If your cat is constantly scratching and you are seeing those annoying little pests on your carpet and around the house, then you could be dealing with a flea infestation. Are you wondering if Aromatherapy can help you out here? Are there any effective essential oils for fleas on cats?
The cat flea or the Ctenocephalides felis is the most common type of flea found on cats and dogs. Occasionally though, rabbit and hedgehog fleas may also be found on felines and they can be equally distressing for pet owners.
This guide will help you answer all those questions. I will be discussing easy recipes of homemade flea spray for carpet that you can use safely around your beloved pet.
We will also discuss a handy list of essential oils that kill fleas on cats without any allergic reactions or toxicity.
So, without further adieu, let us delve right into the heart of the matter.
What are Cat Fleas?
Typical Ctenocephalides felis or the cat flea is reddish brown in color-female fleas measure about 2-2.5 mm in length and are slightly longer than males.
Fleas feed on cat and dog blood but can also take intermediate hosts like tapeworm, possums, rodents etc.
They are known to transmit bacteria in the bitten animal causing a wide range of diseases which could even be fatal. Cat fleas cause anemia in younger and weaker animals and can even lead to tapeworm infestation.
The problem with dealing with a flea infestation is that it tends to spiral out of control within no time. This is because; a single female flea can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime!
The larvae also grow into adulthood within no time and soon they are reproducing as well. Fleas also need a whole lot of blood meal to complete their life cycle stages.
So they always need a host around them. In absence of dogs, cats, and other wild or domesticated animals, fleas will not hesitate to bite humans.
How To Control Fleas At Home and on Pets?
Successful control of fleas requires you to take 2 steps:
- Control and repel them on your cat
- Also control them in the cat’s environment.
Majority of cats spend a lot of time outdoors and that makes them very susceptible to acquiring fleas. That is why it is very important to use round-the-year flea protection for these pets.
Thankfully, there are many safe and effective essential oils for fleas on cats that repel fleas. I will be discussing them shortly.
Infested cats and kittens come home to rest atop furniture, under beds, in hutches, above the entertainment centers and so on. They have a habit of shaking their bodies which deposits fleas, larvae and eggs in your home. So, all these areas become potential breeding grounds for fleas.
Therefore, you must vacuum each and every room and clean and wash pet bedding in hot water. It is also important that you bathe your pet using vet approved shampoos.
We will soon discuss some natural shampoo recipes to keep your cat flea-free. Later, I will talk about a homemade flea spray which you can spray around the house and on carpets to keep it pest-free. This homemade spray contains essential oils which are safe for use around cats.
Why Use Natural Flea Treatment for Eliminating Cat Fleas?
Natural ways to get rid of fleas on cats are a safer option compared to chemical flea control. Many monthly flea products contain pesticides, organophosphates and a slew of other chemicals some of which have even been banned by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Recently, a report published by the NRDC or the Nation Resource Defense Council recommended a complete ban of such products because it stressed the fact that we were unknowingly killing our pets with these products.
Moreover, chemicals like organophosphates also pose great risk to human users and could lead to birth defects, endocrine changes and even certain cancers.
So, as a pet owner who wants the best for her/his pet, avoid using chemicals and you will find the entire household much healthier.
Essential Oils: the Best Way to Get Rid of Fleas in the House When you Have a Cat
Therapeutic grade essential oils for fleas are very effective repellents. Ticks and fleas both hate the smell of these oils. Naturally, you need to reapply these essential oils weekly since their aroma dissipates and gets lighter over time.
So, unlike monthly flea control products, you might have to use the homemade flea spray for cats every few days.
However, I strongly believe that the payback of using essential oils is a greater alternative to chemicals. You and your pets will both benefit tremendously from switching to natural ways of flea control.
In the beginning, you will need to use essential oil flea and tick repellent recipe very frequently based on the pet’s health, the degree of infestation and also your pet’s daily routine. For example, if your cat is always outdoors or you have had to board it in a pet daycare facility; chances are that it is bombarded with fleas and ticks there.
So it is important that you take all these factors into account and use the requisite quantity of flea spray recipe discussed in this guide.
Apart from homemade flea spray for cats, I will also be discussing other ways in which you can use essential oils for controlling and repelling fleas. I will talk about a simple flea collar recipe, shampoos and even a flea powder with essential oils.
Before moving on to essential oil recipes for fleas on cats, let us discuss which oils are safe for use on felines.
Best Essential Oils for Flea Control in Cats
In diluted form, eucalyptus essential oil is generally safe for cats. Never let your cat smell Eucalyptus essential oil directly. If you plan to use this oil topically for flea control, make sure you dilute it well. Use coconut or olive oil for dilution.
You can also add a few drops of Eucalyptus oil to your cat’s shampoo and use the mixture for bathing your pet.
Also add a few drops to the final rinse water when bathing an infested cat. The strong smell of eucalyptus drives fleas away.
Lemongrass essential oil is generally well tolerated by cats. However, as with any aromatherapy essential oil, make sure you dilute it well with coconut oil or olive oil before topical use.
These days many pet shampoos contain lemongrass oil due to its strong insect repellent properties. You can also add a few drops of lemongrass oil in your cat’s shampoo or make a flea powder by mixing it with arrowroot powder. I will discuss a flea powder recipe shortly.
