Treating Kittens for Fleas: Safely Remove Those Dreaded Insects From Invading Your Kitten

Fleas are tricky, especially on kittens!

First, you spot them: 

  1. This can be done by using a flea comb
  2. Then you treat them – most of the time using some kind of flea bath made with an animal-safe cleaner like Dawn dish soap.

It’s absolutely essential that you don’t use over-the-counter flea products on kittens under the age of 8 weeks old! (I’ll explain more below!)

kitten with a wet face from a flea bath

Treating your cat for fleas can be a lot different than treating a small kitten for fleas, for a variety of different reasons.

Be warned:

Fleas can cause problems in kittens, and depending on where you live, they can be a life-threatening problem (as they can literally kill a kitten through blood loss or by passing life-threatening parasites.) [1] 

How to Check for Fleas…

It’s important to make sure your small kitten doesn’t have fleas on her – due to their size, the risk of flea anemia (due to loss of blood from the flea bites, like I mentioned above) is fairly high for kittens.

You can check your kitten for fleas by simply using your fingers to “comb through” their fur.

  • Fleas will most notably be seen on their belly, armpits or on the cat’s face.
  • The fleas will appear fast-moving, small and dark. 

Did you know?

“Fleas, which average between 1/6 to 1/8 of an inch in length, are capable of a vertical leap of seven inches, and a distance of more than a foot.”

Whether you’re getting a kitten for the first time or are a cat veteran, fleas can be a serious problem.

serious flea issue on kitten

If your kitten is showing the following symptoms, seek immediate vet consultation!

  • If she seems lethargic
  • If she has pale gums
  • If she isn’t eating or has a loss of appetite

The above can be symptoms of a larger problem as a result of flea bites.

How Do I Treat My Newborn Kitten for Fleas?

Using a flea comb can be tedious but extremely helpful and should be done at least once a day until the fleas are not seen anymore. 

Make sure it’s not too sharp, and that it won’t hurt the kitten’s skin – a veterinarian can help you choose one that is safe.

Bathing a kitten that is younger than 8 weeks old is generally not recommended, as they have difficulty controlling their body temperatures at such a young age. [2]

If you have a kitten under 8 weeks old that has fleas, it’s a better idea to use a flea comb to remove the fleas.

Mechanical Flea Removal:

Once the kittens are about 2 weeks old and generally healthy, a mild soap will help to get rid of the fleas in an infestation.

Since it’s not recommended to fully bathe a kitten so young, you can spot bathe (with a wet washcloth and dish soap) and use the flea comb before/after to catch any fleas you may have missed.

What kind of dish soap could I use on my kitten?

Dawn dishwashing soap.

It has been known for being both gentle and effective and is safe to use on animals.

This should help in even if you decide to do a spot bath for your kitten.

You don’t want to do this too often, as it will dry out their skin, but occasionally to help clear the flea population until they are old enough for topical products it will help.

Close-up of several tabby kittens snuggled together on a blanket
Just thought I would break up the information here with super cute kittens on a blanket! Enjoy and please keep reading.

If My Kitten Has Fleas, Does My Home? What Do I Do?


If there was a polar opposite to kittens – it would be fleas.

They are not cute and can make your life (and your kitten’s life) miserable! 

Below is a really great video explaining the three steps to getting rid of fleas in your home and on your pet(s). 

  1. Treat the animal
  2. Treat the environment 
  3. Prevent re-occurrence 

Watch more below for a cute, simple and informational explanation on how to do this.

Here are more some things you can do to get rid of fleas on your kitten and in your home: 

Find the source.

Sadly, if your kitten has fleas, she likely has gotten them from another pet in your home.

Check their mother, siblings or any other pet in your home for fleas and treat them.

Give a flea bath!

As it turns out, there are some things you need to know about bathing your kitten.

If you absolutely need to bathe your kitten (and they are under 8 weeks old), it’s recommended that you do not submit their entire bodies underwater at any given time and once the bath is over, make sure they are immediately completely dried and put somewhere warm (like wrapped in a blanket).

There are a few different ways of giving your kitten a gentle flea bath.

It’s very important to bathe your kitten safely, you can follow our instructions below.

How Do I Give My Kitten a Flea Bath?

  • Use comfortably warm water.
  • Choose a cleaning product that is safe for your kitten (such as Dawn liquid dish soap (or some other fragrance-free soap that is okay for animals).
  • Wash from the neck down. 
  • Avoid their eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. 
  • Never put your cat’s face or head under water. 
  • Wash her entire body including between toes, under her arms and throughout her tail.
    She won’t be very happy with this, but she’ll be rid of the fleas!
  • Spot clean her head (with a washcloth).
    Still avoiding the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.
  • Place any fleas that you find into a bowl of soapy water to drown them.
  • Once the bath is finished, place your cat into a warm environment (like a baby blanket).

Do not use a commercial (over-the-counter) product on young kittens!

Don’t use a commercial over-the-counter flea product.

