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How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats Fast. The Best Flea Medicines Shampoo, Pills, Sprays

If your cat has fleas, you can be sure that unfortunately they won’t disappear without a bit of work. The earlier you get rid of them, the better because if you let them spread, you can seriously infest the pet and, consequently, the whole house. Fleas are known for breeding fast and laying their eggs everywhere, and thus infesting the whole house. Today, we’ll describe to you all the ways to get rid of fleas approved by scientists and vets. You will find out whether it is possible to get rid of them naturally. Is it an effective method or just a waste of your time? We are going to compare the usefulness of all types of treatment known and at the end of the review, you’ll find a list of the 8 best flea control products. The cheapest ones are combs & shampoos, and the most expensive and effective are drops & pills. It’s our hope that we can help you get rid of your pests for good!

Table of Contents:

Why are cat fleas so dangerous? They reproduce on both dogs and cats and occasionally bite humans.

Cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) is the most common flea species in the U.S. They are dangerous not only for cats, as the Washington State University confirm that it is the most important flea in much of the U.S. as it can reproduce on both dogs and cats and occasionally bites humans in proximity to these pets. That is why you must rush for treatment in case you have many pets at home in order to avoid a flea epidemic and save you from being bitten.

7 STEPS to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats

  1. Check the animal thoroughly. Pay special attention to its behavior. If your pet twitches occasionally or licks certain body parts, there must be only few fleas so far. On the other hand, if it scratches convulsively and bites itself, looks irritated and doesn’t sleep much, there must be an entire colony of fleas breeding in its fur. These parasites cause great pain, especially to kittens, so don’t neglect the issue!
  2. Examine all animals living at your house. If they hang out together, they must all be infested as these parasites are very good at jumping. Their jump length can reach 13 inches exceeding its body size 200 times!
  3. Begin combing straight away even if you don’t have any medicine in the immediate proximity. You’d better carry out the procedure in a well-lit bathroom. Dip the comb in soap water or alcohol solution. Remember that combing will eliminate only 10-60% of the insects and will reduce their breeding but won’t be able to rid you fully of the infestation.
  4. Use one of the flea control products described below: drops, shampoos, sprays or pills.
  5. Vacuum clean the entire house thoroughly and pay special attention to the hall and rugs at the entrance. Clean your shoes as often the fleas are brought home from the outside on shoes.
  6. Treat your cat’s bedding and furniture with special anti-flea sprays.
  7. Don’t relax. The fleas’ activity peaks from spring to late fall. If your cat is allowed outside, use prevention methods. Put an anti-flea collar on every time your cat leaves the house or leave it on constantly for no longer than six days. Find more details about prevention below.

Flea Control for Cats: The Scientists’ Opinion on Various Flea Treatments’ Effectiveness and Comparison

Many methods were tried during decades of attempts of flea control. Most of them are obsolete and ineffective. The scientists will prompt us to choose treatment wisely. Let’s find out which methods are most effective and safe nowadays.

6 Best Ways to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats

As the Pennsylvania State University scientists confirmsystemic and spot-on options, such as oral products or topically applied drops can help achieve the best results. Shampoos, combs, dusts and collars follow up.

Capstar (nitenpyram) for Cats, Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Cats 2-25 lbs, Vet-Recommended Flea Medication Tablets Start Killing Fleas in 30 Minutes, 6 Doses

Spot-On Treatment (Drops)

Drops are safer and more effective than other topical methods and products. Drops are applied between shoulder blades so that your cat cannot accidentally lick the treatment off. Their effect lasts for up to one month, and then repeat use should follow. Imidacloprid-based (Advantage) and fipronil-based (Frontline) products are most common.

Our expert, a vet professor with 30 years of experience, also considers drops to be the best treatment. First, drops are more convenient than sprays. Cats are very fidgety, so when spraying a product, they can escape and then the substance will get into their eyes or on 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 yet adapted. As for us, we regularly drip these drops on the withers(between the shoulderblades) of our three animals: it is piece of cake and the pets have had no fleas for the last 5 years.

