Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats

Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats
If you’re trying to figure out how to cope with your “flea-ridden’ varmint,” you’re not alone — especially if the varmint in question is your cat. The feline flea, Ctenocephalides felis, sticks around on cats and other hosts much longer than other flea species do. Even worse, they lay quick-hatching eggs almost continuously for the month or so they live on their host. Many of their offspring survive, expanding their population’s territory — meaning that your home can quickly become infested.

Flea bites not only make cats, humans and other pets miserable, but on rare occasions, they can even transmit disease. 1. While you should always check with your veterinarian if you are concerned, home remedies for fleas on cats can help control the chances of a serious outbreak. The key is to use a multi-pronged approach of treating both your cat and the household itself.

Comb ’em Out

Flea Comb - Home Remedies for Cats

A simple metal flea comb from your local pet store can do much to combat the problem. Make sure to get one geared to a cat’s coat, and with fine teeth that are specifically designed for flea control. The teeth are strategically spaced for adult flea removal, which in turn helps reduce mating and egg-laying. Comb your cat’s hair daily during serious flea breakouts. It’s important to focus on areas like under the legs and tail. Dip the comb into the soapy water repeatedly during the combing session.

While combing will likely need to be combined with other methods in order to really defeat the flea population, it can also give you an idea of how many fleas are infesting your cat at any given moment. 2

Suck it Up

Vacuum Up Fleas - Home Remedies for Cats

Sanitation is another of those labor-intensive, but non-chemical, home remedies for fleas on cats that is absolutely crucial. Where you cat sleeps is a prime breeding area, especially if it’s well-away from other activity and from sunlight. Vacuum around this area daily. Pay special attention to soft surfaces, such as upholstered furniture and carpeting, because both adult fleas, larvae, and eggs tend to lurk in these areas. 3

Give Fluffy a Bath

Cat Shampoo for Fleas

Believe it or not, even the force a gentle water stream can do much to dislodge fleas from your cat. Use your sink’s sprayer function to generously wet your cat’s coat. If you have a mild, feline-friendly shampoo, take advantage of its lather’s ability to pick up and remove stubborn eggs. 4

In regards to feline-friendly shampoos, we hear good things about Pro Pet Works and Earth Bath.

To amplify the benefits of the bath, add a drop or two of essential oil to a handful of the shampoo before lathering your cat up. Eucalyptus is especially helpful for repelling future fleas, as well as getting current ones to “jump ship.” 5 Always ask your vet about the latest research on various essential oils, or whether your cat might be sensitive to them based on other health issues.

Strew Some Botanicals

Southernwood Plant - Herbal Remedy for Fleas on Cats

Depending on what you have growing in your garden or can reliably find on nature walks, you may discover that free, no-pesticide botanicals are among the most effective of the home remedies for fleas on cats. The somewhat forgotten art of “herbal strewing” was once used for everything from making a home smell aromatic, to repelling pests such as fleas. The practice is still be used as such today by natural remedy enthusiasts As with essential oils, it’s best to ask your vet about potential plant interactions for your specific pet, and to start with just a small amount to see if any members of the household, including humans, exhibit any sensitivity.

Scatter fresh or dried leaves of flea-repelling plants beneath your cat’s bedding, as well as under couch cushions, behind furniture, and even under your own mattress. Some of the most effective plants include stems of southernwood — a tall aromatic plant often used in the back borders of herb and flower gardens — and walnut tree leaves. Additional flea-repellent plants you may grow in your own garden, or find at health food stores include tansy, lavender, mint, feverfew, rosemary, and sage. 6.

Natural Fumigation

Cayenne Pepper for Fleas

Flea “bombs” don’t have to involve unleashing chemicals throughout an infested room. Instead, place a few spoonfuls of cayenne pepper in a shallow tin can or a tin lid, and place it over a candle set in a jar, or floating in a double boiler. Close all windows and doors, and let the pepper work its magic for about an hour. (For obvious safety reasons, do this in a room with a window so you can keep your eye on the heat source.) The fumes will kill existing fleas without pesticides. Be sure to air out the room before allowing kids and animals back into it. 7.


  1. Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets, University of California Integrated Pest Management
  2. Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets, University of California Integrated Pest Management
  3. Pests of Homes, Structures, People, and Pets, University of California Integrated Pest Management
  4. 8 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats, Pet MD
  5. Botanical-based Insecticides, Rutgers Pest Management Office
  6. The Green Witch Herbal: Restoring Nature’s Magic in Home, Health, and Beauty Care, Barbara Griggs
  7. The Green Witch Herbal: Restoring Nature’s Magic in Home, Health, and Beauty Care, Barbara Griggs