Skye Blake here, with great info on the many “natural” products out there for getting rid of fleas.
Some questions you may be asking…
How do I know which is the best “natural” commercial remedy to use for fleas?
Are they safe to use on my cat or in my house? What’s in them?
- Safety When Treating Fleas Depends On…
- What Ingredients Are in Natural Flea Products?
- Examples of Natural Flea Remedies
- Related Pages of Interest
- List of Sources
Safety When Treating Fleas Depends On…
- whether or not you follow instructions carefully
- what’s in the flea product you use (ingredients)
- the application method (swallowed or on skin)
- how much you use (quantity)
- how often the product is applied (frequency)
- if they are made only for cats, NOT DOGS! (Your cat’s body processes things differently than a human or dog’s)
- if they are a proper dosage for your cat’s weight range
- Asking your veterinarian what products are good for your particular kitty and how to use them
What Ingredients Are in Natural Flea Products?
Just as with “chemical” products, you can use commercially available “natural” remedies to get rid of fleas.
They most commonly come in the form of collars, shampoos, or sprays on your kitty.
There are also “natural” powders, sprays, and carpet shampoos for your home.
“Natural” collars, sprays, powders, shampoos, and wipes all have one or more oil, such as peppermint, geranium (eugenol), clove, neem or cedar, as active ingredients.
They are topical flea remedies because they’re put on your kitty’s skin, not taken internally (swallowed).
Remember, your clever kitty will lick off anything she can reach while grooming both herself and any other cats or dogs around her.
So whatever you put on her skin (and any other pets) must be safe if swallowed.
In order to figure out what’s best for your situation, review the questions at “Getting Rid of Fleas…For Cats Only!”, if you haven’t already.
Are Essential Oils Toxic to Cats?
There’s controversy about whether essential oils are harmful to cats and it’s an important issue.
Not all oils are toxic… the main problem is the concentration and how it’s used.
Discover more at ” What Are Essential Oils…Do They Kill Fleas on Cats?“.
The oils used in commercially prepared “natural” flea remedy products are already diluted and have been tested by their manufacturers.
They should work fine for your healthy feline friend as long as you follow the directions carefully.
Be sure to get the correct one for your cat’s weight.
Always ask your veterinarian what products are good for your particular kitty and how to use them.
Best way to keep you and your cat safe is…
KNOW WHAT YOU’RE USING and KNOW YOUR CAT!
Examples of Natural Flea Remedies
I make a small commission on some of the links below… and I get to share profits with qualified cat rescues!
Check descriptions and reviews carefully for any products you wish to buy… quality, sizes, colors, etc., can’t be guaranteed by anyone but the manufacturer.
Below are examples I’ve found of various available natural flea remedies (collars, shampoos, sprays).
Be sure to note whether they kill or repel fleas.
Some kill only adults, others get the eggs, larvae, and pupae. Some don’t kill but help keep them off your little buddy.
Use them as part of your overall plan to rid your home and fabulous feline of those pesky fleas.
Above all, remember, safety in using natural flea remedies, especially when putting directly on cats, depends on…
- what you use (ingredients)
- how much (quantity)
- size of the dose (dosage)
- how often you use it (frequency)
- how you administer it (swallowed or on skin)
If in doubt, check with your veterinarian.
As with “chemical” products, never use “natural” flea remedies made for dogs on your kitty!
If your kitty wears a “natural” flea collar around her neck it will have a combination of essential oils in it (e.g., peppermint, clove, eucalyptus) to repel fleas.
“Natural” products in collars typically only repel fleas and ticks, not kill them.
This is an important distinction, especially if you’re looking for something to kill critters that are already on your cat.
As with “chemical” collars that contain insecticides, some cats with sensitive skin can have reactions where they lose fur and/or get sores on their skin under the collar.
One problem with flea collars in general is that there are many fakes on the market.
There’s no way to tell the good from the bad until you’ve bought them and they don’t work or worse, make your cat sick.
Typically, the cheapest are the fakes, so if you must have a collar, it’s best to get the ones from reputable manufacturers, which are usually the more expensive ones.
Here are some examples of “natural” flea collars…
Natural Flea Sprays
“Natural” flea sprays have oils as their active ingredients (e.g., peppermint, rosemary, cinnamon, eugenol).
They’re used to help get rid of fleas and ticks, while some also kill or repel mosquitoes.
Sprays aren’t as popular now for using directly on us fabulous felines, but are still available if you want them.
Flea sprays are more often used on bedding, furniture, floors and other things in your kitty’s world.
This is because most kill only adult fleas, get your cat all wet, and other products are available that are easier to deal with for cats.
You may decide, though, that it’s a worthwhile part of your overall plan for using natural flea remedies.
Here are some examples of “natural” flea sprays…
Natural Flea Shampoo
“Natural” flea shampoos, like collars and sprays, have essential oils as their active ingredients, in dosages that will kill fleas while cleaning your kitty safely.
That’s if you can give your cat a bath!