This pleasant smelling oil is an effective flea repellent and is quite safe for cats as long as you dilute it well.
It has antibacterial and antifungal properties as a result of which many creams for treating skin issues like eczema in cats contain this oil.
Lavender oil is one of the safest essential oils for fleas on cats. Its unique fragrance not only repels fleas and ticks, it also calms your pet and soothes skin problems.
Sprinkle dried lavender buds around pet bedding and also add a few drops of pure lavender oil to your cat’s shampoo.
Citronella oil has been used since centuries for repelling all kinds of bugs. Spritz a bit of the diluted oil all around your pets’ bedding. Before using citronella topically, make sure your cat likes it.
You can try a smell test to ensure your cat loves the smell. Always use this oil diluted when using around cats.
Clary sage oil
This oil makes a great dip for dog and cat fleas. Avoid using the oil around pregnant cats.
Diffuse the oil around the cat’s bedding to instantly calm the animal. Also apply diluted to its paws or the neck to repel ticks and fleas.
Essential Oils that are Toxic to Cats
Several essential oils are toxic to cats...
- Camphor oil
- Tea tree oil
- Peppermint oil
- Almost all Citrus oils (Lemon, Lime, Orange, Bergamot, Tangerine)
- Clove oil
- Pennyroyal oil
- Spruce oil
- Niaouli oil
- Carrot seed oil
- Juniper oil
- Wintergreen oil
- Oregano oil
Smell Test of Essential Oils for Cat Fleas
No matter how safe an essential oil might seem to use around cats, you must perform a small ‘smell test’ first. Such a test will show you if your pet likes the smell of the oil. If it does not like the smell, it will run away or hide.
To perform the smell test, dip a Q-tip in the oil bottle. Wipe the Q-tip on a rag or piece of paper. Place the rag/paper near the cat. If your cat is not allergic to the oil’s smell and seems to like the smell, it will play with the paper/rag. If not, s/he will try and run away from it.
Many essential oils can even cause severe toxicity in felines. The symptoms of poisoning include:
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive sneezing
- Partial paralysis
Never ever give essential oils internally to cats. They lack liver enzymes to eliminate them.
This causes the oils to remain in the system for long periods and can lead to permanently elevated levels and varying degrees of impaired liver function.
If you suspect poisoning, seek medical help immediately.
Essential Oils for Cat Fleas Recipes
Homemade Flea Free Blend for Topical Application or Flea Collars
- ½ oz of base oil (Sweet Almond or Coconut oil)
- 4 drops of Clary sage oil
- 1 drop of Citronella oil
- 7 drops of Lavender oil
- 3 drops of Lemongrass oil
Store the blend in a glass bottle. Add a few drops on a collar or bandana and tie it around the cat’s neck. Make sure s/he is comfortable with the aroma first.
Homemade Flea Spray for Carpets
- 1 tsp Glycerin
- ½ oz Vodka
- 1 tsp Castor oil
- 10 drops of Grapefruit seed extract
- 7 oz distilled water
- 4 drops Clary sage oil
- 1 drop of Citronella oil
- 7 drops of Lavender oil
- 3 drops of Cedarwood oil
- 2 drops of Lemongrass oil
Mix the ingredients and store them in a spray bottle. Spray it around cat’s bedding and on carpets to repel fleas and ticks.
Flea Powder for Carpets
Sprinkle this powder liberally on carpets and areas where your cat rests. Vacuum thoroughly after 3 hours.
- 4 oz arrowroot
- 20 drops Lavender essential oil
- 15 drops Cedarwood essential oil
- 10 drops Citronella essential oil
- 20 drops Lemongrass essential oil
- 1 shaker container
Ad all ingredients in the container and shake well. Sprinkle liberally all around the house, pet bedding etc. In case you do not have arrowroot powder, use baking soda.
Flea Shampoo recipe for Cats
- 2 parts Eucalyptus essential oil and Geranium essential oil
- 1 part each Lavender essential oil and Cedarwood essential oil
Mix the oils and take a few drops of the blend. Add it to your cat shampoo. Lather well. Rinse off after 5 minutes. Also add a few drops of the blend to final rinsing water.
Some More Tips to Deter Fleas with Essential oils for Cats
- Add essential oils to your cats wash especially their bedding and blankets.
- A great way to deter fleas is to mix Lavender, Cedarwood and Citronella oils to a bowl of warm water along with a few teaspoons of Castile soap. Dip your cat’s grooming brush in the water and use the brush to comb their fur.
- Use the oils regularly for all year-round protection from fleas.
Fleas love cats but they hate essential oils. Essential oils are derived from plants and they are plant’s natural pest repellent. So we can harness this capability of oils to get rid of ticks and fleas on cats. However, cats are very sensitive to oils too.
So it is very important that you observe some safety rules before using them. Make sure you cat likes the smell of the oil before you use it. As stated before, never let your cat lick any oil. Do keep an eye out for changes in cat’s behavior after using the oils.
Remember: cats are way different than dogs and veterinarians are known to take extreme precautions in prescribing medicines to cats.
As a pet owner, you too should exercise caution before introducing any new essential oils in the pet’s environment.