In this article, we’ll elaborate the effectiveness and tips on use of all the products. Below, you will find a review of products available right now online: TOP- 8 Best Flea Medicines for Cats: Drops, Shampoos, Pills, Collars and Sprays.

Systemic Treatment (Pills)

Systemic treatment implies intake of tablets, pills or suspensions. There are two types of systemic treatments distinguished by the speed of treatment:

  • Slow-acting insect growth regulators (IGRs) are the slowest but most effective systemic products. Such substances as methoprene (Precor), pyriproxyfen (Nylar), lufenuron (Program™) are IGRs. They break the fleas’ development cycle not by killing adults but by preventing the lain eggs from hatching. Such products will act within two weeks to two months. The University of Florida scientists emphasize that IGRs can be used by themselves if you are willing to wait for them to eliminate flea populations. They are sold as suspensions or tablets but certain injections, sprays and collars also contain them.
  • Nitenpyram-based fast-acting insecticide tablets are a fast-killing way to get rid of adult fleas. After a single use, adult fleas will be dead within six hours. Such products provide a perfect opportunity to relieve your cat quickly and use this time to comb and treat its fur topically. Any eggs and larvae left in the fur will continue growing into adult species, so you won’t be able to do this without topical treatment.

The following four methods are less effective and have substantial disadvantages and cause inconvenience:

  • Metal combs. Combing is most appropriate and a natural option for cats as they don’t like to be washed. However, combs will remove 10-60% of the fleas, depending on the frequency of combing and use of other methods. Combing on its own is useless. But in combination it can help in eliminating these pests.
  • Shampoos are historically a more customary method of treating animals, but since it has short-term effectiveness and most animals dislike being washed, it is only appropriate as an emergency or as a treatment for a stray animal until you buy a more powerful product.
  • Dusts are suitable only for very patient animals and their owners as they are supposed to be rubbed under fur. The main disadvantage is that the dust will remain in the air and can be consumed with food or accidentally inhaled or licked off by your animal.
  • Insecticidal flea collars usually contain the IGRs methoprene and pyriproxyfen and insecticides such as permethrin and tetrachlorvinphos. According to the information from the University of Florida scientists, the effectiveness of this method is limited as “flea collars (insecticidal or IGR) are short-term treatments, and should only be used for six days or less.” As there is no residual effect after taking off the collar, the fleas can relapse, so you’d better use it as a preventive method.

Wondercide - Flea, Tick & Mosquito Spray for Dogs, Cats, and Home - Control, Prevention, Treatment - with Natural Essential Oils - Pet and Family Safe - Peppermint 16 oz

Reminder: Permethrin is unsuitable for treating cats as it is too toxic for them! Read any insecticide manual thoroughly before use!

Is it Possible to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally or is it Just a Waste of Time?

Nope. The scientists are unanimous that natural methods are either useless or have an extremely short-term effect. At the same time, they admit that natural products can be used for getting rid of fleas at home. The Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has listed a number of useless methods of animal treatment, such as electronic flea collars, brewer’s yeast, garlic, vitamin B tablets, and extracts of eucalyptus or pennyroyal that are not flea repellent, and provide no protection for your pet. Don’t expect the blood-suckers to be scared off by herbal collars and cedar products which are a waste of time as well.

The University of California specialists consider both traditional pyrethrins, chlorpyrifos, diazinon and naled-based insecticides and biological d-limonene and carbaryl not very effective. “These products were formulated as soaps, shampoos, powders, dusts, spray-on liquids, and dips. Although many of these products still are available, they aren’t as effective to use as the on-animal treatments above.”

Michael Merchant, Ph.D., Urban Entomologist from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service says, “Effective treatments for treating your pet include citrus oils (limonene and linalool) and pyrethrins. Shampoos and herbal treatment may help but will not completely eliminate a bad flea infestation.”

 Botanical insecticides include pyrethrum (or pyrethrins) or citrus oil extracts (i.e., limonene and linalool). Once applied, these products break down in a relatively short time, leaving the pet with no residual protect. Remember Pyrethrins insecticide can be toxic to cats, make sure you consult your vet, and don’t use flea collars intended for dogs on your cat.

