Fleas in the Litter Box – What to Do?

Cat scratching head due to fleas in the litter box, Fleas in the Litter Box - What to Do?Cat owners have been fighting a losing battle against fleas for a long, long time. It's one of the more fairly common issues that might cause your favorite pet some discomfort. You might even find these little pests inside your cat's litter box. But what should a cat owner do in this situation? We found some ideas that can help you keep fleas away from your cat's bathroom area.

Getting rid of fleas from any area will be an involved process. But if you follow these four steps, your cat's litter box should return to being flea-free:

  1. Clean the Litter Box 
  2. Check Your Cat for Fleas
  3. Evaluate Your Treatment Options
  4. Use Treatments on Everyone and Everything 

Of course, these steps need a bit more explanation before starting the process yourself. We'll dive into more detail about each to ensure this process goes swimmingly. Our following sections will also address a few additional flea questions that might be in your mind.

What to Do with a Flea Infested Litter Box

1. Clean the Litter Box

Some cat owners approach the cleaning process with a nuclear attitude. In other words, they will throw out everything associated with the cat: the litter box, litter, toys, bedding, and whatever else their pet uses regularly.

These people will then replace all these items when their cat has been treated. As you might expect, this method is an incredibly effective way of dealing with flea issues. But some cat owners can't afford to replace their cat's belongings.

If you fall into this category, it's important not to panic. Doing the nuclear option isn't the only way to make your cat's litter box a flea-free zone. A person who carefully cleans the infested litter box will be safe to use it again in the future.

The first step would be fully emptying your litter box of its litter, which should be placed inside a plastic bag. This plastic bag must be tied and dumped to ensure those fleas don't find a way back. You should then proceed to vacuum the box thoroughly. Pay close attention to the sides and under any lips around its edges.

After vacuuming, the box will need a proper washing using a mild detergent and hot water. It's essential to refrain from disinfecting the litter box, though. Cats tend to hate the smell, which could cause them never to use this bathroom area again. This guideline will also apply to spraying the box with flea spray.

You might consider investing in some food grade diatomaceous earth, as well. Cat owners can sprinkle this over the new litter to help prevent future fleas. Plus, it doesn't contain a smell that your cat will dislike or avoid.

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2. Check Your Cat for Fleas

Cleaning the litter box is only part of this process. You still have to address the main issue, which is your cat having fleas. These small insects won't actively look for a litter box. Instead, fleas end up in litter boxes because they're driven to them on your cat's body.

Most cat owners are already familiar will the telltale signs of cats with flea issues. You might witness them licking their fur a lot, itching themselves, or even creating hot spots through chewing at their skin.

The fleas won't be too hard to see for anyone looking hard enough, either. You'll be able to evaluate the situation and examine the infestation level.

3. Evaluate Your Treatment Options

Even if you don't see any fleas, it doesn't mean your cat doesn't have them. It would be best if you visited a vet to discuss the next step. This consultation is essential because it lets them check for any serious medical issues caused by the flea infestation.

As for treatments, there are plenty of options. We suggest going with whatever your vet recommends for combating this problem. Here are some options these experts might suggest:

Natural Treatment Options

The simplest solution is using a flea comb. These products are often used for children when an infestation of lice or fleas happens at school. Make sure to comb thoroughly and push it right into your cat's fur. After all, fleas like to burrow themselves into fur to avoid easy detection.

During this process, have a bowl of soapy water nearby to rinse off the comb and drown these pesky insects when they fall off it. You'll need to keep repeating this process for two or more weeks to ensure the infestation is gone.

Another method would be giving your cat bath to promote flea removal. We suggest using a shampoo containing natural oils like eucalyptus or lavender. But please, remember to be careful. Washing a cat isn't easy as they have an instinctive hatred of water.

It will likely end up being a stressful and potentially horrifying experience for both of you. However, it's a valid option as the bathwater will drown your cat's fleas. The scent will help keep fleas away, too, as they don't like the smell of natural oils.

Lastly, it would be best if you kept the cat indoors until their flea infestation is eradicated. Outside is usually where your cat will pick up these nuisances in the first place. But this action might be a little tricky, depending on their behavior. For instance, a cat who's used to going outside will make quite a fuzz about being on lockdown. Please do your best to ignore their pleas and stay vigilant when opening outside doors.

Over the Counter Flea Treatments

But the fastest safe method would be buying an effective over-the-counter flea treatment. An excellent example of one would be Bayer Advantage II Flea Prevention for Cats.  This product is easy to use and works on all fleas regardless of their life stage.

You can expect this product to start working 12 hours after the first contact. It will then ensure your cat remains protected for up to 30 days. It's also considered waterproof after 24 hours, which means you could use the bathing method as additional coverage.

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4. Use Treatments on Everyone and Everything

If you have other pets, children, or adults who've been in contact with the cat, they may have fleas. Each of them needs its own treatment to remove the flea issue from your home completely.

The treatment for humans could include over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone or antihistamines to help alleviate the itching. These medicines should help deal with any flea bites found on your person. We should also remind you this process could be a lengthy one.

In fact, it can take up three months to completely rid an infested home of fleas. It'll end up depending on how bad the infestation is, but these insects are annoying and relentless. This problem isn't something you can sweep under the rug.

How Long Do Fleas Live in Your House?

A flea's average life cycle is 30-90 days,  but their lifespan can vary quite a bit. Fleas living in favorable inside conditions can live up to a year. On the other hand, outdoor fleas will die off when winter temperatures drop to freezing levels.

This situation makes your home look like a tempting alternative for them to live. These insects thrive in warm climates, and most people accommodate them by keeping their homes heated in winter. As a result, our homes become optimal conditions for these annoying creatures to excel.

How Long Does it Take for Fleas to Die with Revolution?

Revolution is a popular, topical treatment used to protect pets from issues such as fleas. But people often wonder how effective this product is at doing this job? Well, several studies concluded Revolution was able to kill over 98% of the fleas within 36 hours.

As for how it handled entire infestations, Revolution showed remarkable promise in this area. It was able to gain 90% control of flea infestations 30 days after the first dose. It's quite clear that this topical treatment is more than capable of handling these little pests.

Why am I Still Finding Fleas After Treatment?

Most flea products will do a great job at killing adult fleas and stop them from laying more eggs. But this doesn't solve the entire problem. You see, only about 5% of the flea population lives on your cat. This reality means that there's another 95% living in your environment.

The number of fleas on your cats is only a small piece of this gross puzzle. You still need to do some work and get rid of the other 95%. These include the larvae, pupae, and tiny eggs living in your home, which will usually be found around resting areas.

Due to this, plenty of fleas are around to replace the ones being killed by your cat's flea treatment. It worth noting that many of these treatments take a little bit to kill these insects, hours or days. So, you might see ten fleas on your pet, but it doesn't mean the treatment isn't working.

Do Fleas Die in Winter?

As we mentioned earlier, fleas can't survive when exposed to freezing temperatures. The cutoff temperature seems to below one degree Celsius for five straight days. However, this stat is only relevant for outdoor fleas. Your home will never reach these freezing levels to kill an indoor one. These indoor fleas will instead thrive and survive during the winter.

This article should've provided a better handle on how to deal with your cat's flea issue. But if you have any more questions or concerns, feel free to let us know in the comments. We want to ensure your house becomes a flea-free zone as much as you do!