Did you know your little furball can catch fleas even if she's an indoors only cat?
Unfortunately, it's not possible to make your home completely impenetrable against these annoying and problematic little bugs. But by arming yourself with the right knowledge and products, you can dramatically reduce your cat's risk of a flea infestation.
This review is intended to help you figure out how to keep pests like fleas and ticks out of your home and off your cat! We'll present the best flea treatment for cats to kill fleas based on customer review, safety, quality of ingredients, effectiveness, and other factors.
We'll also go into more detail about how to choose the best flea medicine for cats in your family and answer the most frequently asked questions about this topic.
Best Flea Treatment for Cats
Advantage II Flea Treatment
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Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention
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SENTRY Fiproguard for Cats
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Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
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SENTRY PurrScriptions Flea and Tick Shampoo
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PetArmor FastCaps for Dogs & Cats
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- Bayer Advantage II Flea Treatment
- Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention
- SENTRY Fiproguard for Cats
- Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
- SENTRY PurrScriptions Flea and Tick Shampoo
- PetArmor FastCaps for Dogs & Cats
1. Bayer Advantage II
We'll start with our best pick for protecting felines against fleas and ticks: the Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats.
In our experience, this product is a great choice for several reasons. It has a low rate of side effects, it's vet recommended, and it's easy to apply. It's also a bit cheaper than some of the other most popular brands like Frontline, but seems to work just as well.
We also like it because unlike a lot of other topical treatments, it works through contact in order to kill fleas. This means the fleas don't actually have to bite your cat before the product can kill them!
While it isn't intended for smaller felines or kittens, if your feline is larger than 9 pounds then this may be the best choice.
- Specially designed for large felines
- Can kill fleas even if they haven't bitten your kitty yet
- Kills fleas at all life cycle stages
- Works quickly—as soon as 12 hours
- Among the more expensive options
- Has caused hair loss and some other side effects in some cats
- You have to apply monthly
2. Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention
Based on user experience and satisfaction, this flea collar from Seresto seems to be the best option if this is the type of treatment you decide to go with.
With an non-greasy and odor-free design, this flea collar provides medication that works through contact—so fleas will still die even if they haven't bitten your animal.
- “Set it and forget” type of application—lasts for up to 8 months (longer than most flea collars)
- This flea collar with optional reflectors for improved visibility at night
- One of the best flea collars
- Won't work on kitties who don't like flea collars
- Has caused pretty significant skin reactions in many pets
3. SENTRY Fiproguard for Cats
This six-month supply of topical flea control comes recommended by vets and is safe to use on both kittens and cats at least 1.5 pounds and up. Intended to protect against fleas, lice, and ticks for up to a month.
- Safe for cats and kittens as young as 8 weeks old
- Inexpensive compared to other leading options
- Easy to apply
- Not as effective as other leading brands, according to some users
- Also requires a monthly commitment
4. Vet's Best Flea & Tick Home Spray
This product comes from a relatively well-known and trusted pet care brand. It contains ingredients that are effective enough to kill pests but gentle enough to use around the home and yard.
It includes natural plant-based ingredients like peppermint oil and eugenol.
- Made in the US
- Can be sprayed around the home or even directly on cats older than twelve weeks
- Not safe to spray on kittens younger than 12 weeks old
- Peppermint oil may be harmful to cats, so many users are wary of spraying the product on their animal
- Could work better
5. SENTRY PurrScriptions Flea and Tick Shampoo
This flea shampoo will help kill and wash out fleas and eggs. It may even leave your kitty looking and smelling better than before! It contains soothing coconut conditioner that's great for cats skin and contains a pleasant but subtle scent.
- Smells great
- Also works against ticks and lice
- Not as effective as some users would like
- Won't be well-received by kitties who don't like water and bath time
6. PetArmor FastCaps for Dogs & Cats
These tablets are safe for cats and dogs smaller in size. Because they're oral, they provide excellent flea control. They're approved by the FDA and work pretty well for their price.
