Natural Flea Killer for Cats: What Works and What to Avoid

Your poor cat is itchy and miserable from fleas but the last thing you want is to expose her to harmful pesticides. Is there a natural flea killer for cats that can do the job without the chemicals?

It's a pertinent question, especially if your cat is already weak from a chronic health problem or has an underlying sensitivity. Very old and very young cats are also more prone to adverse reactions from pesticides.

Not to mention the risks that pesticides could pose to other members of the household, particularly young children who're in the habit of snuggling up with kitty.

So finding non-toxic, natural flea remedies for cats is crucial...but so is making sure that they actually work! After all, fleas are prolific breeders and any time you waste on natural remedies that don't work is time that the fleas are using to multiply their blood-sucking population.

And nobody's got time for that! Which is why we've gone ahead and listed the most effective natural flea remedies for cats. But before we get to that, here are a few things you need to know about natural flea control!

  • What's good for the goose...

...Is not always good for the gander, especially if the "goose" is a dog and the "gander" is a cat. Okay, that's confusing. But what we're trying to say is that treating a dog for fleas is very different from treating a cat for fleas.

...Is not always good for the gander, especially if the "goose" is a dog and the "gander" is a cat. Okay, that's confusing. But what we're trying to say is that treating a dog for fleas is very different from treating a cat for fleas.

You see, cats are more prone to negative reactions than dogs are simply because cats have a very sensitive metabolism, are often smaller than dogs, and also incessantly groom themselves (making it more likely that your cat will ingest whatever you apply on their fur).

So even if a natural flea killer worked wonders on your dog, take caution and check that it's cat-safe before using it on your cat!

  • Natural does not mean harmless

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that just because something is natural, it doesn't mean it's not harmful. After all, some of the most well-known poisons are as natural as can be: think cyanide.

In many cases, the difference between a medicine and a poison is simply the dosage. But when it comes to cats, the danger also lies in the way cats process toxins.

You see, dogs are a lot like humans in the way their liver metabolizes toxins and disposes of the waste through urine and feces. Cats, on the other hand, lack the liver enzyme (glucuronyl tranferase) that allows them to break down certain compounds such as the ones found in some essential oils.

As you may have already noticed, most of the natural flea products use a combination of potent essential oils like cinnamon, clove, rosemary, peppermint and cedar instead of pesticides. These essential oils are made up of compounds that are mostly harmless for humans and dogs but can build up in a cat's body, causing toxicity problems, liver damage and even death.

It's not all essential oils, mind you - it's mostly the ones that are high in phenols and hydrocarbons that you'll need to avoid. But this in itself is a pretty exhaustive list which includes some of the most popular flea-killing, flea-repelling essential oils out there like peppermint, clove, pine, orange oil and more.

  • Killer vs repeller

The internet is filled with natural remedies for everything under the sun and fleas are no exception. Do a quick Google search and you'll find all kinds of natural solutions for fleas, from apple cider vinegar to lemon juice to Earl Grey tea.

There's definitely an abundance of suggestions out there. But before you waste your time trying each and every one of them, keep in mind that natural remedies for fleas fall under 3 categories: the ones that just don't work, the ones that help to repel fleas and the ones that actually kill fleas.

Obviously, you'll want to skip the ones that don't work (which is why we leave them out of this article). As for the natural flea repellents and the natural flea killers - it's important to distinguish between the two.

For example, natural flea repellents like apple cider vinegar and brewer's yeast are best used before you have a full-fledged flea infestation. Once your cat and home are infested with fleas, using a flea repellent is like trying to pour water out of a leaking boat.

If you're currently flea-less and looking for preventative options, check out Natural Flea Repellent for Cats. But if you're dealing with a flea infestation and seeking natural flea killer options, read on for a list of your best choices!

The best part? Because all of these flea remedies are natural and non-toxic, you can use them together. In fact, you should use all of them together for the best, fastest results!

Seek and kill with a flea comb

natural flea killer for cats

So affordable, so low-tech and yet, so effective. The humble flea comb has been a fixture in homes with pets for as long as it's been around and for good reason - the flea comb offers a 100% natural way to detect and kill fleas. And 'though it is a manual, time-consuming process, it offers a certain level of satisfaction.

Plus, it can be used everyday, as often as you'd like to rid your beloved cat of fleas - all without worrying about pesticides, toxicity and all that nasty business. Find out exactly how to use a flea comb to get rid of fleas!


