If you believe your home is infested with fleas, you are not alone. Pet owners across the globe are on the lookout during the summer months for fleas.
This article will help you identify if your home is infested with fleas and how to treat them naturally in many ways.
Some of these methods include recipes for flea baths, natural flea collars, and repellent sprays.
In addition to recipes, household staples could be powerful against the battle of fleas, such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and Dawn dish soap. Fleas can be a nightmare, but these natural solutions can help you win the battle.
How do cats get fleas?
Both indoor and outdoor cats can attract fleas. According to the Seville Wadsworth Veterinary Clinic, outside cats can get fleas from other flea-infested animals, including other pets and urban wildlife.
Then, your cat will bring those fleas into your home, where the female flea will drop her eggs wherever your cat roams: carpets, clothes, furniture, and bedding are among popular places.
Indoor cats can still get fleas; however, the fleas would enter in different ways. Having guests over could have brought fleas into your home, furry or otherwise. Fleas can come in on humans, as well as other animals.
How do I know if my cat has fleas?
A tell-tale sign of fleas in cats is scratching. If you find that your cat is scratching or has irritated skin, you may want to look for fleas.
The Seville Wadsworth Veterinary Clinic acknowledges that fleas survive by feeding on animal blood, which will irritate the skin, understandably.
The first thing to look for in your cat is black specks. These specs are referred to as “flea dirt,” which is flea defecation.
You can test whether these specks are from fleas by applying hydrogen peroxide. If the specks turn red, you may have a flea infestation. You can also look for the fleas themselves by running a fine-tooth comb through your cat’s coat.
Use these natural shampoo options to give your cat a flea bath
One way you can start the battle against fleas is by giving your cat a flea bath, which some cats may not enjoy. Be gentle and patient with your cat through this experience.
There are many flea shampoos on the market you can purchase at your local pet store, or you can make a completely natural one yourself.
The Pest Removal Guide offers various recipes for making your own natural shampoos.
Essential Oil Shampoo
This recipe is only for cats above the age of three months since a kitten’s skin is extremely sensitive and will not tolerate the oils well.
You will need either lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, or peppermint essential oil, soapwort, and purified water, as well as a container to put the shampoo in.
Boil two teaspoons of the soapwort in three cups of purified water, using a thick-bottomed pan. Next, lower the heat and let the solution boil for fifteen minutes.
Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Finally, add oil you chose for the solution and store.
Leave-On Vinegar Shampoo
For this recipe, you’ll need white vinegar, water, and a spray bottle. Mix the ingredients in equal parts and spray on your cat’s fur.
Using your hands, spread the vinegar-water evenly over your cat’s coat. Give your cat this bath every day for two weeks.
Dawn Dish Soap Solution
Surprisingly enough, Dawn dish soap has the power to kill fleas in minutes. According to Natasha Anderson of The Bug Squad, Dawn will break down the flea’s exoskeleton, which is fatal.
Since Dawn is nontoxic, it is safe for your cat, however, it can cause dry skin. Anderson suggests only to bathe your cat with Dawn once every two to three weeks.
With that said, wet down your cat with water using a squirt bottle. Once wet, slowly rub Dawn soap into its coat. Next, use the spray bottle to rinse off the soap.
Bathing Your Cat
Give your cat a bath carefully, as they may not enjoy it and try to scratch you. Go slowly and make sure that the water is not too cold, but not too hot. Cats lick themselves for cleanliness, so make sure you wash all of the shampoos off.
When you are done giving your cat his or her bath, begin towel drying. The fleas will start to fall off the coat, either dead or still alive.
Use a white towel to easily identify the fleas and kill them if they are still crawling around. Use a fine-tooth comb to remove dead fleas.
Related: How to Bathe a Flea-Ridden Cat
Are flea combs necessary?
You can use virtually any comb with narrowly spaced teeth, however, official flea combs are useful.
One problem with using a standard comb is that the fleas will not get stuck between the prongs and will crawl over the comb. Flea combs can be found at your local pet store or online.
To begin, prepare a comfortable area for your cat. You will also need a bowl of warm water and dish soap mixture, as well as a bowl of boiling water.
The boiling water will kill the fleas instantly. If the water is just warm, not boiling, or does not have dish soap in it, the fleas can jump out and survive.
Dip the comb in the boiling water and begin to comb through the fur at the head and neck area first, continually dipping the comb in the water solutions between repetitions. Every few repetitions, wipe the flea comb on a white paper towel.
With cats, it is to be expected to take multiple sessions since they do not like being held down. Be patient with yourself, as well as your pet.
If you need a visual of how to use flea combs, Odamayriver productions created a comprehensive video to show you how to use flea combs effectively.
