attack.
Overall Natural Control
You should be able to achieve a good level of control and relief with these natural flea treatments for cats, but you will most likely need to use a combination of all of them to get the best results. The key is to make sure you are using methods to repel fleas at the same time that you are trying to kill or remove them from your home or pet. If there is nothing in place to repel a new infestation, you will only find yourself fighting the same battle over and over again.