10 Effective Home Remedies for Cat Fleas

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

When your cat has fleas, it can be an annoyance and a danger both for your beloved feline and yourself. Fortunately, there are a number of home remedies for cat fleas, including the use of saltwater, apple cider vinegar, a flea collar, diatomaceous earth, flea comb, additional cleaning, pennyroyal, rosemary, aloe vera juice, lemon spray, garden maintenance and many others.

What is Cat Fleas?

If it seems like your cat can’t stop scratching itself, particularly if the animal has recently been outside, there is a good chance that your cat may be dealing with a case of cat fleas. These small, brown or black insects are scientifically known as Ctenocephalides felis and can enter your home from your cat itself or an outside host. Some of the most common carriers for cat fleas are dogs and cats, but it is also possible that another infected animal may be living in or near your house, populating the space with these quickly reproducing parasites. It is difficult to see these fleas unless you are using a microscope or a dissecting scope, but they are roughly 1/4 inch long. These parasites go through a rather normal life stage cycle, including egg, grub, pupa and adult, but the adults are the only cat fleas that live and feed directly on a host. Female fleas need a healthy supply of blood if they are to reproduce. These infestations of your cat can be very painful for your pet and difficult to eliminate, so you will want to take care of the condition as soon as possible. [1]

Cat scratching itself due to fleas

The most obvious sign that your cat has fleas is persistent scratching. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Some of the most common symptoms include excessive grooming, intense biting or scratching of their coat, agitation or irritability, obvious avoidance of certain areas of the home, muscle loss, hair loss, lethargy, and red skin lesions or scabbed bumps on the skin. In extreme cases, you might even be able to see the fleas jumping on and off of your cat’s body. This is obviously a hygienic issue for the cat, but if they are removed from the host, they may seek out humans for a meal, which usually results in small raised bumps or lesions on the lower leg. There are a number of intense treatments recommended by certain veterinarians, but there are also many home remedies that can clear up this condition. Let’s take a closer look at these now. [2]

Home Remedies for Cat Fleas

Home Remedies for Cat Fleas are as follows:


The irritated skin of your cat after a nasty flea infection can be red and painful, making for a lot of whining and sleepless nights from your little feline friend. Rosemary has a number of anti-inflammatory properties and is safe for cats in case they take a nibble. It can also stimulate the growth of hairs in areas where it might have been lost due to fleas. You can take a bunch of dried rosemary leaves, crush them into a powder and then sprinkle them on the areas where you cat spends time – either sleeping, napping or playing. This can be a passive way to stimulate healing. [3]

Aloe Vera Juice

Another popular remedy for cat fleas is aloe vera, due to its astringent, anti-parasitic and antiseptic nature. It can smother the fleas and suffocate them, and make the environment unlivable. This won’t have any negative effects on your cats, but it can quickly eliminate fleas. Mix aloe vera juice with some cayenne pepper for an even more effective solution. [4]

Flea Comb

Your cat might not be crazy about being held and combed through on a regular basis, but if you have an outdoor cat, using a flea comb is a must. With this fine-toothed comb, you can successfully spot infected areas and treat them quickly, before they can reproduce and cause a real problem. [5]

Diatomaceous Earth

This specialized mineral can be very effective at eliminating cat fleas because, while it is harmless to animals and humans, the sharp edges can pierce insect exoskeletons and cause them to dehydrate and die. You can simply powder your hands with this and rub it on your cat’s fur, and also sprinkle some on the carpet and bedding to eliminate a possible infestation. [6]

Salt Water

Fortunately, one of the most effective solutions for cat fleas is also one of the simplest. You can mix salt in with water and spray it in areas that you suspect are infected with fleas, and can even clean your floors with it to ensure that there are no eggs developing there. Salt is a powerful repellent for many different types of insects, and even sprinkling salt into your carpets and your cat’s bed can be a great remedy for this problem. [7]

Flea Collar

A more tech-based solution is to simply buy a flea collar. These are widely available at every pet store and are known to be very effective. The flea collar is not actually a “collar”, but rather something that you can cut up and place strategically near your pet’s bed to prevent any infestations. The collar contains insect growth regulator, which makes it impossible for eggs and larvae to develop naturally.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Whether for human problems or feline issues, apple cider vinegar remains one of the most powerful boosts to the immune system. Applying apple cider vinegar to the affected places on your cat’s body can quickly eliminate any infections caused by ticks or fleas, and also promote healing of those irritated areas. White vinegar is another very good solution, particularly for cleaning surfaces in the home. [8]

Additional Cleaning

Regular vacuuming and mopping the floor may seem like more work than you can handle, but if you have a cat, this is an excellent way to prevent any flea infestations. Cat fleas can live in carpet and wait for the perfect moment to infect your cat, but if you regularly scrub the floors and keep the carpets clean, there is nowhere for them to lay their eggs and mature into adults. [9]

Garden Maintenance

If you cat happens to be an outside adventurer, there is a good chance that he/she will catch fleas at some point. If your cat primarily wanders in your garden, however, there is a way to keep her safe from fleas in that specific area. A number of herbs have a taste and smell that is very unpleasant to fleas, ticks and other parasites, so if you carefully place these herbs in key places in your garden or backyard, you can likely avoid this itchy issue. Some of the best herbs for this are tansy, eucalyptus, lavender or fennel. [10]

Lemon Spray

One of the most powerful scents/smells when it comes to chasing away insects, fleas and ticks is lemon, so be generous with your use of it around your home. A simple spray bottle with concentrated lemon juice can serve as a quick protective shield on your cat’s coat, but should also be used around the house in areas where your cats sleeps and plays, to prevent those areas from becoming flea-infested. [11]

A Final Word of Warning

When an infection becomes severe enough, it is essential that you bring your cat to a veterinarian for more intensive treatment. Furthermore, the symptoms of cat fleas can also be indicative of other infections or more serious problems, so it is wise to go to the vet regardless and make sure those bites weren’t from insects carrying any other sorts of pathogens.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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