Fleas -- small, bloodsucking parasites -- on kittens lead to a variety of health issues, including itching, skin infections, hair loss and anaemia. Depending on the age of the kitten, you can use certain medications to eliminate the fleas on its coat or manually remove fleas on very young kittens, under 4 weeks old. When you de-flea a kitten, you also need to get rid of the fleas on its siblings, mother and in its environment, to prevent a reinfestation.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Dish soap or kitten shampoo
- Space heater
- Heating pad
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- Flea comb
- Blunt-tipped tweezers
- CapStar cat flea medication
- Program liquid flea medication for cats
- Canned kitten food
- Cat treats
- Topical flea medication
Wash the kitten with dish soap or kitten shampoo and lukewarm water in a bathroom sink. Run a space heater to keep the kitten warm during and after bathing. Wet its fur with water and lather it with a dime-size amount of dish soap, avoiding its face. Let the soap sit for 5 to 10 minutes, so it can help drown the fleas. Thoroughly rinse the kitten with lukewarm water and towel dry it. Place it into a basket containing a blanket wrapped around a heating pad to keep it warm while it dries. Repeat the process for all of its siblings and its mother.
Sprinkle borax over your carpets and pet bedding to help kill the fleas and the eggs in the kitten's environment. Allow the borax to sit for 30 minutes, then vacuum it up. Wash pet beds, blankets and other removable items in hot water with 1/2 cup of borax or vinegar to get rid of the fleas and flea eggs.
Comb the kitten with a flea comb to remove any remaining fleas and eggs. Dip the comb into a cup of water mixed with a few drops of dish soap to kill the fleas between brushing. To get to hard-to-reach areas, such as the face, use a pair of blunt-tipped tweezers to grab the fleas.
Feed the kitten an oral flea medication, such as CapStar, if it is older than 4 weeks old. This medication kills adult fleas in 30 minutes. Brush away the dead fleas as they fall off of your kitten with a flea comb. You can administer this medication once per day in severe infestations.
Give your kitten an oral flea liquid, such as Program, to kill developing fleas in kittens older than 6 weeks old. Mix the liquid into your kitten's canned cat food and ensure it eats the entire portion of its food to ingest all of the medicine. Sprinkle crushed cat treats over the food to make it more tempting for your kitten to eat. Program kills fleas for up to one month.
Apply a topical flea medication between your kitten's shoulders and rub it into its skin, to kill fleas for up to one month. You can use these types of prescription medications, such as Frontline Plus, Advantage and Revolution on kittens older than 8 weeks old.
Tips and warnings
- Bathe the kitten with dish soap twice a week for two weeks to completely rid it of any fleas.
- Check a kitten under 4 weeks old for fleas by brushing it with a flea comb daily.
- For a kitten older than 12 weeks old, you can use a cat flea shampoo to wash it in severe flea infestations.
- Never use flea products for dogs on your kitten as these products contain ingredients that are toxic to kittens and cats.
- Treat your cat with one flea medication at a time. After 24 hours, you can give either Program or a topical treatment to your cat. Do not use both Program and topical treatments at the same time; wait one month after administration, if changing to a new medication.
- Dispose of the vacuum bag after vacuuming away the fleas in your home to prevent them from escaping from the bag. Wrap the bag in a plastic trash bag and place it in a dustbin outside of your home.
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- PetPlace.com; How to Control and Prevent Fleas on Your Cat; Dr. Douglas Brum
- Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine: Fleas: A Source of Torment for your Cat
- Vetinfo: Flea Treatment for Kittens: An Introduction
- Doctors Foster & Smith: Cat Food: Flea & Tick Topical and Oral Medication Comparison Chart
- Vetinfo: A Guide to Cat Flea Treatment Product Types