Natural Flea Control for Cats

Flea control for cats doesn't have to involve dangerous toxic chemicals. While most healthy cats should be able to cope with the chemicals used in conventional prescription and over the counter flea remedies, many owners are concerned about the long term health effects of these products. Here's how you can use natural flea control products to protect your cat from fleas, safely.

Least Toxic Methods

When trying out natural flea control methods, start with the least toxic methods first. Even natural flea control products can be harmful if used inappropriately. Minimize the risk of harm by using the mildest substances to begin with. If these work, then you can go ahead and continue using them. Herbal flea powders and collars can effectively deter fleas. Dawn dishwashing liquid makes an effective non-toxic flea bath for young kittens.

Herbal flea powders may be less effective for indoor cats. These powders do not kill the fleas, but disturb them and make them want to jump off. If your cat goes outside, the fleas will jump off and remain outside. However, for indoor cats, an herbal flea collar that repels fleas continuously may be more effective.

Dangerous and Ineffective Remedies

Before trying a natural flea remedy, consult your vet. Many compounds, especially those containing citrus oil, may not be safe for cats. Compunds containing pennyroyal have been found to cause liver damage in cats. Always read labels carefully.

Many substances have been touted for years as effective natural flea control products for cats. The following remedies have been shown to be ineffective in controlling fleas on cats:

  • Garlic
  • B vitamins
  • Brewer's yeast

Electronic collars also lack effectiveness as a flea repellant, and can be irritating to cats who wear them. Abrasive flea control remedies purport to control fleas by damaging their exoskeletons, but they may irritate your cat's skin.

A Multi-Pronged Approach

Natural flea control is most effective when used as part of a multi-pronged approach. Killing adult fleas alone isn't effective; you need to kill their eggs as well. Fleas lay eggs in carpet, upholstery, blankets, dirt and even in the crevices between floorboards. Vacuum carpets, mop floors, and wash linens and upholstery weekly to kill flea eggs. Place a flea collar in your vacuum bag to kill any fleas that find themselves inside it.

Regular lawn care can help control fleas there. Mowing your lawn regularly exposes the soil to sunlight, which can kill flea larvae. Any ants that live in your lawn or garden will consume flea larvae and eggs, so don't kill them.

Proper hygiene and grooming practices can also help control fleas on your cat. Use a flea bath to kill fleas, eggs and larvae on your pet. Dawn dishwashing liquid is an effective non-toxic soap that kills fleas. Comb your cat with a flea comb after bathing to remove eggs, larvae and dead fleas. Take time when grooming your cat to make sure all fleas and flea eggs are removed.