The 8 Best Natural Remedies For Fleas on Cats

Written by Sam Hindman
Published: November 29, 2023
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Most pet owners can agree on one thing; Fleas are incredibly annoying. While there are plenty of flea medications available on the market, some owners opt to avoid them. This can be because they’re expensive, or because they don’t want to risk over-medicating their feline and harming them further. That’s why we’ve gathered eight of the best natural remedies for fleas on cats, to let owners know that alternative options are available.

Before we get into our list, however, it’s important to note that you should always consult your veterinarian before adjusting your flea care routine. This is especially crucial if you’ve already started a medication and are planning on making a switch. Every cat is different, so not all of these remedies will be effective in your particular case. However, with such a variety, one of these is sure to be a great fit!

Now, with that said, let’s get into our top choices for natural flea remedies!

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Rosemary

Rosemary, Thyme, Twig, Branch - Plant Part, Peppermint

Even though humans love it, fleas can’t stand the smell of rosemary.

©wmaster890/ via Getty Images

Rosemary has a double benefit- as much as fleas hate the scent of it, people love it. There are many ways that you can use this helpful herb as one of our natural remedies for fleas on cats. Some people opt to boil it, and once the water cools, soaking their feline friends into a healing bath. Since rosemary also has anti-inflammatory properties, that’s an extra perk. Another popular method for using rosemary against fleas, though, is crushing it up. Then, you can take the grinds and spread them around the home in areas where your cat sleeps or is otherwise most heavily active.

Lemon Juice

Harvesting fresh tasty lemons from potted citrus plant. Close-up of the females hands who harvest the indoor growing lemons with hand pruners. Ripe yellow lemon Volcameriana fruits and green leaves

When life gives you lemons, you use them to fight fleas!

©Ivan Semenovych/Shutterstock.com

Our next flea-fighting ingredient is likely one that you already have sitting in your fridge! Lemon juice can be a powerful tool against fleas when used correctly. That said, it’s important that you dilute it enough to make sure that it doesn’t harm your cat’s sensitive skin. The diluted mixture can be sprayed onto your cat’s torso, and the citric acid will do its job in fighting those fleas. Take care of where you spray, though! If the juice gets into a cat’s eyes or any cuts and scrapes, it can be highly painful.

As an added tip- you can put a cup of lemon juice into the laundry with any flea-riddled garments to get the last of them taken care of.

Cedarwood

Bottles of essential oil with cedar wood chips

Though it might not kill fleas, cedarwood oil and chips can help keep them away.

©Madeleine_Steinbach/iStock via Getty Images

Don’t want to spend all of that money on a flea collar from the pet store? That’s where these natural remedies for fleas on cats can come in. The use of both cedarwood chips and cedarwood oil can be highly effective in scaring away any fleas. It’s important to note that this won’t kill them, but using these tools can certainly encourage them to jump off of and away from your cat. If you want to see for yourself, take a piece of fabric and generously apply some cedarwood oil along with a few drops of alcohol. Put this loosely around your cat’s neck, and you’ve got yourself a makeshift flea collar- chemical-free!

Coconut Oil

coconut oil

Lauric acid, which is found in coconut oil, is one of many natural remedies for fleas on cats.

©iStock.com/white bear studio

There are some home remedies that require extra caution when using, due to ingredients that are harmful to cats when injected or inhaled. If you want to avoid this kind of issue, coconut oil is an excellent choice for flea repellent. That’s because of the presence of lauric acid, which fleas absolutely hate. There are a few ways in which you can use this helpful ingredient. You can simply use it as it is, rubbing the oil into the cat’s fur and waiting a while before washing it out, or you can mix the oil with some water in a spray bottle and apply it to the cat’s fur. If you want to see the best results possible, use a fine tooth comb to scrape those pesky fleas out of their coat.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar won’t kill fleas, but they certainly don’t like its taste or smell.

©iStock.com/alicjane

This one is a bit controversial, as all of the evidence pointing toward its effectiveness is anecdotal. But, it’s definitely worth a try, as you likely have a bottle of apple cider vinegar sitting around your kitchen anyway. If you dilute this with water and create a solution, you can spray this onto your cat’s coat. Don’t get it into their eyes, of course, but also don’t worry if some of it gets accidentally ingested. It’s not tasty for your cat, but it isn’t toxic, either.

You can use what’s left over once you’ve sprayed down your cat to spray down the areas of your home that they frequent. This can be furniture, cat beds, or even near their litter box and food bowls. You can use this daily, so try it for a few days before moving on to a new product.

Salt or Baking Soda

Three wooden scoops showing different forms of sugar

Salt can be helpful in fighting fleas, but be sure not to let your cat eat too much of it.

©MamaMiaPL/iStock via Getty Images

It’s likely that you’ve heard of the dehydrating effects that salt possesses, but did you know that can make it one of the more useful natural remedies for fleas on cats? There are steps you can take using either salt or baking soda to help keep your home flea-free. Whether it’s a hardwood floor or a carpeted area, take some time to sprinkle salt in the places you believe to be infested. You can do this as frequently as you’d like, over the course of several weeks. However, there is a precaution you need to consider.

Salt is only useful to your cat if it does not harm them. If your cat gets into your salt supply somehow, and ingests it, things can turn sour quite fast. That’s because cats run the risk of getting sodium poisoning if they eat too much. When this happens, seek veterinary help immediately. Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Throwing Up
  • Excessive Drinking
  • Diahrrea

Aloe Vera Juice

Bowl with aloe vera on wooden tray

The aloe vera plant has a variety of special medicinal uses.

©Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com

A popular remedy for sunburns and itches, the aloe vera plant has an array of uses. What some don’t know is that one of the said implementations is a homemade flea repellant! When mixed with cayenne pepper, this combination is hated by fleas. Simply spray it onto your cat’s coat and be sure to avoid getting it into their eyes.

This is important to note: Aloe vera juice and gel are not toxic to cats, but the plant itself certainly is. If you want to keep an aloe plant around so that you can reap its many benefits, be sure that you place it in an area that your feline friend won’t be able to reach. If the risk is too concerning, however, there are plenty of non-dangerous options for natural remedies for fleas on cats on this list!

Dish Soap

Soap bubbles floating around kitchen sink while washing dish

All dish soaps, even gentle formulas, are effective in getting rid of fleas.

©richwai777/iStock via Getty Images

Though this isn’t exactly “natural,” it is certainly a popular alternative to traditional flea medications. If you don’t want to go the chemical route, a gentle way to deal with fleas is by using some good, old-fashioned dish soap. Simply wet your cat’s fur, and then lather some soap on gently to the areas most heavily concentrated with fleas. Then, give them a gentle rinse. While this method is certainly effective, it’s important not to make a habit of it- the ingredients can dry out your cat’s skin if overused.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Natata/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Sam Hindman is a writer at A-Z animals covering a range of topics, including pet care, plant care, pest control and travel destinations. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Multimedia Studies at Point Park University, set to graduate in the spring of 2024. A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when she isn't writing, she's spending time with her beloved cat Archie.

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