Kitten Flea Control in a Nutshell

Kitten flea control is a delicate matter. Kittens are fragile, especially when young, and the use of an inappropriate flea control product could even kill your kitten. But you can't just allow a flea infestation to continue unchecked on your kitten's body; flea infestation can cause anemia, and this can also be deadly in very young animals. Kitten flea control isn't a lost cause, of course; you just have to approach it a little differently than you would for adult cats.

Avoid Commercial Flea Control Products

Commercially available and over-the-counter flea products run the gamut from powders, sprays and collars to spot-on and pill medications. These flea control products contain insecticides that kill fleas at their eggs. Unfortunately, these same insecticides can also kill your kitten.

Even veterinary-prescribed commercial flea products can be dangerous to kittens. Products such as Advantage® and Frontline® are intended for use on adult cats and kittens above eight weeks of age.

Once your kitten reaches the age of eight weeks, however, it will be safe to begin using commercial flea products designed for cats and kittens.

Removing Fleas From Young Kittens

The safest way to remove fleas from kittens younger than eight weeks of age is to give them a bath. Use warm water and Dawn® dish-washing liquid, not flea shampoo! Dawn® dish-washing liquid is very mild and safe for use on your kitten.

It's often easiest to bathe your kitten in a sink. Make sure the water isn't hot enough to burn by testing it on the inside of your wrist. The room should also be as warm as possible so your kitten doesn't get too cold.

Immerse your kitten up to his neck and carefully wet his face with a small sponge. Lift him out, place him on a towel, and then massage the dish-washing liquid into his fur. Be as thorough as possible and remember that fleas will escape to your kitten's face and head. Rinse the kitten and then gently dry him.

After the Bath

After the bath you can further remove fleas from your kitten by combing his fur with a flea comb. You can catch fleas with a flea comb in one of several ways:

  • While combing him, hold your kitten over a sink full of water so the fleas will to drop into the water.
  • Catch the fleas with your fingernails and drop them into a jar of very hot water or mineral oil.
  • Catch the fleas and press them onto a piece of sticky tape.
  • Rub some petroleum jelly onto the base of the flea comb's teeth to help prevent fleas from escaping.

Removing Fleas From Older Kittens

Once your kitten reaches the age of eight weeks, you can use sprays, powders, collars or spot-on flea control products, just as you would an older cat. Remember to treat carpets and upholstered furniture with an insecticidal flea spray at this point, to prevent re-infestation.