I see this question pop up often. Knowing the risks of using synthetic flea treatments, many cat owners are looking for more natural, non toxic remedies. Cats are always licking and grooming themselves. Whatever goes on their fur is likely to be ingested by the cat during their grooming regimen.
I have found Neem Oil to be an effective alternative. Neem oil is extracted from the seeds of the neem tree. It acts as an insect growth regulator and a repellent. It has been used in India and Asia on humans and animals for centuries.
Neem Oil is not an essential oil. I think that is where the confusion starts about using these oils on cats.
I asked Vicki Parsons, owner of Neem Tree Farms, about the safety of Neem use on cats and the confusion between Neem Oil and essential oils.
”Essential oils can be dangerous for cats but Neem is an expelled oil, much like olive oil, so it can be used straight on mammals. Tea tree, for instance, is an essential oil made through a distillation process – totally different from an expelled or pressed oil.
Neem for Cats is made with a chemical fragrance that is approved for use on cats, recognizing that the average person is not going to like the smell of straight neem but that EOs can be dangerous.”
Before buying a Neem product you should read the ingredients. If it contains essential oils I would not suggest you use it on your cat. Instead, you could just buy 100% Neem Oil and mix it into the shampoo you usually use. If you and your cat would like something more pleasant smelling try Neem for Cats. You could also make a dip or spray out of either product. They can also be used undiluted but do not cover the entire cat with it. Just use a few drops on the back between the shoulder blades.
You can also use Neem Leaf. It can be made into a tea to be used as a dip or spray.
For more info on Neem and other natural products, check out these links: