How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats

As far as your cat is concerned, everything in your house belongs to them. Chairs, couches, coffee tables, beds, blankets — you name it, your kitty has probably jumped on it. That may sound like paradise for some pet owners, but throw a few fleas into the mix and suddenly everyone wants to keep the cat off the furniture (and pretty much everything else, too). The good news is that a flea problem doesn’t mean you have to keep your kitty at arm’s length. Just roll up your sleeves and get ready to go a few rounds with these little pests — it’s time to find out how to get rid of fleas on cats!

How Do You Know Your Cat Has Fleas?

You’re a vigilant pet parent. You pay attention to your cat’s health and wellness like they’re your own child. That’s why you have a leg up when it comes to flea treatment: You’ll probably notice the tell-tale signs before you end up with a full-scale flea infestation

Here’s what to look for:

Fleas or Flea Eggs

If you see live, adult fleas or flea eggs, the chances are pretty good that you have a pest problem. The only issue is that an adult flea is tiny, fast and hard to spot. If you suspect you may have a flea infestation, try putting a blank piece of paper next to your kitty and brushing their fur. If any fleas hop off, you’ll see them against the white background.


Fleas can carry all kinds of unpleasant diseases like plague and cat scratch disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control — but luckily, they’re usually more of a nuisance than a danger. There’s one big sign of this irritation: Your kitty is scratching all the time.

Hair Loss

If you don’t catch a flea problem right away, these little pests will have plenty of time to make your cat itchy. Constant scratching can eventually lead to scrapes, small bloody patches and even hair loss near the ears and neck.

Flea Bites

Flea bites are tiny — often the size of a grain of sand. However, they’re usually bright red or pink in color, which means you should be able to see them (if you can get past all the cat hair, that is).

Flea Dirt

Flea dirt is actually a buildup of flea poop. It’s blood — a flea’s favorite feast — that has been digested, so it has a reddish-brown color.

Life Cycle of a Flea

If you think adult fleas are your only problem, think again. There are actually four stages in the flea life cycle, and each one poses unique challenges for you, your cat and even your pet toys and bedding.

Here’s a closer look at the flea’s life story:

#1: Flea Eggs

A mother flea is living on an untreated pet or a wild animal. When your cat wanders by, that flea decides she’d like a fresh start and hops on over to lay her eggs. Unfortunately, flea eggs are even more stubborn than their adult counterparts, which means you’ll have to work harder to get rid of them. If you don’t, they’ll start a real problem.

That’s right: All it takes is one little pest to start a flea infestation.

#2: Flea Larvae

If you don’t get rid of the flea eggs in time, they hatch into flea larvae. These worm-like creatures may be little, but they have big appetites. They’ll feast on your kitty’s blood as well as flea dirt, and they’ll make your cat itchy the whole time.

#3: Flea Pupae

Once they’ve had their fill of blood, larval fleas are ready to move into the next stage. They’ll spin cocoons and become pupae — and, worse yet, they’ll be safe from certain flea treatment until they emerge.

#4: Adult Fleas

When this cocoon splits open, there’s no beautiful display of butterfly wings. Instead, it’s a hungry adult flea looking for its next meal. This newborn menace will start feeding on your cat almost right away, building up strength so it can find other fleas, mate and start the cycle again.

Free Your Cat From Fleas

There are two key elements involved in flea control: treatment and prevention. Here’s a look at how to handle each one:

Flea Treatment

If you already have fleas, it’s time to break out the flea treatment. Here are a few top-notch tips:

  • Use the right flea medication: You have a lot of options when it comes to flea control. Flea shampoo, a flea collar and topical flea medication are just some of the tools you can add to your anti-flea arsenal — just remember to choose the medication that fits your cat’s age and size.
  • Treat your home: If your cat has fleas, your house has them, too. Vacuum, clean and scrub everything from top to bottom, and don’t forget to use flea treatment spray on your cat’s bedding.
  • Take care of yourself: Fleas can feast on humans, too. Look out for flea bites on your skin, especially around your ankles, and wear gloves when applying flea treatment or washing infested fabrics.

Flea Prevention

Whether you just stopped an infestation or are looking to avoid one, it’s important to know how to prevent fleas. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Kill flea eggs: Flea eggs are stubborn, but you can find flea tabs and other treatment options specifically designed to get rid of flea eggs as well as adult fleas.
  • Clean toys and bedding: Even if you’ve never had a flea problem, it’s a good idea to regularly wash anything your cat uses, including soft toys, cat beds, your own blankets and more.
  • Brush regularly: Whether your cat loves to be groomed or isn’t a big fan of spa day, you should turn brushing into a regular routine. This doesn’t just keep cats’ fur healthy and tangle-free — it also gives you a chance to spot flea bites, flea dirt, flea eggs and other flea signs before you end up with a full infestation. (Keep a flea comb on hand just in case!)
  • Keep untreated animals away: Strange pets, wild animals and even your own dog can bring fleas to your kitty. Don’t let any animal near your cat unless you know its owner is using flea treatment.

Turn to the Flea and Tick Experts

Fleas are a nuisance for you and even worse for your cat. Luckily, you’re not alone in this pest prevention battle: Your local Pet Supermarket team can guide you to the best flea and tick treatment for all the animals in your family. We’re here to answer questions, supply quick tips and help you and your kitty live that flea-free life.

Visit your nearest Pet Supermarket to learn more about flea prevention and removal.