This article concentrates on how to get rid of fleas on very young kittens only. If you are searching for a solution to get rid of fleas on cats, kittens, pets and also from your house you should read the more detailed article How to get rid of Fleas – House and Pets
How do I get rid of fleas on a young kitten less than 6 weeks of age?
Many people ask this question and so often they are given the wrong advice. People will often recommend flea powders, flea rinses, essential oils and other chemicals that are far too dangerous to use on kittens less than 6 weeks old.
It is not safe to put chemicals on kittens of less than six weeks of age.
Fleas can also be very dangerous to young kittens and can even result in a kitten dying from anaemia so you do need to kill these fleas.
If the kitten is with its mother and nursing it is more than likely that the mother cat has a flea infestation so first you need to treat the mother cat. If there are other cats or dogs in the household you need to treat all pets and also your house.
How to remove fleas on a very young kitten
The safest way to treat a kitten under 6 weeks of age for fleas is to bathe him using warm water and Dawn dishwashing detergent and then to manually pick off remaining fleas. Dawn dishwashing soap is very effective and it kills fleas quickly. Many breeders bathe their cats in Dawn.
Fill your sink or tub with warm water. (Test the temperature as if you were giving a baby a bath). Using the kitchen sink is often easiest as you don’t have to bend down and you are more in control. Immerse the kitten up to his neck and insure that he is saturated. Wet his face and head with a face washer. Then lift him out and place him on a towel. Gently massage in the Dawn detergent. Massage the soap all over his body and around his neck, ears, face, head and under his chin, being very careful not to get soap in his eyes.
Then put him back in the water for a rinse. If he is not fighting and struggling too much try to keep his body submerged (with his head above the water of course) for a few minutes. If he is clawing you to pieces get the job over and done with as quickly as possible.
Having two people perform the operation is often easier. One to hold the kitten and one to massage and wash the the kitten. When finished wrap him up in a dry towel and dry him off. Try to do this in a warm atmosphere and don’t let him get cold.
After the Bath – Go over the kitten with a flea comb
Flea combs are very inexpensive and usually quite effective in catching fleas that still remain on the kitten after his bath. While the kitten is still damp comb over his body with a flea comb or pick off the remaining live fleas with your finger and thumb nails or tweezers while they are struggling to get through the damp hair.
Have some Vaseline jelly on hand. If you see a flea on your kitten dab the flea with a blob of Vaseline jelly. This will immobilize the flea and will make it easier for you to catch it and remove it from your kitten.
Have a cup of very hot water ready to drop the fleas into as you catch them. Hot water is best as I’ve seen fleas jump out of cold water. For better results use a couple of drops of dish soap in the water. The flea will sink to the bottom and die.
Another idea is to have some sticky tape placed sticky side up and put the captured fleas on this.
Combing may be easier on a shorthair kitten than a longhair one. Put some Vaseline Jelly on the base of the comb’s teeth to stop the fleas from escaping the comb.
Treating New born kittens for fleas
Unfortunately, as soon kittens are born fleas can infest them. Fleas from the mother cat will spread to the kittens. The best advice to prevent fleas on new born kittens is to treat the mother cat with a top spot flea treatment such as Advantage, Advocate, Frontline or Revolution
Next you should manually remove the fleas from the kittens. The kittens are tiny and it should be easy for your to catch the fleas with your finger and thumb nails or tweezers. Dab the flea with some Vaseline Jelly to immobilize it and then when captured drop the fleas into a glass of very hot water (with a couple of drops of dish soap) to kill them.
Once the fleas have been killed on the mother cat the kittens will no longer be re-infested. Top spot treatments work very fast on the mother cat, usually within 24 hours or often even less.
Treating an older kitten for fleas
Once your kitten reaches 8 weeks of age you can use a topical flea product such as:
- Advantage Multi,
A chewable tablet which is very effective in flea control and works quickly.
You can use Comfortis for cats once your kitten reaches 14 weeks or greater or 2 pounds (1 kilogram) body weight or greater.
The safe use of Comfortis in breeding, pregnant, or lactating cats and dogs has not been evaluated.
Ask your vet for advice on which flea product to use. Front Line and Advantage distribute through the body oils and Revolution is absorbed into the kittens bloodstream.
Topical treatments are applied to the skin, usually between the shoulder blades and disperse through the skin’s oils.
Comfortis Tablets for Kittens. Ask your Veterinarian for advice. Comfortis works extremely well.
Revolution also prevents heartworm, ear mites and hookworm.
Advantix and Frontline Plus also prevent ticks.
- heartworm prevention
- flea and lice treatment
- treatment gastrointestinal worms
- treatment and prevention of lungworms in dogs
- control of ear mites in cats and dogs
- control of sarcoptic mange in dogs
- control of Demodex mites in dogs
Do not use on sick, debilitated, or underweight cats. Do not use on cats less than 9 weeks of age or less than 1kg body weight.
Advantage Multi is the same product as Advocate as above. It is marketed under Advantage Multi in the US, Canada and New Zealand
If your pet is treated with Advantage the fleas start dying within one hour and all are killed within two hours.
Top spot flea products are not necessarily expensive. You can shop around for them on the internet or from store to store. What is expensive is using products that don’t work. That is throwing money away for nothing.
The makers of top spot products recommend that you apply them monthly but I have found that once you attain flea control in your surroundings you may not have to apply the top spot for many months.
You have to treat not only the kitten but also it’s environment
For total flea control you have to get rid of fleas in your house and on your pets Click to find out how.
It is not sufficient to treat just your kitten or puppy for fleas you must also treat your house. If you have an understanding of the flea cycle you will know that only 5% of fleas in your environment are actually living on the pet. The other 95% in the form of eggs, larvae and pupae are living in your house or/and yard. For example, if you catch 10 fleas on your kitten then at a rough estimate there are approximately 190 fleas developing and maturing in your house.
Treating the kitten’s mother for fleas
It wouldn’t make a lot of sense to get rid of the fleas on a kitten then put him back with his mother who is infested with fleas so you should first treat the mother cat. You should treat her with a top spot flea treatment such as Advantage, Frontline or Revolution.
Revolution is a Parasiticide that is applied to the skin of the cat. Apart from fleas it is also used to treat and prevent ear mite infestation, sarcoptic mange, roundworm, hookworm and heartworm.
A word of warning from the manufacturers: Use caution in using it on sick, weak, or underweight animals, or animals with broken or irritated skin. Do not use it on puppies or kittens less than 6 weeks of age.
What NOT to use for flea control on kittens and cats
Flea collars are on the whole are completely ineffective and can cause irritation to the skin.
Beware of using essential oils on cats. Cats do not efficiently metabolize essential oils and their use can lead to symptoms of toxicity.
Never use a flea product on a cat that is labelled for use on dogs. Kittens have been known to die from toxic effects of dog flea treatments.