How to Treat Cats with Fleas
Fleas are extremely common parasites among cats. And keeping the fleas at bay isn’t all that easy. What makes fleas so incredibly difficult to control is their amazing resilience. One female flea can lay over 2000 eggs during her short life which means infestation can occur rapidly. Flea eggs can survive for months until an appropriate host comes along.
Cat fleas can be be a huge problem, especially in the summer months. Flea bites generally result in the formation of a slightly raised swollen itching spot on the skin surface with a single puncture wound. Apart from causing itchy and painful bites to your cat, fleas may also transmit tapeworm. Therefore when you notice your cat has fleas, get your cat dewormed to ensure there is no tape worm infestation.
Some cats are allergic to the flea saliva on the skin and known develop flea bite dermatitis and in severe cases, anemia. Cats with fleas can get very irritated and scratch their skin a lot, often until the skin is raw, weeping or even bleeding. They also lick at certain spots on their skin constantly which may cause hot spots and result in loss of lose hair or baldness.
To get rid of cat fleas successfully you have to control them both on your cat and in its environment; i.e. your home and other pet cats or dogs. Wash all bedding, rugs, blankets and cushions that your cat has contact with in hot water and vacuum the whole house. Pay particular attention to difficult to reach areas behind furniture and gaps between floor boards.
Home remedies for fleas on cats
Conventional treatment for flea bites will usually involve topical creams and may include antihistamines. However these topical pesticides to control cat fleas may have side effects. Home remedies for cats are a safe and less expensive alternative to commercial cat flea products. They can effectively kill fleas on your cat and prevent future infestations.
To calm aggravated and itchy skin cause by flea bites you can use a variety of herbs such as German chamomile, marigold, cleavers or witch hazel. German chamomile is excellent for soothing and cleansing the irritated cat skin. Marigold is a great herb with anti-inflammatory properties and helps to soothe rashes and itchiness. Use these herbs in a compress. Compresses are warm herbal packs that are applied to the affected area. You can use cotton wool or cotton fabric for a compress. Soak it in very warm herbal tea made of chamomile or marigold, then place it against the area to be treated.
If this is too messy for you or your cat is uncooperative, there are skin soothing natural remedies you can buy. For example, PetAlive offers a home remedy for cats with fleas. Itch Ease relieves and soothes skin itch and stops your cat scratching.
Garlic and yeast are excellent home remedies for cats to repel fleas. Grate a very small amount of garlic mixed with some brewer’s yeast into your cat’s food every day. Alternatively, there are garlic tablets for cats you can buy. Liquid garlic is another option. It contains the essential oils of garlic and aniseed and will help to repel fleas. Either spray directly onto your cat’s coat or mix with an equal amount of water and comb through the coat.
Herbal flea collars
Most commercially produced flea collars are made with toxic chemicals that will be partly absorbed through your cat’s skin. Many cats cannot bear them and desperately try to lick and groom the area around the collar, thereby ingesting the chemicals.
An essential oil flea collar is a natural alternative. It provides excellent protection against fleas and is very easy and cheap to make. You can also buy herbal flea collars.
To make your own, all you have to do is to buy a soft material collar and soak it in a mixture of ½ teaspoon of alcohol and one drop each of cedar wood, lavender, citronella and thyme essential oils mixed with the contents of four garlic capsules for pets. Blend the ingredients together, pour over the collar until the mixture has been fully absorbed. Let the collar dry before you put it around your cat’s neck. This should be effective for one month.
Start by washing your cat’s coat thoroughly in a bath of thyme and nasturtium water. Use a handful of each herb and put it in a cotton pouch (a big handkerchief will do) and soak it for 2 minutes in boiling water. Let the water cool down to a comfortable temperature before you decant it into your cat bath and you put your cat in!
Soak the cat’s coat well with the thyme and nasturtium water and then shampoo your cat with a rosemary shampoo. Alternatives are shampoos containing pine cedar, bergamot, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper or geranium. Give your cat a really good wash (for about 10 minutes) and rinse well. Dry the cat with a towel and rub some lemon water (juice of a lemon diluted in half a litre of water) into its coat. Finally dry your cat properly with a hairdryer.
Get a fine toothed flea comb. Groom your cat daily and place the dislodged fleas into a bowl of water filled with detergent which will kill them.
Cat fleas can be difficult to control but these home remedies for cats with fleas will give you good results.