Drown using good old soap

natural flea killer for cats

A flea comb is a pretty nifty tool all on its own, but it's so much more effective when combined with other treatments, such as a flea bath.

A flea bath is a simple way to drown some of the fleas that are currently living on your poor cat. The thing is, though - fleas are hardy little folk and they won't easily drown. Studies show that it actually takes 24 hours of full submersion to fatally drown a flea! And can you imagine trying to keep your cat in the bathtub for that long?!

Nobody wants to even attempt that, which is where soap comes in handy. Soapy water helps get comatose fleas off your cat's fur so they can be carried down the drain. And you don't even need to use a chemical-laden flea shampoo.

Go for a non-irritating product like unscented Castile soap, dilute it fifty-fifty with water and then lather your cat up. Try to keep your cat's neck and body completely covered in this soapy mixture for several minutes before you wash it off. After the bath, comb your cat again to remove remaining fleas.


Kill cat fleas with heat

How to Check for Bed Bugs

The simplest, easiest and most effective natural flea killer for cats doesn't involve your cat at all but it will still help wipe out a large chunk of the fleas that are currently torturing your cat.

You see, not all the fleas live on your cat. A good chunk of the flea family may be hiding out in your cat's bedding, blankets, and toys and jumping on your cat whenever it's mealtime. The good news is that it's easy to kill off these freeloaders - simply stick all of your cat's bedding in the wash and dryer.

Fleas at all life stages can’t survive temperatures above 95 degrees so doing a round of laundry is a ridiculously easy, natural way to kill off some fleas!


Kill cat fleas with diatomaceous earth

diatomaceous earth scorpions
diatomaceous earth scorpions

We love diatomaceous earth (DE). It's all natural, very affordable and so very effective against all pests with exoskeletons, which includes everything from fleas to bed bugs.

Curious how it works? Diatomaceous earth (DE) is made up of individual, tiny crystals with very sharp edges. This sharpness helps to attach the powder to the fleas’ outer shells, causing the little blood suckers to dry out and eventually die of dehydration (basically, it sucks them dry by absorbing their natural liquids).

And it does all this without pesticides or toxicity concerns. The only drawback is that DE requires consistency and patience. You see, diatomaceous earth is very effective for killing fleas but they do have to make direct contact with the substance and even then, it takes awhile for death by dehydration to happen.

Which means DE is not a quick and easy solution, but it is an effective one especially when you combine it with strategic vacuuming...


Suck up fleas with a vacuum

natural flea killer for cats

Vacuuming seems like such a simple solution yet it is one of the best ways to kill cat fleas. That's because cat fleas don't always stay on your cat - fleas jump on and off as well as lay eggs that roll off your cat's fur onto the carpet. This is why killing the fleas on your carpet is the biggest step to getting rid of fleas once and for all!

Plus, vacuuming not only eliminates all the adult fleas it sucks up, but it also removes flea eggs, larvae and some pupae so you're able to eliminate fleas in all life stages.

Even better? The vacuum sucks up all the nastiness that comes with fleas – i.e. that disgusting pre-digested blood feces that looks like coarse ground black pepper. Not only is removing this crap much much more sanitary for you, it also removes the main food source of flea larvae (yes, they eat this stuff).

For best results, vigorously vacuum your house and then apply an even layer of Diatomaceous earth (DE). The vacuuming will force fleas out of their hiding places, making it more likely they'll come in contact with the lethal DE. Keep the DE on your carpet for at least a week before vacuuming it back up (along with the dead fleas) and applying a fresh layer!


Trap and kill fleas with a flea trap

natural flea killer for cats

Fleas clearly like your cat, but you know what else they like? Light. In fact, cat fleas are so attracted to sources of light that when placed in a dark area, over 90% of them will move to a lighted area within less than an hour.

This is where flea traps come in handy. Set these traps up in places where fleas like to lurk - i.e. where your cat hangs out as well as dark, private spaces in the house like under your bed and sofa - and simply plug them into the nearest outlet.

And then prepare to be thrilled when you find the sticky traps covered with dead fleas! Overall, it's a totally non-toxic, natural flea killer that takes virtually no effort on your part.


Once you're rid of fleas on your cat, you'll want to take preventative measures to make sure fleas never happen again. Here are the best natural flea repellents to keep fleas off your cat for good!

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