- Works quickly
- Has caused side effects in some pets
Things to Consider For Cat Flea Treatments
Before buying flea treatments, we want to remind you of a couple important things:
First, a chat with your vet is the first priority. Whether you're trying to prevent fleas or just found them crawling all over your cutie, it's best to get direct instructions from your veterinarian. This is especially important if your animal has any sort of health problem.
Second, you should carefully read directions on any flea fighting product that you plan to use. Pay particular attention to what the instructions say about your cat's age and weight.
Third and final, remember that these products contain chemicals of various strengths and varieties that have been explicitly formulated to kill bugs. These chemicals can cause side effects, so it's important to pay attention to how your animal reacts to her treatment.
It's unlikely she'll have any problems, but it's best to be on the lookout for anything unusual and when in doubt, call your vet right away.
Be Careful Of Fake Products
Sadly, some pretty shady people exist in the world who are just looking to make an easy buck. This means it's possible to find counterfeit and fake parasite prevention products—some are even sold under a familiar brand name! At best, these fake products won't take care of your flea problem. At worst, they could harm or kill your cat. So, only buy safe flea treatments for cats from reputable retailers or buy treatments directly through your vet.
Warning: Never Give Dog Flea Treatment
The type of medication that kills adult fleas is usually the same in cat products and dog products. But it is extremely important that cats are never given flea treatment that's been made for dogs. This is because the dosage in canine products is much much higher—so high that it can be toxic or even lethal to cats.
Of course, you may find some products out there designed to be safe for cats as well as dogs. But unless a product specifically says you can use it on cats, you shouldn't apply it to your feline pet.
How To Choose A Flea Treatment?
If you're looking for the best flea treatment cats can ask for, it's important to start by choosing a safe high quality product. That's why we've spent such a considerable amount of time reviewing the most popular flea treatments for cats available on the market today.
But keep this in mind:
Treatments that work for one feline may not work best for your feline, even if you stick with high-quality safe treatments.
To make sure you're selecting the best flea treatment for your kitty, keep the following factors in mind:
Consider Monthly vs Fast-Acting Treatment
If you're wondering how often you can treat your cat for fleas, this really depends on the type of treatment you choose and the type your animal needs.
Preventive treatment is usually best given on a month-by-month basis (ideally, at the same time every month for maximum consistency and protection).
If your animal is already infested, it's best that you provide treatment right away and as prescribed by your vet or instructed by the product description. Some fast-acting treatments can kill up to 90% of fleas within 4 to 6 hours!
Consider Your Cat's Personality and How Much Time it Would Take to Apply
Cat flea medicine that can kill adult fleas comes in many forms, including topical treatments, flea medications, flea collars, flea shampoo, and even flea sprays. Depending on your cat's personality and patience, some of these types of treatments may be better and more easier to apply than others.
For example, just imagine how your cat would respond if you tried to bust out a flea comb and shampoo on her. Does the idea of bathing your cat in a tub full of soapy water sound crazy? If so, topical treatments or even a flea collar may be more appropriate treatments.
Additionally, many cats aren't interested in eating pills and are too clever to be tricked by the age-old technique of hiding meds in some yummy food.
Of course, it's not always perfect. Sometimes, a certain treatment method may be the only one available or the most appropriate safe approach for killing fleas on your kitty given the set of circumstances. A pet's overall well-being or even the extent of the flea infestation you're dealing with are just two things which can dictate the type of flea treatment your vet will recommend.
It's always best to go with the cat fleas treatment that will be the most effective, safe and well-tolerated by your animal, but sometimes your pet may just have to grin (or meow?) and bear it.
