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8 Natural Methods for Controlling Fleas on Cats
There are a lot of different options available for cat owners who are being faced with fleas. There are even some options available that are considered more nature-based. Here are a few ways to eliminate fleas on cats the natural way.
1. Prevention, Not Elimination
You may find that some of these “home remedies” work great the first year and then become less effective over time. While these methods are safer, you will find that they are more effective at preventing flea problems than eliminating established infestations. Also, no single method is going to work 100 percent, so it may be necessary to combine a few different methods to reduce the level of infestation present in your home and on your cat.
2. Limit Outdoor Exposure
If your cat spends lots of time outdoors, you will probably have more difficulty controlling fleas naturally, since they may be strongly established in the yard (or wherever your cat frequents) as well as in the home. Be aware that not every flea control method will work for every situation. You may need to use one method for the yard, another for the home and yet another for your cat’s body.
3. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Your cat can benefit from a simple and thorough rinse with cool water to expel fleas from the body and hair. Following the water bath, using a cedar, eucalyptus, lavender, or citrus-infused shampoo may help to keep fleas at bay – they are all known flea repellants. Adding extra omega-3 fatty acid supplements to your cat’s diet will improve skin health, too. This is especially helpful for protecting the skin from drying out when you are using regular shampooing for eliminating fleas from the haircoat.
4. Flea Comb it Out
If your cat hates water, try using a flea comb. You will need to make sure the comb gets down close to the skin, but you will need to work slowly, as the comb may pull on the hair while you are dragging it through. While combing, concentrate on the areas of your cat’s body where fleas like to hide, like the groin, armpits and base of the tail. Also, have a bowl of soapy water nearby when you use the comb so you can drown the fleas as you remove them.
5. Don’t Forget the Home
Adult fleas will lay eggs in your cat’s bedding, deep in the carpet, and almost everyplace your cat frequents, so you won’t be able to get rid of the entire population of fleas by simply combing and washing your cat. You will need to be sure to also clean and treat the household and yard when fighting fleas. Cedar and diatomaceous earth, for example, can be used in the home to repel fleas from areas where your cats sleep.
6. Vacuum Diligently
You will need to be very diligent in vacuuming and cleaning the inside and outside of your home when dealing with fleas, and you will need to do it frequently in order for it make a real difference. You may wish to initially have your carpets professionally cleaned to help remove some of the deposited eggs and larvae, but this will not eliminate the problem entirely. You will need to vacuum all of the surfaces of your house every few days (disposing of the vacuum bag at least weekly) and wash all of your cat’s bedding almost as often.
7. Use Salt
Salt may be sprinkled into the carpet to work as a desiccant (drying agent) to kill flea eggs and larvae deep in the fibers of the carpet. However, salt would not be a good solution for those who live in areas of the country with higher humidity levels (such as Florida), as it can absorb water and result in mildewed carpet.
8. Treat Your Yard
The outside yard will also need to be kept free of debris (piles of leaves, etc.) to help reduce places for fleas to congregate. Planting certain herbs and plants, such as lavender, eucalyptus, fennel, marigold, in the yard may help direct fleas away from your property. Food-grade diatomaceous earth can also be used to treat the yard without chemicals. It acts as an abrasive and drying agent, much like boric acid does. Just keep in mind that you may need to reapply it after a particularly heavy rain as it can be washed away.
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