This was mentioned above but worth to say again:

There is no topical flea product that is safe for a kitten under 8 weeks old!

What does this mean?


Although the mother or other older pets may be treated with commercial flea products, it’s actually very dangerous for young kittens.

Treating kittens for fleas can be challenging, as many products aren’t labeled for small sizes or young ages.

Instead, you can refer to flea baths or manually brushing the fleas away with a flea comb.

Treat the mother (and/or other pets)

But here’s the good news!

The mother cat (and any other pets in your home that may also have fleas), can be treated with a commercially available product.

There are even ones available that are approved for use in pregnant and nursing cats.

However, some are not – so be careful when choosing a topical or oral product.

When in doubt, a veterinarian is always the best resource when choosing flea control. 

Get the fleas out of your home!

Ridding your entire house of fleas can prove to be difficult, especially when you’re a multi-cat household and have kittens running around. 

Some ways you can rid your home of fleas are: 

Keeping the environment clean of fleas is your number one priority.

You can do this with frequent vacuuming and washing of bedding.

You can also do your best to ensure all animals in your home are flea-free (if one animal still has fleas, they can spread again to the others).

You can stay on top of a flea problem with your pets by checking yourself on a weekly basis with a flea comb.

Set flea traps!

This may be the best way to rid your home of fleas (aside from treating your pets and getting the fleas off of them!)

Although fleas will gravitate towards your pet over a flea trap, they are still proven to be quite effective!

How to Make a Flea Trap

Step 1: To make a ‘flea trap’, place a shallow plate filled with warm water in the middle of the room where the infestation seems to be happening.
Step 2: Add 1 tsp dishwashing liquid to the water, and agitate it to make the water soapy.
Step 3: Shine a lamp or light a candle in the middle of the plate.
Fleas will be attracted to the heat source and the plate of dishwashing liquid will exterminate them.
Step 4: You can repeat this until you don’t find dead fleas in the water.

Be careful not to let your pets near the flea trap, however!

If they drink the water or get too close to the heat source, they can hurt themselves.

If you don’t want to use a candle, you can shine a bright lamp into the center of the plate, but be careful using water and electricity in the same area, and block access for your pets.

Frequent checks are essential for fleas, combing and removing fleas each time you might see one.

Check out this video below to this genius pet-parent life hack in action!

What Kind of Flea Treatment Can I Give to My Kitten?

(A Review of Top Flea Treatment Products)


Revolution is one example of flea control that is safe for use in pregnant and nursing cats and is available through a veterinarian.

What you need to know about Revolution:

  • This product is licensed for cats and kittens older than 8 weeks and 5 pounds.
  • The advantage is another safe topical product to use on the mother cat and is licensed for kittens older than 6 weeks.
  • With this product, it is ESSENTIAL to make sure that you buy the product for cats, NOT DOGS.
  • If you do apply a product to the mother cat, make sure to keep the kittens away from her for 2-3 hours, until the product has dried and the kittens can’t lick it.
  • It isn’t toxic, but it doesn’t taste good. If you use a product that is safe for nursing cats, there isn’t any worry about toxins in the milk for the kittens.


Capstar is another flea product that is licensed for kittens greater than 4 weeks old, and more than 2 pounds.

What you need to know about Capstar:

  • It is a short-term product that is given once to kill fleas on the kitten but only lasts 24 hours.
  • It can be helpful in a heavy infestation until the kitten is old enough for topical flea control that lasts longer.
  • Once you have the mother cat treated, that and making sure that the rest of the environment is clean will go a long way towards flea prevention for the kittens, but they may also need some help to rid them of the fleas, individually.

When using a strong product like Capstar, I personally would go on the recommendation of a vet and go into it knowing the side effects.

Below is a close-up video of how Capstar fights against fleas.

In the video, it’s explained that your cat may act a little strange (hyper, scratching, meowing, etc) and this is because of how Capstar is working to fight the fleas.

This strange behavior from your pet is okay as long as it doesn’t last for longer than 3 hours (if it lasts for three hours or more, seek vet consultation.)

Frontline Plus (for cats)

Frontline is a well-known brand for fleas in the pet community.

This product usually gives 30 days of protection, is available in your pharmacy and is generally considered one of the good ones.

What you need to know about Frontline Plus (for cats): 

  • There are Frontline products for dogs, so make sure the one you’re getting is meant for cats! 
  • Frontline products are meant for cats above the age of 8 weeks old. 
  • Can be used for fleas, lice, and ticks on your cats

If you have kittens in your home, chances are that you want to spend your time giving them love and making sure they have the proper support from mama cat to grow and be strong.

But fleas on kittens is a big problem, and I hope I’ve helped you figure out some solutions!

If you keep the mother treated, remove adult fleas from the kittens, and keep the environment as clean as possible, you may be able to stay ahead of the infestation until they are old enough for topical medications and keep the kittens healthy and relatively flea free.

[1] Kitten Lady – How to Deal with Fleas

[2] The Nest – When Can I Bathe My Kitten

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