The following are some of the major pros and cons to the most recommended flea medicine for cats. As you read through them, consider how they may apply to your cats:
Spot on topical treatments
- Pros: easy to administer, most cats don't notice it
- Cons: less effective than pills, according to research; may cause accidental poisoning if cats lick it off their skin; may cause complications if it gets into a pet's sweat glands or bloodstream
Flea pills as treatments for cats
- Pros: the most effective type of flea preventing agent and treatment, according to research
- Cons: some cats don't like swallowing pills; some pets experience vomiting or diarrhea (but the risk for side effects is generally low)
Cat flea collars
- Pros: inexpensive
- Cons: often come with a strong odor; the chemicals in the collar may irritate a cat's skin; a lot of cats won't like wearing collars
Cat flea shampoo treatments
- Pros: great at killing and removing adult fleas on your cat, flea eggs, and flea larvae
- Cons: can be very difficult to administer this type of treatment; they do not prevent re-infestation
Cat Flea sprays
- Pros: very easy to use and spray on a cat's skin; among the most inexpensive flea treatment for cats
- Cons: less effective than most other options; may pose a health hazard if it gets into a cat's eyes
Important Things To Do When Selecting A Flea Treatment
Now that you've been introduced to some of the best flea treatments for cats, and have learned about a few things to keep in mind when you're about to purchase a product, it's time to clarify the specific steps you should take once you've made your choice and are preparing to administer the treatment.
1. Veterinarian Consultation
Before giving any type of medication to your kitten or adult cat, you should always check with your vet first. Your vet will help you make the right choice of treatment and help you avoid potential problems.
2. Reading the Label
Take the time to read the directions on your pet's treatment and make sure you feel confident in how to apply it.
3. Proper Dosing
It's imperative that you use the correct dose when giving your animal her flea medication, whether it's for prevention or treatment. Too little and the medication won't work. Too much and it could hurt or even kill your pet.
4. Researching the Active ingredients (Pesticides)
Flea fighting products use insecticides and pesticides. While these ingredients are effective for killing fleas, they can cause harm to felines if used improperly or if given to kitties who are sensitive or allergic to them.
So, ask your veterinarian about any questions or concerns you have about the ingredients used in your animal's medication.
Symptoms to Watch out For After Giving Flea Treatment
Even the best quality products for killing fleas contain powerful ingredients like pyrethrin and permethrin (which are found in flea medications for felines and dogs, but at much higher doses in canine products). These ingredients are insecticides and can be harmful if too much gets into or on your animal.
High quality flea treatment is generally safe for kitties, and it's unlikely that your kitty will have a bad reaction to her flea medication. But you should check on her closely for at least 12 hours to 24 hours after administering her treatment in case she exhibits any signs of poisoning or adverse reactions.
Signs of a bad reaction to flea medication in kitties may include:
- Drooling a lot
- Difficulty walking (she may start to stagger, which is called ataxia)
- Muscle tremors
- Seizure like activity
- Abnormal behavior, especially increased agitation, aggression, and excitation
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting and diarrhea
These potentially serious issues can develop especially if your animal accidentally ingests the medication, such as by grooming herself and swallowing it. Call the Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-213-6680 or your veterinarian right away if you suspect any one of your felines is having a bad reaction to their flea treatment. If she's wearing a flea collar, remove it immediately.
How Do Cats Get Fleas?
Cats can get fleas if they come in contact with another animal that has been infested with fleas. Felines can also get fleas if the parasites have lodged into the carpet or other household material. People may unknowingly bring fleas into their homes if they become lodged on their clothing or in their belongings.
As we've learned, indoor kitties can get fleas, too—but how?
Have you ever wondered how long fleas can live in your house? Believe it or not, fleas can live in your house for as long as 100 days without a food source but fleas on your cat can live as long as two to three months.
Another question we hear a lot from our readers is: “Can a cat die from fleas?” It's an important question, and here's the truth you should know:
Your cat can die from fleas if she is bitten by a large number of them and subsequently develops anemia. Anemia (lack of blood) is potentially life-threatening, especially in kittens.
If your cat was recently bitten by many fleas or is exhibiting signs and symptoms of anemia—including lethargy, rapid breathing, and weakness—call your veterinarian right away.
The Stages Of The Cat Flea Life Cycle
Fleas are pesky pests and in our experience can do quite a lot of damage in a short amount of time! That's why providing effective flea treatments for felines as soon as an infestation is suspected is an absolute must—it's the best way to kill fleas and prevent further growth. Kill adult fleas and larvae for your cat's peace of mind.
