KEEPING YOUR KITTEN CLEAN AND FREE OF FLEAS
The younger the kitten is, the more you must be careful when deciding to bathe it versus just “spot-bathing” it.
- If your rescued kitten has fleas, the first thing to do is get a good flea comb with steel teeth and comb as many fleas out of the fur as possible. Fill a bowl with soapy water and dump the fleas in it to kill them. Keep at it in a gentle manner until you have gotten as many fleas out as possible. No matter how old the kitten is, you must remove the fleas. Fleas can kill a kitten by causing anemia, rendering the kitten weak and ill.
- After you have removed as many fleas as possible, call your vet for advice on a flea spray safe to use on very young kittens. Make sure it is safe for young kittens. For tiny kittens: (after calling your vet), spray a towel and place the kitten on it for 20-30 minutes. Do not allow the kitten to inhale any fumes – keep its head raised. It is best to hold the kitten while wrapped in the towel for the 20-30 minutes to be sure it does not inhale fumes. Throw the towel away along with the dead and dying fleas that are on it. Tiny kittens are at great risk of flea-bite anemia, so a bath in gentle soap and lukewarm water might be necessary. Use a blow dryer set on warm to quickly dry the kitten, or towel-dry it. When you put the kitten back in its bed, gently use the blow dryer to warm both the bed area and the kitten so it will not become chilled. Kittens 3-4 weeks: follow the same instructions as for tiny kittens. At this point, check their ears for dirt (clean with cotton ball) or ear mites (contact your vet). Ear mites show up as “coffee-ground” type dirt.
- Scratching: if the fleas have been removed and the kitten’s fur is clean, you may have to check for ringworm or mange. If the kitten is scratching and there are bare patches of missing fur, isolate the kitten from its littermates and call your vet immediately to begin treatment.