Natural Flea Control: A Safer Alternative for My Healthy Cat

"Natural flea control can be as effective as conventional flea control methods."

Conventional Flea Treatments Have Toxic Chemicals

Natural flea control methods provide a safer alternative to conventional flea control efforts.

Many conventional flea control products sold today are safer than what used to be on the market, and if you follow the directions very carefully, most healthy cats should be able to handle conventional treatments.

However, there is growing concern about the long-term effects of the toxic chemicals used in conventional flea control products and many cat owners are turning to safer and more natural flea control alternatives.

Start with the Least Toxic Method

Your best approach to flea treatment will always be to start with the least toxic and most natural choices available. Natural flea control methods and products provide a safer alternative to chemical insecticides. If you cannot reasonably control fleas with this "safer" approach, then consider stronger measures. However, even natural treatments can be harmful to your kitty if not used properly.

"Natural" Does Not Always Mean Safe!

For example, pennyroyal oil used to be recommended for flea control by natural flea control proponents, but it's been discovered that pennyroyal oil is a liver toxin and can be fatal to your cat.

Citrus oil is also toxic and potentially fatal. Most natural flea control manufacturers know this and no longer include these herbal oils in their products, but it is best to read the label to be sure. D-limonene, a citrus oil product is different than citrus oil and it has been found to be safe for use on cats.

Always read ingredient labels and follow directions carefully.

Your Cat's Living Environment Must Also Be Treated

Also, remember that if you have a flea problem, not only will your cat have to be treated for fleas, but your home, other pets, and possibly your yard will also have to be treated and made flea-free. Cleaning your cat's environment is not only a means of natural flea control, but is also an excellent method of flea prevention. Natural outdoor flea control methods can also be used to control fleas in your yard.

When choosing any flea control treatment, whether "natural" or "conventional," it's best to discuss treatment options with your trusted veterinarian.

Non-Toxic Shampoo

Flea shampoos are available with conventional flea control chemicals and also natural ingredients. If your cat has fleas and you want to avoid toxic chemicals, try using a nontoxic flea shampoo, such as one containing Neem oil or d-limonene.

Herbal Flea Powder

Another nontoxic solution to help with flea control is herbal flea powder. You can purchase herbal flea powder or you can make your own flea home remedy.

To make your own flea powder, combine one part each of as many of these powdered herbs that you can find: eucalyptus, rosemary, fennel, yellow dock, wormwood, and rue. Put the mixture of powders in a jar with a shaker top, such as one used for parsley flakes. This recipe is from Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats.

Apply the herbal flea powder to your cat's coat sparingly by brushing it into your cat's coat with your hand or a comb. Sprinkle the powder into the base of your cat's hairs, especially on his neck, back and belly. Apply the herbal flea powder several times a week if your cat is severely infested.

However, if you have an indoor-only cat, this method of flea control may not be the best if used by itself. The powder does not kill the fleas, but disturbs them enough so that they jump off of your cat. If your cat goes outside, you can just put him outside for a while as the fleas jump off. If your cat is indoors only, you can sprinkle a natural flea control powder around your house to kill the fleas that jump off of your cat. This is generally a safe and very effective natural flea control combination.

Herbal Collars

Herbal flea collars are another natural flea control method and are a safer alternative to conventional flea collars for your cat. Conventional flea collars have toxic chemicals designed to emit toxic nerve gasses. Herbal flea collars are saturated with insect-repellent herbal oils. Some are designed to be "recharged" with the oils and used again.

If you choose to use an herbal flea collar, try to find one with an elasticized section or a break-away feature for your cat's protection. The same guidelines should be used for flea collars as for regular cat collars.

If you have eliminated all the fleas from your cat and in your home, there is no need to keep a flea collar on your cat. Be sure to regularly remove your cat's collar and check for any signs of skin irritation.

If you use a flea collar (either conventional or herbal), you will often also have to use other methods to prevent or kill fleas in your cat's environment.  

Brewer's Yeast and Garlic

Adding a yeast supplement to your cat's diet has been shown by some studies to significantly reduce the number of fleas on your cat. However, some veterinarians claim that both Brewer's yeast and garlic treatments are ineffective, and that no controlled scientific or clinical tests have shown these two ingredients to have any effect on fleas. Dr. Pitcairn's (author of "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats") experience with yeast has shown some favorable effects, particularly when the cat's health is good.

Brewer's yeast tablets may act as a flea repellent (working from the inside out). You can buy Brewer's yeast tablets and give these to your cat as a treat. You can also rub the yeast directly into your cat's coat.

Raw garlic is considered another natural flea control treatment that may also act as a flea repellent. It is supposed to make your cat's blood unappealing to fleas. One recommendation is to crush a little garlic in your cat's food everyday while you are fighting fleas. But please note that there is some debate as to how safe garlic is for your feline friend. You may also be able to find garlic tablets to give to your cat as treats.

Brewer's yeast and garlic are supposed to be relatively harmless to your cat, so if you give yeast or garlic to your cat as a natural flea control treatment, you can safely judge for yourself whether they offer any flea protection or flea control for your cat.

Combination Brewer's yeast and garlic tablets can also be given to your cat as a treat, although some cats (including mine!) are too finicky to consider this a treat.

Articles Related to Natural Flea Control

Didn't find what you're looking for? Use this Search Box to find more information. Or visit the articles below.

Outdoor Flea Control Methods How to get rid of fleas in your yard.

Flea Life Cycle Understanding the life cycle of the cat flea to help get rid of fleas.

Flea Combing Your Cat How to safely comb your cat or kitten.

Keeping Your Cat's Environment Flea-Free How to keep fleas away from you and your healthy cat.

Flea Allergies How to tell if your cat or kitten is suffering from flea allergies.

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