It may be helpful to have a general idea of how fleas grow and develop. These animals have a relatively quick life cycle that can be broken down into four main stages:
Female fleas lay eggs—up to 50 in 24 hours! These eggs will take anywhere from 1 to 10 days to hatch.
Flea larvae hatch from eggs and eat flea feces to develop and grow. You usually find fleas in their larvae stage in dark moist areas (think: hidden in your carpet).
In this stage, flea larvae turn themselves into flea pupae – this is similar to the cocoon stage in a caterpillar's transformation into a butterfly (although the end result is way less pretty!). Flea pupae may stay in this stage for weeks or even months, but most of the time they remain in this stage for a matter of one to two weeks.
In the final stage, adult fleas emerge from the pupae stage and almost immediately get right to work finding and feeding on a host. If left unaddressed, fleas can live on poor kitties and other animals for several months, and once they find a good host they tend to latch on and stay there (rather than “jumping” from pet to pet, despite what popular belief says).
What is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of Fleas on a Cat?
The fastest way to get rid of fleas on a cat is to quickly take action as soon as you notice signs and symptoms of a flea infestation.
If you find fleas or flea eggs on your animal, treat her right away using the appropriate medications as directed. Generally, you should expect to:
- Get rid of the fleas by removing them with a flea comb. You can then dip the flea comb in a mixture of water and dish soap to kill any fleas you remove from her coat.
- Bathe your cat or kitten with flea shampoo and/or use a flea spray—or whatever other flea treatment for cats you and your veterinarian have decided is best for your animal.
Of course, we all can agree that it's better to protect your home and family from fleas and ticks, lice, and other pests and prevent parasite infestation from happening in the first place!
So, do what's in your power to avoid fleas—namely, administer flea preventing medication for your cat all year round and check your kitty's coat on a routine basis.
Do Indoor Cats Need Flea Treatment?
All pet cats need routine flea and tick preventing medication, even if they are indoor pets only. Most veterinarians and animal behavior experts recommend that indoor and outdoor kitties receive monthly parasite prevention medication all year round—even in the winter when the risk of a flea problem is generally low.
How Do I Get Rid of Fleas in My House Fast?
There are several things you can do to get rid of fleas quickly in your home, but keep in mind that results vary and really depend on individual factors of pet owners including the size of home, the number of pets, how bad the flea problem is, the effective flea agent and more.
Here are a few of the top recommended tips from vets and other pest professionals for getting fleas out of your home:
- First things first: treat your pets! You need to kill adult fleas as well as the eggs and larvae on your cat if you want to prevent any more of them from spreading around your home.
- Clean. Check all over your home for signs of fleas and be prepared to thoroughly vacuum carpets, rugs, and furniture. Use a carpet spray (always as directed) that kills adult fleas, and be sure to spray these in crevices and closets, and anywhere that's dark and enclosed—fleas love these little hideouts!
- Fog your house. Flea killing foggers can be effective for killing fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae for up to 7 months.
If a flea infestation becomes severe enough, sometimes the best and most effective choice is to call an exterminator.
Does One Flea Mean Infestation?
Even finding one flea or a few fleas on your cat or in your home is cause for concern, because these pests can start to breed and lay eggs within 24 hours of finding a host. And even just one flea entering your home can lead to a full-on infestation. This can happen really quickly in many cases.
Can Fleas Live on a Person?
Fleas may bite pet owners, but they generally won't live on humans. Felines, dogs, and other animals are the preferred hosts for fleas. So, these critters will usually try to lay their eggs and “live” on animals.
In other words: fleas won't likely take up residence on your body, but they can definitely bite you and other humans in your home.
Keep in mind that fleas can transmit diseases from animals to humans and may lead to irritating issues for you, such as skin infections.
Fleas and ticks and other pests aren't just irritating. If you get them in your house then serious problems can develop for you and your family members—both two-legged and four-legged!
It's so important to maintain proper parasite and fleas and ticks control all year long, whether your kitty is an indoors only type of gal or explores the outdoors, too. So, keep these medication reviews handy as you shop around for the best cat flea treatment for your pets which kills adult fleas.
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