Should your cat have fleas, be sure that unfortunately they won’t fight themselves. The earlier you get rid of them, the better as if you let them spread, you can seriously infest the pet and, consequently, the whole house. Fleas are known for breeding fast and shooting their eggs everywhere, and thus infesting the whole house. Today we’ll describe to you all of the ways to get rid of fleas and all the best fleas control products and then you’ll be able to decide for yourself which is better for you. But first let’s define the stages of exterminating flies and draw your attention to the mildest and preventive product and later to stronger flea medicine for cats.
Table of Contents:
- What Should You Do if You Found Out Your Beloved Cat Has Fleas?
- How Do Cats Get Fleas? Cat Flea Control Products
- Cat Flea Collars
- First Signs of Flea Infestation
- Cat Flea Medicine: The Best Shampoo, Drops and Spray
- The Best Cat Flea Drops for Kittens and Adult Cats
- Organic Cat Flea Treatment: Cat Flea Tablets and Natural Spray-Killer
- First, brush the pet.
- If there are few fleas and after brushing you also see few eggs and larvae, use cat flea shampoo (if the cat lets you, of course ;).
- If there are lots of fleas, and no regular methods help control them, begin the treatment with flea drops and sprays. Use them carefully if your cat is old, sick or pregnant, or if it’s a kitten. Please, refer to the manual first!
Everything is really simple; there are only two ways a cat can get fleas:
- If the cat is fully domestic and doesn’t go out, flea infestation can still occur. Fleas’ eggs can be brought home with some dirt on your shoes, and once they are at your place, they start breeding
Prevention: lay a mat before the front door and wipe your feet carefully, vacuum clean more often and clean the entrance to your place as often as possible especially if your cat loves hanging there. Wash your shoes more often and don’t wear the same ones outside and at home.
- If the cat is allowed to go outside, getting a couple of fleas is a piece of cake after socializing with other animals with fleas, for example. Fleas have an amazing jumping ability and can easily jump from one animal to another.
Prevention: since you’ll be barely able to control where your cat is running around or laying about outside (unless you walk it on a leash), make sure you buy a high-quality cat flea collar. Such collars contain powerful yet mild for the pet chemicals which repel fleas and ticks for a few months. If you pick a really good one, constant wearing it won’t cause any skin allergies.
Nowadays Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar, Cat is the best selling Cat Flea Collar. This repellent will work for 8 months unless you bathe the cat while it is wearing the collar. it is light and is comfortably worn around the neck so that the cat can gradually get used to wearing it. Bear in mind though that if you have 2 or more cats, you should be careful when using collars and wear it only outside as the cats can accidentally bite off pieces of collar and get poisoned. Such a repellent costs ~$38.99 which turns out to be pretty cut-rate if you divide this amount on the number of months it will be functioning.
The collar’s moderate price and effectiveness earned high customer rating. However, cat owners give some valuable advice telling you to be careful when first using any collar flea product: “However, if you're going to try a new product, ANY new flea/tick product on your pet - please don't just leave it on for 24-48 hours or more and then sit back on your heels while your pet acts strange or starts having seizures”.
Ideally, during the first couple of weeks of wearing it you should pay special attention to your cat’s behavior, to its skin’s state and whether there are no more fleas on your pet’s body. Naturally, should any signs of allergy, drowsiness or excessive anxiety appear, you’ll have to take the collar off. Find other helpful tips regarding using Seresto Collar on Amazon.com.
As we have already claimed in our Best Dog Flea Treatment review, identifying infestation is easier when you communicate with the pet, pet it and go through its fur. Here are the main infestation stages.
1. If your cat shrugs sometimes, licks certain spots intensely and looks anxious, it means that a few fleas have settled in its fur.
2. If the pet is growing more and more anxious, bites, itches and leaves itchy marks or scratches on the skin, then the fleas have begun breeding, their population is growing and they bite the animal thus hurting it and making it itch.
Attention! This stage of infestation is crucial to identify as it’s high time to save your poor cat! It won’t be able to solve this problem without your health. Other hints of flea infestation are:
- White eggs looking like salt or rice grains and larvae.
- Black dots which are fleas’ feces, of which they can’t yet get rid of without going unnoticed. They contain undigested blood and are dangerous as the larvae feed on them in order to transform into adults.
