Using essential oils for natural flea control is a safe and beneficial way to scare away fleas on dogs. But if you read the previous article, Essential Oil Safety With Cats you know that essential oils affect cats differently than dogs.
With cats, its safer to use hydrosols, rather than essential oils (even so, watch your cat for unexpected reactions). And stay away from essential oils that are known to bother cats (see the above article for a list).
Here’s a recipe for a natural flea spray for cats using hydrosols. Make absolutely sure you use hydrosols rather than an essential oils. If you can’t find hyrosols, also known as essential water or floral water), you can make something very close at home, see What Is Herbal Hydrosol?
This recipe is from Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell:
Cat Flea Spray (NOTE: Be sure to use HYDROSOL – do not confuse it with essential oil)
Makes 8 oz (240 ml)
1 oz (30 ml) Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, hydrosol 1 oz (30 ml) Lemon verbena, Lippia citriadoro, hydrosol 1 oz (30 ml) Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis, hydrosol 1 oz (30 ml) Vodka (or 1/2 oz (15 ml) Grain Alcohol) 4 oz (120 ml) Spring, Purified, or Distilled Water
Shake well and store in a dark glass bottle – opaque amber, green or cobalt blue will do. Mist your cat every day in one of these two ways – either mist your hands and massage the hyrosol into the cat’s fur, or mist your cat directly. Just one or two spritz a day is plenty, don’t overdo it.
If you find that your cat doesn’t tolerate the hydrosol spray very well, be sure to have a backup flea and tick control method. Herbal collars without essential oils or hydrosols are usually a good choice. It’s easy to make one yourself. Simply cut a length of cotton fabric longer than the circumference around your cat’s neck and about 3 1/2 to 4 inches wide (depending on the size of your cat and how big your seams are). Sew a tube with one sealed end (leave enough fabric to tie or pin). Use a funnel to pour dried herbs such as peppermint, lemon or orange peel, rosemary, lavender, geranium and/or lemon verbena into the tube. Sew up the open end and tie around your cat’s neck or pin the ends together.
Kristen Leigh Bell has two separate formulas for flea and tick repelling and not a single all-purpose formula. According to her, that is because fleas and ticks are most effectively repelled by different essential oils, and a combination of these oils does not smell very nice. If you need to apply both fleas and ticks, then she suggests that you apply one blend in the morning and one in the afternoon, as this practice avoids over-application.