You can make your own natural flea collars
If you go to the pet store, you can find chemically infused flea collars. However, Stephanie Tourles claims that these collars can irritate your cat’s skin and even affect their mucous membranes and respiratory systems. Going a natural route is healthier for your cat and can be cheaper.
Start with simple cotton or nylon collar and choose a blend that speaks to you.
- 1 teaspoon of unflavored vodka and 1 drop of geranium essential oil.
- 1 teaspoon of unflavored vodka and 1 drop of cedarwood essential oil.
- 1 teaspoon of unflavored vodka, 1 drop of rosemary essential oil, 1 drop of thyme essential oil, and garlic oil from a small capsule.
- 1 teaspoon of unflavored vodka, 1 drop of eucalyptus essential oil, 1 drop of cedarwood essential oil, and 1 drop of lemongrass essential oil.
After mixing your desired ingredients in a bowl or cup, prepare the collar. Lay the collar flat on a baking sheet and pour the blend over the whole collar. Let it air-dry until the blend is fully absorbed and dry.
How do I use salt and baking soda to treat fleas?
Baking soda does not have any chemicals and is completely safe to use around your cat. The beauty of the salt and baking soda combo is that you will most likely have both ingredients in your pantry, and it’s cheap to purchase in large quantities.
Part of the problem with flea infestations is that fleas do not live on your cat. They live in your carpets, your furniture, and even your clothes.
Your pet is not the only aspect that needs to be treated; your home does, too. This can be a daunting task, but salt and baking soda make a great team.
Jacob Olesen of Flea Bites suggests purchasing salt and baking soda in large amounts to prepare for your whole-home battle. You can either mix the solution together or spread the salt and baking soda separately.
Sprinkle the baking soda and salt in your carpets liberally. Then, use a broom to spread the mixture over all carpeted areas.
Leave the mixture on the carpet overnight. When you wake up, grab the vacuum. Vacuum your carpets thoroughly and empty outside.
Now you’ve got the dead and dying flees out of your home, but the eggs are going to hatch. Repeat the process over the next few days to get rid of the remaining fleas that will hatch.
How do I use apple cider vinegar for flea prevention?
Apple cider vinegar is a go-to in flea prevention, among many other things, such as ear infections, mites, and ringworm. For fleas, it’s best used topically.
First dilute the vinegar: 1-part water, 1-part vinegar. Dip a paper towel in the mixture and rub the towel over your cat’s skin and fur.
According to Robin Mudge of Pet Net, apple cider vinegar may also help with the bites themselves, as it helps clean the skin. It’s completely natural and can be taken internally, so it is acceptable if your cat licks it off.
In the same way as the baths, go through your cat’s coat with a fine-tooth comb to pick out the dead fleas.
Apple cider vinegar can also be added to the cat’s water as an internal preventative. Fleas do not like the taste of the blood after the vinegar enters your cat’s system.
Make your own natural flea repellent sprays
While repellent sprays will not kill fleas, they can help keep fleas from entering the home during flea season. Not only will the following essential oils make the home smell good, but it will prevent further spread of fleas.
Choose a few of the following essential oils and mix with water in a spray bottle. The smells of the oils will deter fleas from entering your home, so spray in places that your cat usually inhabits.
- Eucalyptus oil
- Peppermint oil
- Cedar oil
- Citrus Oils
- Lemongrass oil
How do I treat the flea bites themselves?
Often times, we are so caught up in getting rid of the fleas themselves that we don’t think about the actual bites.
Even after the fleas are gone and the repellent has been laid down, we can forget about our cat’s bumps that they are left with after the fleas are gone.
Elle Di Jensen discusses the best ways to treat flea bites in cats. Jensen points out that herbs are a great route to go when searching for natural options of treatment. Such herbs include calendula, chamomile, and echinacea.
These herbs are available as teas, so you can go to the grocery store and purchase tea bags with these herbs in them.
Brew them as teas and dip cotton balls into the liquid to make natural topical solutions for your cat.
Another route is aloe vera, which is a plant known to help with irritated skin. Cut off a thick leaf and cut into it. It will secrete sap you can apply directly to the flea bites for almost instant relief.
Oatmeal has been used to sooth the skin in many different capacities. Your cat will benefit from its moisturizing properties. First, clean the area with salt water. Then, prepare the compress by soaking half a cup of rolled oats in water.
When most of the water’s been absorbed by the oats, drain the excess water and place the water-saturated oats in a piece of gauze. Hold the gauze on the flea bite for ten to fifteen minutes. When finished, pat dry with a towel.
Fleas can be a ginormous nuisance to a home, but there are natural ways to bring the peace back. A combination of baths, flea combing sessions, and collars should get them off your cat.
A combination of carpet treatments, such as salt and baking soda, should get them out of your space.
Finally, a spray down of some naturally flea-repelling essential oils should keep them from coming back.