Diatomaceous Earth as a powder or shampoo is also often promoted as an anti-parasite treatment. In reality, you will be able to kill fleas with dry diatomaceous earth only indoors when it is as least damp as possible. Mixing diatomaceous earth with any amount of water or animal sebum deprives the earth of its killing properties.

Let us warn you again to refrain from following any random advice, such as using all kinds of essential oils as flea repellents. According to NCBI, tea tree 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.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Kittens

According to the information from William Miller Jr., VMD, a professor of dermatology at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, fleas possess a greater danger to kittens than to adult species. You should look much more carefully after them, especially if their breastfeeding mother is allowed outside. Kittens have a weak immunity and poorly developed cardiovascular system, so anemia is possible. Moreover, the parasites are attracted by “pregnancy” hormones and can even wait for a cat to give birth. Very often, they attack blind newly born kittens causing them to die.

Advantage II Kitten Vet-Recommended Flea Treatment & Prevention | Cats 2-5 lbs. | 2-Month Supply

To get fleas off kittens, use anti-flea products. As a rule, their active ingredients are the same as those of adult treatments; it is the dosage that varies. Always read the manual as the age of a kitten that can be treated with this product will be specified there. The recommended age for beginning the treatment is about 8 weeks (and the weight should be at least 1 lb).

How Flea Control Products for Cats Work: Effectiveness Comparison

TypeIngredientsActionFunction and Restrictions
 Spot-on treatment – drops Permethrin, imidacloprid, fipronil, dinotefuran. Act on the parasites’ CNS and kills within 12-18 hours on contact This is the most effective and safe topical treatment.
 Systemic treatment -oral products  Nitenpyram (tablets). Fast-acting: killing effect within 6 hours A quick and effective oral treatment. A single Capstar (nitenpyram) tablet is enough for killing adults.
 IGRs (pyriproxyfen, methoprene, lufenuron) : suspension, pills.Slow-acting: doesn’t kill adults but prevents egg and larvae from developing into biting adults.Can be used separately or combined with other treatments.
CollarsImidacloprid, flumethrin.Kills and repels pests.According to the scientists, cannot be used for over six days. No residual effect.
 Combs Metal. Manual elimination of adult fleas, eggs and feces (up to 60% of pests).A supplementary measure. Comb your pet as often as possible until there are no traces of parasite presence.
ShampoosPyrethrins. Act on the parasites’ CNS and kills on contact.A supplementary measure for small-scale infestation. Relatively no residual action. Repeat once in a few days. Use as directed.
Topical spraysFipronil.KIlls on contact.Don’t simply spray but rub the substance in your pet’s skin.
 Dusts Pyrethrins.Kill on contact. Be patient: apply the dust regularly and rub it in your pet’s skin. Restriction: your cat can accidentally inhale or lick the dust off their skin. Use only as directed.
DE.Kill on contact.Use for treating fleas in the house only. It won’t kill any fleas on your pet or outdoors because of dampness.
Organic sprays for homeClove extract (eugenol), peppermint, d-limonene, carbaryl.Kills on contact.Use for house treatment, frequent repeat application is required. Watch out for sensitivity in your cat.
Natural productsBrewer’s yeast, garlic, vitamin B, eucalyptus, pennyroyal oil.Not as effective as flea control products.The scientists claim that they are useless.

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats and Kittens with 6 Best Flea Medicines for Cats: Drops, Pills, IGRs, Sprays & a Shampoo

As you would understand, it is recommended to get rid of these parasites simultaneously topically and systemically. That is why we will first describe the best drops for spot-on treatment and two systemic treatment products. The first of the systemic treatment products will be fast-killing tablets, and the second is IGR tablets which act slowly but will eventually destroy the entire population of fleas.

Best Spot-on Flea Control Treatment for Cats – Bayer Advantage II

This is a #1 Best Seller in the Cat Flea Drops category for large cats (5-9 pounds and higher). It has high customer ratings testify to its effectiveness. Imidacloprid is the active component here (9%). These drops also contain IGR – pyriproxifen that breaks the flea life cycle.

