Cats and Fleas: Which Repellents are Safe?

Poor itchy kitties! Summer is flea time and those nasty little bites can make our cats just miserable. What to do? Some folks swear by garlic. Others say pyrethrin-based powders do the trick. But some natural remedies may be dangerous to your pet.

Find out which remedies are safe–and which you should avoid–to keep your kitty flea-free.


Flea powders containing pyrethrins (derived from chrysanthemums) have been generally considered “safe”, but research has shown that these powders can be ingested by cats during grooming. Avoid them.

Although feeding raw garlic to your dog is a tried-and-true remedy for canine fleas, research now suggests that garlic and cats don’t mix. Avoid using raw garlic with your feline: it can cause a dangerous form of anemia and even lead to death.

The safest methods of flea control begin with the environment:

Wash your cat’s bedding and any area rugs frequently. Fleas can’t swim and hot water will kill them.

Vacuum often and dispose of bags in an airtight container, or freeze them first to kill flea, eggs, and larvae.

Beneficial nematodes may be used to dust your lawn. These creatures will infest and kill fleas, but are harmless to pets and humans.

The best defense against fleas seems to be a healthy overall immune system. Keep your cat in top form by feeding her a diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils, including a small amount of brewer’s yeast to meals, and avoiding over-processed foods with by-products.

If your cat already has fleas, bathe her with a mild detergent once a week to remove adult fleas, larvae, and eggs. Groom her with a flea comb between baths. Dip the comb in water after every stroke to drown any fleas you comb out.

Adapted from “50 Simple Ways to Pamper your Cat” By Arden Moore (Storey Books, 2000). Copyright (c) 2000 by Arden Moore. Reprinted by permission of Storey Books.
Adapted from “50 Simple Ways to Pamper your Cat” By Arden Moore (Storey Books, 2000).

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Wendy G.
Wendy G.2 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I like Nicole's comments about catnip so I think I might buy a few plants to put around the garden.

Natasha Salgado
Natasha Salgado2 years ago

Thanks for sharing with us animal lovers!!!

Karen R.
Karen R.2 years ago

helpful! thank you!

Trish K.
Trish K.2 years ago

Thanks. Tigger & I like to wash with Vermont Soap Organics. It smells so good. It has coconut, olive & jojoba oils. Essential oil blends of tea tree, orange, aloe vera and rosemary leaves.
He dosen't really like the baths but he is so good that he will tolerate it if I work fast. I just get buckets full of warm water ready to quickly rinse him and nice soft towels to dry him and cuddle him. He's getting to be a senior just like me with oh no mom - Please hurry.

Antiope K.
Antiope K.2 years ago

Thank you so much,for the info!!! Very interesting and really helpful!!!

Connie Telfer-Smith
con t.2 years ago

If you have fennel, a handful of withered leaves used as a brush can help

rene davis
rene davis2 years ago

thank you very much this was really helpful.

Yulan Lawson
Yulan Lawson2 years ago

Thanking you.

Beth M.
Past Member 2 years ago


Nicole Bergeron
Nicole Bergeron2 years ago

I have found that catnip oil works for my cats, the only one allowed outside (via leash and harness) has never gotten fleas and she sleeps the day away in the catnip plant and we use to have a flea infestion in the house because of one of the dogs, but they left her alone like she was death alive. Used crushed catnip leaf (fresh) by sprinkling them on the dogs and you could see them jumping away from the leaf

Citrus is suppose to work as well