One of the most unfortunate questions in the world has to be the one that’s on your mind right now: how to get rid of fleas on kittens.
Because that means your kitten has fleas and well, that’s just sad. That’s just a sad sentence. Just… Give me a moment here, okay? I’ll be okay. I just need a minute.
Okay. If your kitten has fleas, you’re naturally going to want to do all you can to rescue your little furball from these blood-sucking parasites. But you need to also think about safety. First, do no harm.
Because they have fewer liver enzymes to break down toxins, cats are more susceptible to harmful substances than dogs are. And since their immune system is not yet fully developed, kittens are even more sensitive than adult cats.
So you need to think very carefully about what methods you’re going to use if you want to rid your kitten of fleas.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Kittens
For safety’s sake, it’s best to start with some non-toxic methods when it comes to kitten flea treatment.
And that’s not a bad thing – there’s actually a lot you can do to get rid of fleas without having to turn to harmful pesticides. However, if your kitten has a bad case of bugs and you find you need something stronger, there are pesticides on the market that are safe to use, so long as you use them correctly.
So with the warnings out of the way, let’s look at the best ways to get rid of fleas on kittens.
Combing may be the most labor-intensive method of flea control, but it’s also the safest. Even a high end, top quality flea comb won’t cost very much, and it will kill fleas without exposing your kitten to any potentially harmful chemicals.
Set yourself up with a bowl of soapy water before you begin. Every time you pass the comb through the kitten’s fur, you’ll want to dip it into this mixture to kill any fleas that are on the comb.
It won’t be easy getting a young cat to stay still for this treatment, and it’s probably not going to get rid of all fleas by itself. But it’s an important part of the process, and one that you can do without any concern for your kitten’s safety.
Coconut oil is a non-toxic flea treatment you can use on even small kittens. By rubbing coconut oil into your kitten’s fur, you’ll kill off fleas thanks to the natural acidity of the product.
Of course, the minute you let go of the little creature, it’s going to start licking all that oil off. But that’s okay; ingesting coconut oil isn’t going to harm your cat.
However, just to be on the safe side, try not to use too much at one go until you’ve seen how your kitten reacts to the oil.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This stuff has uses that go way beyond cooking. Long known for its ability to clean, vinegar can also be a useful insecticide. So how to do you get rid of fleas on kittens with this age old natural remedy?
As with coconut oil, it’s the acid in the vinegar that kills fleas. So you can use apple cider vinegar directly on your kitten by rubbing a solution of vinegar and water into its fur.
Just make sure to dilute the vinegar with an equal measure of water so that the vinegar isn’t too strong, and make sure you keep it out of your kitten’s eyes. The cat probably won’t thank you for making it smell like vinegar, but vinegar will help to shed some of the fleas from its body and provide some relief from their bites.
This naturally occurring substance works by scratching up the outer layer of the flea’s body so that it dehydrates and dies. Fleas need high levels of humidity to survive, and so this product is especially effective on them.
And if you purchase food grade diatomaceous earth, you can rest assured that this powder won’t harm your kitten. You can apply it directly to the cat’s fur, making sure to rub it in so that it gets to where the fleas are hiding.
Yes, your cat will ingest some of this product as it cleans itself. But it won’t do any harm.
Once your kitten is more than four weeks old, you can start to use pesticides as approved by a veterinarian. Below that age, the kitten’s still-developing body is too weak to handle harsh chemicals. But once you get past the four-week mark, you can start to look at some more aggressive treatment options.
Capstar can be used on cats as young as four weeks old and over 2 pounds in weight.
These tasteless tablets are administered orally and start killing fleas within 30 minutes. The active ingredient, nitenpyram, is harmless to pets as it enters the bloodstream. But it kills any fleas that bite the animal, making this a quick, easy and very effective way to get rid of fleas on your kitten.
Once your kitten is more than eight weeks old, you can move to a topical pesticide which you apply directly to its fur. Frontline is the market leader for a reason. Frontline uses two active ingredients. Fipronil kills fleas on contact to provide immediate relief for your pet.
Meanwhile, methoprene is a potent insect growth regulator that interferes with the flea’s ability to develop and reproduce. By killing eggs and preventing juveniles from growing into sexually reproductive adults, methoprene stops the flea’s lifecycle.
This is crucial to long-term control, since it is the flea’s staggering reproductive rate that makes them so difficult to get rid of. Stop the fleas from reaching maturity, and you stop the problem in its tracks.
Kitten Flea Treatment Safety
Kittens are especially vulnerable to the toxicity of various products. But even adult cats are more vulnerable to many pesticides than dogs are.
Which is why it’s very, very important to not use flea medication for dogs on cats unless you’re absolutely certain that it contains no ingredients that may be harmful to cats.
In particular, never use any products that contain permethrin, which is often the active ingredient in flea shampoos for dogs.
Permethrin is highly toxic to cats. In general, only use products that are labeled for use specifically on cats. Don’t use products intended for dogs and assume that the effects will be the same.
And remember that kittens are not the same as adult cats. In the first four weeks of its life, be especially careful with any flea treatment you perform on your kitten. It’s best at this point to stay away from any pesticides and try to use only natural solutions.
As frustrating as it can be, it’s only once your kitten grows older and stronger that you can turn to more powerful pesticides to solve your flea problem. And once the fleas are all gone, you can get back to cuddling your kitten the way we all know you want to.