Home remedies for fleas on cats without bathing

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Bathing your cat is no fun, and nobody wants to have to do it. Your cat would prefer to not go anywhere water also we’re guessing, and that’s why in this article, we’ll be talking about some great home remedies you can use for your cat to kill fleas without any harsh chemicals.

The difference between our list and the other “home remedy” lists though is that these actually work. While some other items work with varying degrees of usefulness, these products work perfectly to both repel and kill fleas.

First though, let’s talk about what you should avoid, because there’s plenty of home remedies out there which are no good for cats! Things like garlic, onion, mint and citronella are commonly recommended by people, but all of these items are toxic to cats.

Instead of opting for this potentially harmful or stressful methods, here’s two all-natural treatments you can try which won’t harm cats, dogs or kids!

Cedar oil

Our top recommendation is for cedar oil. This all-natural product is simply the most easy to use and effective method for dealing with biting bugs, and as a bonus it’s safe for friendly pollinators like bees and butterflies!

How does cedar oil work to kill fleas?

Cedar oil is a natural product that is made from trees in the pine and cypress family. These products are typically pure cedar oil with no other additives, and that makes them very safe for pets and family members.

However, this oil is not so safe for fleas, ticks and other pests. It messes with their pheromones and renders important functions for these insect useless. This eventually kills them, and it’s very effective.

cat flea treatments no bathing
Cedar oil is an excellent and all-natural home flea remedy.

The bugs that we’re targeting rely on octopamine for their normal bodily functions like breathing and reproduction. Cedar oil blocks their receptors, and these pests quickly die off as a result.

Mammals are not effected by cedar oil at all, making it a great choice for cats and dogs. Plus, it’s one of the few treatments that can ward off mosquitoes, which cause heart worms. (Though typically only dogs get these.)

Unlike other treatments, fleas and ticks don’t need to bite your cat to die. This save your kitty from a lot of pain, and from the possibility of them picking up some kind of illness from the fleas.

How to use cedar oil to kill fleas and ticks

Don’t forget the bean toes when you apply cedar oil for flea protection!

Step 1: Lightly spray cedar oil on your cat’s coat

Pick up a cedar oil spray bottle and lightly spray it on to your cat’s coat. You should make sure to get their entire body, and you’ll likely be able to lightly rub it into their fur with little protest from them. Don’t forget to get between the toes and their bellies!

Step 2: Carefully apply cedar oil to their face

Next, spray a bit of the cedar oil into your hands. Carefully apply it to their face and ears, being careful not to get it into their eyes. Make sure to get the ears and chin to protect them from fleas and ticks.

Step 3: Re-apply every 7 days for continued protection

It’s best to apply cedar oil to your kitty once a week for full flea protection. However, if they don’t go outside then you might be able to get away with a more lax schedule. While it’s not as convenient as the flea collar method, it is a great option for cats who are very sensitive to chemicals and need a natural approach.

You can also use cedar oil around your house and yard to fight fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other pests. Some products come with yard sprayers to make this easier for outside applications, but if you need to treat a small area of the yard or your carpets then you can just use the same sprayer you used on your pets.

Diatomaceous Earth

Our second recommendation is for diatomaceous earth. This product isn’t nearly as convenient as cedar oil, but it does have one other benefit. You can actually feed it to your cat as a dewormer or worm preventative!

How does diatomaceous earth work to kill fleas?

This product works differently than cedar oil does. It’s actually made of minerals and microscopic dead plankton. You can’t see them, and to you it will appear as a sort of dust, but to tiny organisms like fleas, this dust is very dangerous.

That’s because it contains very, very small sharp fragments that slice up their external membranes. Once this membrane is damaged the fleas will dry up and die. Since there’s no way for them to become immune to it, this makes diatomaceous earth a long term solution to fleas.

Unfortunately, it’s not very picky about which bugs it kills like cedar oil is. That means that helpful insects like bees and butterflies can also be in danger if you don’t apply it carefully. If you’d prefer a bee safe method, then cedar oil is the way to go.

However, you can also use diatomaceous earth to kill worms, which is a pretty great bonus!

How to use diatomaceous earth to kill fleas

Step 1: Purchase a food safe diatomaceous earth product

There are many types of diatomaceous earth, but only the food safe variety is safe for your cat! These will be labeled appropriately, but here’s a recommended one that is safe.

Step 2: Wear protective equipment

While diatomaceous earth is all-natural, that doesn’t mean that it should be in your lungs. You’ll want to use gloves to keep your hands from getting dried out while applying it, and you’ll likely also want a mask to avoid breathing it in. Plus, if you’ve already got worms.. the eggs can be accidentally ingested without protective equipment!

Step 3: Carefully apply it directly to your cat’s fur

Take a bit of the diatomaceous earth and carefully rub it into your cat’s fur. You don’t need a ton of it, and if you over do it you could actually dry out your cat’s skin. Be careful not to get the dust all over either.

Your goal is to carefully work it into the fur and then wipe off any access with a cloth.

Step 4: Re-apply as needed for flea protection

This product works as both a repellent and a flea killer. If your cat already has fleas, then apply it once a week to kill off any newly hatched pests. If you’re just looking to prevent fleas then you can likely do it less often.

You can also apply it to bedding, carpets and rugs if you need to kill fleas in the house. You can do this by sprinkling it on the carpets and then vacuuming it up 12 to 24 hours later after its worked its way into the carpets.

Both of these are great options, but the diatomaceous earth is a little messy for our taste. We’d use the cedar oil but both are effective choices for all-natural flea control.

PS. Interested in learning how to treat worms with diatomaceous earth? We have an article that covers that here.

Michelle Rei
Michelle Rei
Michelle is a pet parent turned amateur pet product researcher. After adopting a fur baby with digestive issues caused by bad pet food, she's poured hundreds of hours into research to find the best of the best to help him and other pets live happier and healthier lives.
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