As soon as you notice first symptoms of your cat’s flea infestation, start combating them with the help of special brushes. They have stiff bristles, which are good for brushing through the fur and removing fleas, their eggs and feces and other waste. To evaluate the scale of the problem, comb the cat over a sheet of paper so that you can see how much you’ve removed.
We recommend you to pick the best brush available, all the more so they don’t cost much: Safari Flea Comb with a Double Row of Teeth is most popular among both cat and dog owners. It costs only ~$4.25 and its customer rating is 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Besides using special control products and methods once you see the slightest signs of flea infestation, you should start exterminating them at home especially in the places your cat loves the most: its own spot, sofas, soft chairs, carpets and even your car if you drive your cat somewhere. Everything should be clean, washed and processed with flea control products (refer to our Review of the Best Flea Control Products for more details).
Sometimes fleas attack in such scale that combing the fur is not enough. That’s when you start using chemical substances, such as shampoos, sprays and drops. All of them are for external use only and contain powerful insecticide in restricted dosage. We have only picked the best modern anti-flea products for cats with different levels of flea infestation.
Let’s start with the shampoo. Washing a cat with shampoo is not for everyone, as many (err, well, most of them) cats hate bathing and water with every fiber of their soul. When our acquaintances decided to first bathe their cat, it simply bit through their fingers! Scary, isn’t it? However, if your pet is calm or fortunately loves bathing, this method will be fine.
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Dogs and Cats
Although this shampoo is #1 Best Seller in Cat Flea Control Shampoos category, we have carefully analyzed information about it and customers’ reviews so that you knew how this shampoo functions.
It contains such chemicals as piperonylbutoxide, methoprene, and pyrethrin. Their total concentration barely exceeds 2%. This isn’t much, but we’ll explain why this product contains them at all.
Methoprene is insect growth regular, as here it is accountable for stopping fleas’ eggs from hatching on your cat’s body, which is an advantage. Pyrethrin (don’t mix it up with synthetical permethrene) is a well-known organic insecticide. Unlike toxic permethrene it is harmless for cats. Piperonylbutoxide enhances pyrethrin’s action. This may as well be all you need to know about the chemicals this shampoo contains. As for the organic components, you’ll find soothing aloe, lanolin and oatmeal there in order to balance insecticides and make your cat’s fur look and smell good.
Adams Plus can be used on both cats and dogs over 12 weeks old approximately once a month. Apply 1-2 tablespoons of shampoo on your pet’s body, add some water, lather well (don’t touch the face, eyes and ears) and leave for 5 minutes. Rinse off with lots of water afterwards.
Combing the hair in order to remove the first flea victims of the shampoo is then desirable.
Price: ~$8.40 Сheck the current price
Let’s now focus on the most popular and powerful product, flea drops. You drip them on the withers and fleas shall flee.
Our expert, a vet professor with 30 years of experience considers drops to be the best product. First, drops are more convenient than spray. Cats are very fidgety, so when spraying a product, your cat can escape and then the substance will get into its eyes or on its genitals which is very harmful. This will never be the case with drops. You’ll have a chance to drip a few of them in a couple of seconds. Second, imidacloprid-based drops are new generation treatment to which the fleas have not adapted yet. As for us, we regularly drip these drops on our 3 cats’ withers: it is piece of cake and the pets have no fleas for the last 5 years.
Bayer Advantage II Flea Control Treatment for Cats
This is a #1 Best Seller in Cat Flea Drops category for large cats (5-9 pounds and higher). Over 3 500 customers’ reviews and high customer rating testify its effectiveness. Imidacloprid is the active component here.
According to the NCBI studies, Imidacloprid provided significantly greater flea kill than other chemicals. A single topical application of imidacloprid provided high efficacy in early stages of adult fleas’ elimination, limiting the risk of pathogen transmission and flea allergy dermatitis.
The manufacturer claims that these ~$55.99 drops can fully destroy fleas’ breeding cycle by killing eggs, larvae and adult fleas. The drops’ protective effect lasts for 4 weeks even if you bathe your cat. Drip them on the withers, which is the least accessible place for cats so they can’t lick off the drops. They are applied monthly hence the packs of 4-6 vials.
Thus we conclude that if your adult cat has caught fleas and you don’t have time for careful measures, do use Advantage II drops as active imidacloprid has a real impact and starts working as fast as possible.
The drops are very convenient. All you have to do is drip them on the withers. It is fast, simple and effective.
