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Does Chlorine Safely Kill Fleas on Cats? Vet-Reviewed Effectiveness & Safety Explained

Written by: Kerry-Ann Kerr

Last Updated on June 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Cat with fleas

Does Chlorine Safely Kill Fleas on Cats? Vet-Reviewed Effectiveness & Safety Explained


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Fleas are a big problem, and finding out that your cat has them can make you turn to the cupboards for a quick fix. Unfortunately, chlorine is not an option if you want a fast, effective, and safe way to kill fleas on your cat. So, let’s take a look at exactly why chlorine isn’t an option and what your alternatives are when it comes to ridding your pet of these pests.

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Why Shouldn’t You Use Chlorine on Your Cat?

The biggest risk regarding chlorine is if your cat ingests it in its concentrated form, as it’s incredibly toxic. But if they get it on their skin or eyes, it could also cause damage to both. If your cat has ever swam in chlorinated water, you might have noticed them exhibiting signs of sensitivity like itchy skin or red eyes.

While chlorine might be successful at killing fleas, it isn’t something you want to use directly on or around your cat. For this reason, people might use it in its diluted form in their washing machine to kill fleas and eggs from infected clothes and bedding. This would only be a good idea for fabrics that can deal with bleach without being ruined.

chlorine solution
Photo Credit: chemical industry, Shutterstock

cat paw dividerWhat to Do If Your Cat Has Fleas

If you suspect your cat has fleas, you might have noticed signs like restlessness and chewing or scratching their skin. A good way to check is to look for signs of movement in your cat’s fur, and you might also notice black spots bouncing off their coat. A flea comb can also help detect the fleas.

The very first thing you should do is contact your veterinarian to get treatment. There are, of course, things you can do at home, but your vet should always be your first stop.

Ways to Rid Your Cat of Fleas

A gentle way to get rid of fleas is with a fine-toothed metal flea comb; brush your cat several times daily from head to tail using this comb. This will ease their itch and rid their coat of adult fleas and eggs. Then, dip the comb into liquid dish soap and warm water to kill the fleas you’ve caught on the comb. However, this method is not as effective as many others, particularly topical and oral medications that come from your cat’s vet.

Preventive methods are incredibly important for fleas—it’s always easier for you and your cat to prevent fleas than treat them. Your vet will probably speak to you about your options. Spot-on treatments are excellent options, as they’re safe, effective, and convenient. You can get one from your vet, and they can show you how to apply the product and how often you need to do so if this is your first time.

There are also sprays, shampoos, and tablets available. Fleas can give your pet tapeworms and diseases, so discuss treatments with your vet if your cat or other pets in the house aren’t already protected.

flea combing a tabby cat, looking for fleas
Photo Credit: Simone Hogan, Shutterstock

How to Get Rid of Fleas From Your Home

Getting rid of fleas completely can be tricky, especially if you have other pets. You will need to treat your pets individually with something recommended by your vet. Remember, products suitable for one species are unsafe to use on another.

When removing the fleas from your home, you have your work cut out for you. Make sure you vacuum or wash items your cat uses, like bedding and cat trees, and vacuum the floors, furniture, rugs, and skirting boards. Fleas will lay eggs in nooks and crannies, so pay close attention to places like down the side of the sofa cushions. This will ensure you kill the fleas at every stage of their lifecycle.

Ensure you throw away the bag from your vacuum or clean the canister with warm, soapy water each time you use it to prevent flea eggs and larvae from developing. You must repeat this process to ensure you have gotten rid of all fleas and eggs. Vacuuming and cleaning will reduce the flea population, but a severe infestation requires the services of a pest control technician.

3 cat face dividerProblems Fleas Can Cause

Not only are fleas uncomfortable, but they can also bring several other problems with them:

  • Allergic reactions: If your pet is sensitive to flea saliva, they might also suffer from an allergic reaction.
  • Blood loss: As fleas feed on blood, very young or frail pets can become weak with the loss of blood and even die.
  • Diseases: Fleas can pass diseases onto your pets, like myxomatosis, which also affects rabbits.
  • Tapeworm: If your pet eats flea larvae infected with tapeworm eggs, they can become infected and become a host to this parasite.
a white cat with collar scratching its ear
Image Credit: socrates471, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

Chlorine would certainly kill fleas on your cat, but it is not recommended to use a toxic chemical since it could cause damage to their skin. Chlorine could be used to wash bedding if it is suitable for bleach washing. When getting rid of fleas on your cat, you should first contact your vet to discuss treatment options. If you have any, this must be done for other pets in the house, as treatments are species-specific, and something safe for one animal won’t be suitable for another.

Featured Image Credit: Maja Marjanovic, Shutterstock

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