These are useful only if your furry friend will tolerate a bath, but, if not, there are plenty of other options.
It sure isn’t worth having your arms, face and other body parts clawed, bitten and shredded… to say nothing of having a totally freaked out cat!
For you brave souls who want to bathe your buddy, here are some “natural” shampoos to use as part of your flea remedy plan.
Natural Flea Powder
There are some flea powders available but are mostly used on dogs and in the house (carpets and floors).
Powders are not recommended for use on cats because…
- They’re messy (think clouds of baby powder)
- They’re only effective while on the cat
- They rub off quickly
- They’re swallowed during grooming. (Cats will also groom dogs so if you have both it’s best to not bother with powders for either.)
- It’s claimed that powders in large amounts can cause breathing problems in cats. While this is certainly possible, I have found no hard proof.
Oral Flea Remedies
If you’re interested in using “natural” versions of flea pills or other systemic medication, you may need to reconsider the “natural” part.
There are currently only a few types of oral flea medications available, and they’re typically “chemicals” of various kinds.
“Is a Flea Treatment with Chemicals Safe for My Cat?” has an interesting section about oral flea remedies.
Don’t discount them simply because you don’t consider them “natural”.
Keep an open mind and read the info first before deciding, then if you still have questions, check with your veterinarian.
To sum it all up, “natural” flea remedies are available ready-made as collars, sprays, and shampoos, using various oils as active ingredients.
They’re not always as effective as “chemical” remedies and typically only repel fleas rather than kill them but are more convenient than trying to make your own.
See “Flea Control the Homemade Way” for DIY homemade remedies.
This page deals with “natural” flea remedies you can buy, but there are other options available you might want to know about before making a final decision.
To find out more, click on the page links below…
Related Pages of Interest
Sources used on this website are either primary or secondary.
Primary sources are always preferable and have the most reliable information because they’re original and directly referenced.
Scientific abstracts and data are good examples of primary sources.
Secondary sources are weaker because they usually consist of opinions or articles that give no sources of their own, however, sometimes they refer to primary sources.
When I use secondary sources, most are those with some authority, such as veterinarian or cat behaviorist books and articles.
List of Sources
“ACTIVITY AND BIOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF NEEM PRODUCTS
AGAINST ARTHROPODS OF MEDICAL AND VETERINARY IMPORTANCE”, by
MIR S. MULLA and TIANYUN SU, Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association, Inc. 15(2):133-152, 1999, Copyright 1999 by the American Mosquito Control Association, Inc., Department of Entomology, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314, pages 147-179,
“Adverse Reactions From Essential Oil-Containing Natural Flea Products Exempted From Environmental Protection Agency Regulations in Dogs and Cats”, A.G. Genovese, M.K. McLean, S.A. Khan, J. Vet. Emerg. Crit. Care (San Antonio), Aug. 22, 2012 (4):470-5, National Institute of Health
“Cats and Essential Oil Safety” by Robert Tisserand, Tisserand Institute
Chewy.com, Cats, Flea & Tick
“Effects of azadirachtin on Ctenocephalides felis in the dog and the cat” by V.H.Guerrini, C.M.Kriticos, Veterinary Parasitology, Vol. 74, Issues 2-4, Pestsearch International, 173 Chatswood Road, Daisy Hill 4127, Australia, Received 11 October 1996, Accepted 7 February 1997, Available online 18 May 1998
“How To Get Rid Of Fleas – 7 Natural Ways to Banish Fleas on Your Pets and in Your Home”, by admin, HowToGetRidOfGuide.com, February 13, 2015
“An improved bioassay facilitates the screening of repellents against cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae)” by Li‐Chong Su, Chin‐Gi Huang, Shang‐Tzen Chang, Shu‐Hui Yang, Shan‐hui Hsu, Wen‐Jer Wu, Rong‐Nan Huang, 05 April 2013
“Influence of Temperature and Humidity on Survival and Development of the Cat Flea”, by Jules Silverman, Michael K. Rust, Donald A. Reierson, Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 18, Issue 1, 20 February 1981, Pages 78–83,
“Larvicidal Effects of Boric Acid and Disodium Octaborate Tetrahydrate to Cat Fleas (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae)” by Nancy C. Hinkle, Philip G. Koehler, Richard S. Patterson, Journal of Medical Entomology, Volume 32, Issue 4, 1 July 1995, Pages 424–427
“Oral Toxicity of Boric Acid and Other Boron Compounds to Immature Cat Fleas (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae)” by John H. Klotz, James Moss, I., Rongcai Zhao, Lloyd R. Davis, Jr., Richard S. Patterson, Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 87, Issue 6, 1 December 1994, Pages 1534–1536
Petco®, Cat, Flea & Tick
“The Science Behind Cats and Essential Oils”, by Dr. Melissa Shelton, London Alternative Veterinary Services, January 12, 2018
“Sublethal effects of D‐limonene on the cat flea, Ctenocephalides felis“, by M. G. Collart, W. F. Hink, First published: December 1986
Updated June 21, 2022