Last week, my husband and I adopted that cute little kitty up there^ and we’ve had a blast playing and cuddling with her! The downside is that after we brought her home, we realized she had fleas and ear mites (sad face). None of the home remedies we tried on the ear mites worked, so we broke down and bought some medicine from a pet store (although I’m usually against using pesticides, especially on living creatures). However, we did have success with our home remedies on the fleas.
I did an extensive search on our cat last night and as far as I can tell, she’s now flea-free! We’re still continuing to treat her, though, because all it takes is one egg or hidden female flea and the cycle can start all over again. Here’s how you can also get rid of fleas using natural ingredients you likely have at home (because who wants to pay for those expensive flea medicines, anyway?)…
1. Make your pet get used to bath time
If you’re trying to get rid of fleas on a dog, this will probably be a much more pleasant experience. Even though our cat isn’t a huge fan of baths, we found that this is the most effective home remedy for those nasty fleas. We used an all natural cleansing conditioner to lather her up, and then we watched as multitudes of dead fleas were rinsed down the drain. Turns out that fleas HATE soapy water, and the baths we gave our kitty also helped to get rid of those sneaky eggs that were hidden in her long fur.
2. Give them a separate towel
After bath time, make sure you use a separate towel on your pet (not your own towel or one that someone else in your family is using). While this might be an obvious way to prevent spreading fleas around, I almost grabbed my own towel to dry off our cat after her first bath with us. Even if it’s a little inconvenient, it’s best to use a different towel on your pet and to wash it as soon as possible to prevent escapee fleas jumping off the towel and onto your own body or parts of the house.
3. Douse your pet with apple cider vinegar
We put some apple cider vinegar in a small spray bottle and used it to spray down our cat. Unless you don’t mind the smell of vinegar on your cat (it’s not so bad if it makes you think of Easter), it would be wise to spray down your pet about an hour before giving it a bath. This way the vinegar can do its work on the fleas before you rinse it out. This treatment REALLY worked on our cat.
4. Invest in a flea comb
While flea treatments can get pretty pricy, I’ve found that flea combs usually cost less than $10 (which is still a lot for a tiny comb, in my opinion, but not as bank-breaking as flea medicine). Flea combs are a great way to get both dead and alive pests out of your pet’s fur. The package for the comb I bought says to frequently dip it in a bowl of soapy water when combing your pet. This way you can wash out those dead fleas and (hopefully) kill the alive ones!
5. Vacuum constantly
This is uber important! Fleas will sometimes hide in carpets or rugs and they can end up laying eggs all over your house. If your flea problem is really bad, I suggest vacuuming at least once a day to get rid of these suckers. Make sure you dump out the vacuum bag into a closed container (a grocery sack works well if your trashcan doesn’t have a lid) to prevent any live fleas from crawling back into your living space.
6. Wash your sheets, towels, clothes, etc. in HOT water
I know our moms taught us to wash our color laundry in cold water, but as long as fleas are hiding in the house I strongly suggest using hot water when washing everything. This is a good way to make sure you kill all of those little parasites along with their eggs.
7. Continue to treat your pet, even when you think the fleas are gone
Just like I stated in my opening paragraph, all it takes is one egg or hidden female flea and the cycle can start all over again. When you see no more signs of fleas or eggs, I suggest continuing to treat your pet and your house for at least a couple more days, if not one more week. The last thing you want is a surprise comeback from those fleas you worked so hard to get rid of!
Whatever you do, do NOT use tea tree oil or other essential oils on your pet (especially on cats)
Since tea tree oil makes a great natural remedy for many of our human problems (including repelling bugs), I thought it would be a good way to repel the fleas off of our cat. I know it’s not safe for ingestion, so I rubbed a very tiny amount on the back of our kitty’s neck, where I was sure she wouldn’t lick it off. The next morning she vomited (on the tile, thankfully). After reading this article I found on PetMD, I realized that her skin absorbed the tea tree oil and I learned that this is NOT a safe remedy for cats. More serious symptoms of toxicity from tea tree oil in cats include tremors, seizures, unconsciousness, or even a coma. So just promise me you won’t try this on your pet, okay? Here’s another PetMD article that explains why you shouldn’t use any essential oils on your pets.
Got any more home remedies for fleas? Please share with us!