can fleas live in a cat litter box

Can Fleas Live In Cat Litter

We have yet to meet a person who likes even the sound of the word "fleas." I know that I don't, and this is a hard article for us to write. Just the mention of the word flea and most people start to itch.

We really hope that you do not feel the same way. If so, then read this one quickly, and find out all about fleas in cat litter.

So, can fleas live in cat litter? The really quick and simple answer is, yes fleas can live in cat litter. Don't panic though, they will only live there if your cat has brought them to that space. So if your cat is flea free, then you have nothing to worry about the actual cat litter box itself. The cat litter box by itself does not attract nor cause fleas to be present.​

Fleas are almost always brought from the outside environment into your home. Many cat lovers can quickly end up with this problem when they bring in a stray for example.

It can also happen if your cat roams about outside, and comes into contact with another flea carrying animal or indeed human.

That is the most common reason why any cat gets fleas in the first place.

How Does Your Cat Catch Fleas and What Happens Then?

If your cat does have fleas, they survive by getting into your cat's fur and drinking their blood. (Makes me cringe every time)

They also lay a lot of eggs, anything from 10-50 eggs daily, with an average of 25 eggs a day, every day.

The eggs will fall off, and inevitably some will fall off into the litter. Once in there, the eggs will hatch and turn into adults. These larger fleas can live up to five days in the litter box.

Again it is almost inevitable that your cat will return to the litter box in this time period, and the flea will do what fleas do, and get attached once again to the fur of your cat. And so the cycle continues.

Now if you can imagine, this is what just one flea can do. If your cat has lots of fleas, then there can be a huge population of these nasty things on your cat, and in your litter. When your cat is biting, it can easily kill and swallow a flea. If a flea is ingested it can also cause tapeworms.

How Fleas Survive and Grow In Litter?

Fleas are good at survival, and in certain favorable conditions they both grow in population and also thrive. The urine found inside a litter is an ideal environment for flea growth.

It is also an ideal one for the hatching of their eggs. Likewise cat poop then additionally provides organic material, for the new hatchlings to feed.

That along with other adult flea poop , which of course contain's cat blood, provide the nutrient growth for these small hatchlings.

Once grown into an adult which only takes a few days, they can then attack your cat and start to lay eggs of their own. It is one of the main reasons whey regular cleaning of cat litter is vitally important.

How To Get Rid of Cat Fleas?

The first place to start is to get rid of the cat litter, and I have described that process down below. This will mean dumping all of the litter, and thoroughly cleaning the litter box.

However it is clearly very important to get them off your cat as soon as possible. Let's have a look at how to do that first, and then dealing with the litter box as it is a much simpler thing to do.

You can usually notice the tell tale signs of cat fleas quickly. Typically your cat will be licking their fur a lot, scratching, and even chewing at their fur and through to the skin. If you look closely you will be able to see these blood suckers quite easily.

They are insects who bite and yes they can be very tough to get rid of. You can buy treatments for this either over the counter, or take advice from your vet. Some cat owners prefer more natural remedies. These will include the following options.

Natural Methods for Flea Removal

Try using a flea comb - This is often used in children at school when an infestation happens there. You will need to comb thoroughly, and work the comb right into your cat’s fur.

Keep a bowl of of soapy water handy to rinse the comb and drown the fleas when they fall off. You will need to repeat this for up to 2 weeks to make sure they are gone.

Cool Water Bath for Flea Removal

Use a shampoo with natural oils such as lavender or eucalyptus. This one can be difficult as cats are known not to like water, and it could be a stressful experience for both you and your cat.

With this method you essentially drown fleas, and the scent is something that fleas don't like and helps keep them away.

Keeping Your Cat Indoors

Again depending on the behavior of your cat, this may not be easy to do. Cats will typically catch fleas when outside, so the more they stay inside, the less the chance is of picking up any type of flea infestation.

If your cat is a natural outdoor roamer, then this will be very difficult to achieve.

Using Over the Counter Flea Treatments

The fastest method though is to buy some cat flea treatment which is known to work. Something like Bayer Advantage II Flea Control Treatment for Cats works really well.

 It is easy to apply and works through contact. This works on all fleas irrespective of what stage of life they are at, and takes about 12 hours for it to work.

With over 10,000 buyer reviews online this product sells really well.

How To Clean A Litter Box Infested With Fleas?

Some cat owners will simply dump everything such as the litter box and the litter inside, the cat's bedding, toys and really anything that the cat normally uses.

They then replace that all when their cat has been treated. It is a sure fire way of dealing with the problem, but some people simply can not afford to do that.

It isn't actually necessary though to do that to get rid of the fleas. If the litter box is cleaned properly, then it is fine to use it again, without the risk of fleas returning to it.

The box should be fully emptied of litter and the litter put into a plastic bag and tied. That will need to be dumped. I then recommend vacuuming the box, especially around the sides, and under any lips of the edges of the box.

Then it will need to be washed with hot water and a mild detergent.

Your gut instinct may tell you to disinfect the box, but never do that. Your cat will not like the smell and may not use the litter box again. The same rule applies to spraying it with flea spray. 

Just wash with hot water and mild detergent and then leave it to fully dry. You can check out a more detailed article on cleaning a cat litter by clicking here.

Some experts recommend using a food grade diatomaceous earth which can be sprinkled over the new litter. This does  help prevent fleas, and this powder has no smell that will put your cat off from using the litter box.

Cat Flea - A Full Clean Up

The first thing to do is look after your cat and get rid of the fleas. Then dump the old cat litter, clean the litter box and replace it with new fresh litter. That will be a very good start, however, there is still more work to do.

Most cats who are inside will have bedding, places they like to be and that could be anything from upholstery, chairs, beds, carpets etc. All of these areas need to be hoovered and cleaned.

With particular reference to cat bedding, personally I would replace all of that, clean the cat bed, and then replace the new bedding. This can also simply be washed if you prefer.

Now for the really bad news. If there are other pets in your home, children and adults, it is very likely that they will also have fleas. All of the above will need to be treated to completely remove fleas from your home.

There is no easy way of doing this, other than by getting treatments, and keeping the home very clean.

Depending on just how bad the infestation is, it can take up to three months to finally get rid of these horrible fleas. They are annoying to get, horrid when they are there, and a real pain to get rid of.

With particular reference to cat litter, dump the litter and thoroughly clean the litter box, as that will go a very long way to getting rid of fleas in the litter box for good.


Steve is a content creator with an unhealthy cat obsession. He enjoys reading non-fiction books, entreprenuership and cuddles with his cat Fij.

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