Frontline Flea and Tick Treatment Dog/Cat Spray, 8-1/2-Ounce
Have you noticed that many anti-flea products are universal, i.e. they suit both cats and dogs? This is the case of Frontline Flea Spray. It doesn’t contain any herbs; the active component here is fipronil, a well-known insecticide used for exterminating various insects, including fleas and ticks. It makes up only 0.29% of the product, but it’s powerful enough to eliminate adult fleas and their eggs in such concentration.
The spray costs $34.99, but it’s cost-saving as cats are usually rather small. The manufacturer claims that a single use will help the pet get rid of fleas for up to 30 days, but the application of spray is not limited during this period (if necessary, i.e. if you see live fleas on your cat).
The product is safe for both 8 weeks old cats and dogs. All you have to do is apply it on the pet’s skin and rub it in (mind the gloves), as simple spraying will not be sufficient). Unfortunately, some of the customers didn’t like it and thus regret choosing this spray over flea drops. The rest of the consumers are happy with the effect of this spray and they continue using it. You can read all of the customer feedback on Amazon.com yourself and draw your own conclusions regarding this product. Also read our article about how to get rid of ticks.
If you opt for everything organic, use organic flea control products. Some vets reckon that they are less effective than Advantage II drops, but, judging by Amazon.com sales statistics, many cat owners love them.
Let us first warn you to refrain from following random advice given by parents and friends, such as using all kinds of essential oils as flea repellents. For example, according to NCBI, tea tree oil (a.k.a. melaleuca oil) which is used by many women as skin treatment, is toxic for all cats and dogs. If you doubt any homemade product, consult a vet, related web-portals and reliable books.
We have studied various flea repellents and have decided to cover two items: cat flea tablets and most effective organic spray.
Capstar Flea Treatment Dog (Blue) — 6 tablets
Despite its name (which doesn’t mention cats), the manufacturer allows using Capstar Flea Tablets for eliminating cat fleas. Remember that these are not typical vitamins which imply a whole course of treatment, but are tablets which are to be used once a day for a few days. Don’t forget to read the manual carefully! The manufacturer claim that the product’s action begins within 6 hours of use, and consumers add that the effect of a single tablet lasts for about a day, i.e. till the next use.
Price: $24.90 Check the current price
It’s better to get rid of the fleas on the outside and inside at the same time. If you don’t want to use chemicals for eliminating these insects, you may be interested in an organic spray which is a #1 Best seller in the Dog Flea Sprays category. Don’t mind that it is placed into the dog spray category as it is universal.
Vet's Best Flea & Tick Pet & Home Spray
It only costs ~$13.49, but its effect is immense. This organic spray contains two active components: clove extract and peppermint oil.
The spray kills fleas and ticks when comes in contact with them: the users claim that fleas die within 10 seconds after being sprayed. This is both a benefit and a drawback as you’ll have to spray the entire cat in order to exterminate all of the fleas, and to be especially attentive to any skin folds, if the pet is large. This is best done in the bathroom. Vet’s Spray can be used on over 12 weeks old. It is not necessary to rinse it, if the cat is not allergic to it.
Let’s now move on to the disadvantages which cat owners distinguish despite giving the spray an overall high rating:
1. Some of the pets weren’t in fact feeling well after being sprayed
2. Some of the users don’t recommend using it on long-haired cats. Their experience of doing so wasn’t successful.
3. A drawback which is typical for all organic products which has been identified by the cat owners is that the effect is not long-lasting. However, if it only lasts for 24 hours, you’ll have time to apply other flea control products combined with the natural spray, and to clean and spray your entire house.
Here’s another useful tip: some of the pet owners use this spray with a fur brush. They pour the spraying liquid into a bowl, dip the brush and comb their cat thoroughly. This method is said to be more convenient, effective and safe as combing leaves less chances for getting the liquid in the eyes. Since the spray is organic, it can be easily used on bed sheets, carpets, cat’s mat, furniture and other surfaces. Perhaps, it is this spray that will become your best tool for eliminating your cat’s fleas (and fleas in your house in general). You may read all 2440 customers’ reviews in order to decide whether it is worth buying.
We hope your cat gets well soon! We ask you avoid self-treatment and visit a vet so that a specialist could examine your cat and prescribe treatment if the fleas bother your cat regularly and to a serious extent.
Once you save your beloved pet from fleas, begin sanitizing your whole house against fleas immediately (or better, while still treating your pet), as they could contaminate your favorite carpet or bed. Read the instructions on how to do this properly and which products to use in our review "Best way to get rid of fleas".