Depending on where you live, flea season varies by the time of year. Fleas are active during warm, wet weather and the cooler months as temperatures drop and your pets grow thicker coats. Protect your cats from the health risks of flea bites by learning how to control a flea infestation on cats.
Ctenocephalides felis is a type of flea that commonly uses cats as its host. Although these fleas originated in Africa, the human domestication of cats caused the flea population to increase worldwide. Despite this trend, many dog fleas are also C felis.
Adult fleas detect carbon dioxide and changes in room temperature to find hosts. After using their strong legs to jump onto a host, fleas begin feeding in minutes. Cat fleas leave behind flea dirt or feces, and some pets have flea allergy dermatitis, an adverse skin reaction to flea saliva.
- How to Get Rid of Flea Infestation on a Cat
- The Threat of Fleas to Humans
How to Get Rid of Flea Infestation on a Cat
Flea allergic cats groom themselves to the point of hair loss on their tail, legs, and even around their heads. Although your cat scratching due to fleas may seem minor, infected flea bites from scratching lead to further skin issues.
Treating a flea infestation on your cat has several steps to ensure your cat remains flea free. The entire flea life cycle occurs in your cats fur as flea eggs hatch and feed on flea feces that adult fleas leave behind.
As flea larvae grow through their pupal stage, they become able to mate and feed directly on your pets. Despite cats being an ideal host, fleas only spend a portion of their life attached to their host; treating your house is as vital as flea control for your cat.
While it’s not recommended for direct application on your cat, using witch hazel for fleas on the carpet and your cat’s bed can be helpful to eliminate a flea problem. Use in conjunction with another flea remedy for the best results.
Flea Control for Cats with Spices
Most flea treatments involve using a treatment on your cat’s skin or coat through a topical application. Another effective option for natural flea control for cats is treating them for fleas through their food or water.
Mix half a teaspoon of cumin into the cat food to have your cat ingest the spice. The small amount won’t harm your cat, but adding cumin to the food makes your cat’s skin less appealing to fleas.
Treat Bites and Repel Fleas with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has excellent benefits when used on cats, helping treat ear mites and soothing skin irritation from flea bites. Once applied to your cat’s fur, coconut oil clogs the flea exoskeleton, causing them to suffocate.
Coconut oil also limits a flea’s ability to jump. To use coconut oil for flea treatment, create a spray by mixing it with water and essential oil to create a natural flea control product at home.
Shake water and coconut oil in a bottle to combine. Include cedar, rosemary, or lavender essential oil to repel fleas. Treat flea infestation on cats by spraying coconut oil regularly on your cat or before your cat goes outside.
Using Lemon Juice for a Flea Infestation
Fleas don’t like the smell of citrus fruits, and many commercial cat products contain lemon scents to repel fleas. To maintain the same effect without introducing harmful chemicals to your cat, use lemon juice while combing your cat to help with a flea infestation.
The bristles on flea combs work to catch and trap fleas while working through your cat’s fur. To get rid of cat fleas and leave a citrus scent behind, dip your comb into a small bowl of lemon juice while combing your cat.
Add lemon juice to a spray bottle to use against fleas like you would a homemade lemon spray for dogs. It’s great for bedding, furniture, and even spritzing your pets if they’ll allow it.
Using a Flea Collar to Treat a Flea Infestation on Cats
Flea and tick collars are popular commercial products that kill live fleas and ticks. Although most collars control adult fleas, some contain chemicals that also target eggs and flea larvae.
Collars are effective because they actively target fleas on your cat; however, the products used to make flea collars may irritate your cat’s skin. To get rid of flea infestation on a cat without chemicals, create a homemade flea collar using essential oils.
Pour water into a cup and add several drops of lavender essential oil. Dampen a bandana in the water and wring out excess liquid. Tie the bandana around your cat’s neck to create a natural flea collar to ward off fleas.
Treat Flea Infestation on Cats with Rosemary
When looking for natural flea control for cats, the essential oils in plants and herbs are among the most effective options to get rid of a flea infestation on a cat. If you struggle to bathe your cat, using a spray of diluted essential oil in water is an effective substitute for flea shampoo.
To create a pleasant-smelling option to control a flea problem, use fresh rosemary sprigs to make a safe flea spray for your cats. Boil a cup of water before adding rosemary sprigs. Leave the rosemary in the water for at least ten minutes before straining the water into a container.
Add another cup of water to the container to further dilute the rosemary before allowing the water to cool completely. Add this water to a spray bottle before spraying your cat and allowing it to dry.
How to Control Fleas with Oil
Simple methods of flea control come from everyday items in your kitchen cabinet. Carvacrol is a component of many aromatic plants, including oregano, giving it its signature scent. Mix oregano oil with coconut oil and apply it to your cat.
Treat flea infestation on cats by mixing the oils in a bowl and applying a small amount behind your cat’s ears, tail, neck, and around the stomach. Coconut oil soothes your cat’s skin, while oregano oil reduces flea activity.
Flea Control with Vinegar
Fleas hate the strong smell of vinegar. Using vinegar around your home effectively repels fleas, and putting vinegar in your cat’s water helps ward off fleas from the inside out. Adding apple cider vinegar to your cat’s water bowl helps prevent fleas from thriving in your cat’s fur.
Add a drop of vinegar to a small amount of water to see if your cat drinks it regardless of the taste. If this doesn’t stop your cat from drinking, add half a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to your cat’s regular water bowl.
The Threat of Fleas to Humans
Humans are not the ideal host for C Felis. Their preference for animals is due to the thickness of cat and dog fur compared to human hair. Although one flea species, the chigoe flea, survives on humans, it would take fleas half a day of feeding on human blood to survive.
Despite fleas not posing a severe threat to humans, if your home does have an infestation of fleas from your pets, these fleas may seek out new hosts and cling onto clothes before attempting to latch onto human flesh.
In addition to the above strategies, try making a few homemade flea traps that work in the house. A dish of soapy water and a light are surprisingly effective to attract and kill fleas.
Historically, fleas acted as vectors for the bubonic plague after feeding on infected rats. Today, fleas do not generally threaten humans outside of temporary skin irritation and swelling for people allergic to flea bites and saliva.
Addressing and treating a flea infestation in your home is essential for pet health. Allowing fleas to live and feed on your cats without treatment leads to severe skin irritation and hair loss if the infestation is bad enough. Keep your cats and household safe from fleas by using a combination of flea control methods to get rid of flea infestation on a cat.
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