Fleas are every pet owner’s worst nightmare. These little critters have been causing pain for humans and animals for thousands of years and still do today. If you notice fleas in the litter box, there’s a good chance that they have already migrated throughout your home. But there is no reason to panic. At the first sign of fleas, it’s crucial to act fast. Use this guide to discover how to identify fleas and get rid of them.
How to identify fleas in the litter box
The first thing you may be wondering is, “Can fleas live in cat litter?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes; fleas thrive in humid environments like your cat’s litter box. The good news is, a flea family won’t just decide to set up shop in the litter box. Fleas live there only if your cat brings them into the space. Almost all the time, fleas are brought into the home from an outdoor environment. If your cat doesn’t have fleas, you shouldn’t find them living in the litter box.
Fleas are black, brown, or reddish in color. They are tinier than a quarter of an inch long and can jump 50 times their body length. To check your cat for fleas, use a flea comb to separate your cat’s fur so you can see her skin. Look for small, dark dots on her skin. These could be fleas if they are moving or flea dirt (waste) if the specks don’t move. You should also check for flea bites and red, irritated skin; watch to see if your cat is itching, scratching, and chewing her skin. Even if you see only a few specks, the problem may still be serious: One female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day. So, don’t underestimate the issue!
Fleas flourish in environments with relatively high humidity. Cat urine in the litter box creates a moist atmosphere that is ideal for egg hatching and flea growth. The flea larvae can then feed on your cat’s waste and the waste of adult fleas, which contains traces of your cat’s blood. The flea larvae will find a quiet spot in or near the litter box to build a silky cocoon. In three to nine days, the fleas will hatch and jump on your cat to feast.
Once on your cat, fleas consume your cat’s blood and mate with each other. Then they’ll lay eggs in your cat’s fur, which can fall out anywhere your cat goes. This is how fleas spread throughout your home. If you’ve seen them on your cat or in the litter box, there’s a good chance that they have infested your home. Fleas and their eggs could be lurking in your cat’s bed, on the furniture, or anywhere else your kitty likes to hang out.
Getting rid of fleas
Luckily for you, fleas are a common enough problem that there are plenty of treatment options and cleaning advice available. Here, we will focus just on how to clean the litter box, but to eliminate the infestation, you will also need to clean your cat and anything she routinely uses. Some cat owners take the trash-everything approach. You can throw out your old litter box with the litter inside and replace it after your cat has been flea-treated. While this will surely get rid of the fleas, it can be an expensive solution.
If you don’t want to get rid of the litter box, you can thoroughly clean it. Start by dumping out the existing litter and sealing it in a plastic bag. This will get rid of most of the fleas. Then vacuum the box to remove any pupae that may be clinging to the bottom or sides of the box. Thoroughly wash the litter box with hot water and a mild dish detergent. This should kill off any remaining fleas.
Refrain from using flea sprays and other chemicals in the litter box as they can bother your cat and stop her from using the box. To prevent future outbreaks, sprinkle some diatomaceous earth over the litter. It is harmless to your cats, but to fleas, it can be deadly. Next, you can focus on cleaning up your pets and the rest of your house.
Fleas are an annoying and destructive problem, but one you can fix. When fleas get in your cat’s litter box, they can multiply and make your cat miserable. But by following this guide, you can clean out your home and get rid of the little pests once and for all.
- Cat pooping blood? Here’s what to do
- Tired of scooping poop? The Cadillac of litter boxes is here
- How to dispose of used cat litter
- Why cats sometimes sleep in their litter box
- 7 tips for disciplining cats