Advantage II Small Cat Vet-Recommended Flea Treatment & Prevention | Cats 5-9 lbs. | 4-Month Supply

According to the NCBI studies, imidacloprid provided a significantly greater killing effect 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 allergy dermatitis.

The manufacturer claims that these drops kill all flea life stages within 12 hours after application. The drops’ protective effect lasts for 4 weeks even if you bathe your pets. Put the drops on the withers, which is the least accessible place for animals where they can’t lick off the drops. They are applied monthly, hence the packs of 4-6 vials.

The drops are very convenient. All you have to do is drip them on the withers. It is fast, simple and effective.

Price:  Check current price

Flea Pills for Cats — Capstar – Fast-Killing Way

Capstar (nitenpyram) for Dogs, Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs over 25+ lbs, Vet-Recommended Flea Medication Tablets Start Killing Fleas in 30 Minutes, 6 Doses

The active ingredient of this fast-acting product is nitenpyram. It is an insecticide widely used in vet practice for removing parasites off animals. Capstar promises to kill all the biting adults within six hours. Consumers add that the effect of a single tablet lasts for about a day, till the next use. This measure is effective but temporary as it will not save your pet from new fleas, but will relieve its suffering considerably. Be sure to keep these tablets in your first-aid kit at home, especially in high flea season.

Remember that these are not typical vitamins which require a whole course of treatment, but tablets which are to be used once a day for a few days. Don’t forget to read the manual carefully!

Price:  Check current price

Program Oral Suspension (IGR) – Slow-Acting Way

This suspension is based on an IGR called lufenuron and is aimed at breaking the cycle of biting species hatching from the eggs. The program is extremely effective, but, as any other IGR, acts slowly but steadily. That is why it is preferable not to use this product separately, but to combine it with a topical treatment. Watch the dosage, as the manufacturer offers a variety of options for cats of different weight.

Capstar (nitenpyram) for Cats, Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Cats 2-25 lbs, Vet-Recommended Flea Medication Tablets Start Killing Fleas in 30 Minutes, 6 Doses

The pack contains six liquid ampoules, each is sufficient for a month. Use it both as a prevention method and during active parasite removal. Since the substance is liquid, it is more convenient to feed the cat with it than with tablets. Squeeze it down your pet’s throat or mix with food. The users recommend mixing it not only with cat food, but also with tuna: cats will eat it all.

Price: Program for cats 11-20 lbs:  Check current price

Price: Program for small cats & kittens 1-10 Lbs:  Check current price

Although the above mentioned products will be sufficient to get rid of fleas on cats, we feel obliged to review other products as well. Below, you will found out which shampoo is best-suited for emergency and preventive treatment and which natural spray is appropriate for treating your house from these jumping parasites.

Flea Spray for Cats – Frontline – The Most Economic Product

Have you noticed that many anti-flea products are universal, i.e. they suit both cats and dogs? This is the case of Frontline Spray. It’s a spot-on treatment product. The active component here is fipronil, a well-known insecticide used for exterminating various insects, including fleas and ticks. Its concentration in the spray is only 0.29%, which makes it less concentrated but more economical than drops. The manufacturer claims that a single use will help the pet get rid of fleas for up to 30 days.

Vet's Best [Flea] and Tick Treatment Home Spray, lant-Based Formula for [Cat]s, 32 Ounces

The product is safe for 8 week old cats and dogs. All you have to do is apply it on the pet’s skin and rub it in (remember to wear gloves), as simple spraying will not be sufficient. Unfortunately, some of the customers didn’t like it and thus regret choosing this spray over drops. The rest of the consumers are happy with the effect of this spray and they continue using it.

Price:  Check current price

Flea Shampoo for Cats – Adams Plus – For Preliminary Treatment or Prevention

Have you ever picked up a stray pet and felt an urgent need to treat it or are you looking for a cheap prevention measure? Use this shampoo, as it kills fleas fast and can be used to treat the whole fur of your pet. Although its effect is short term, you will soon see that your cat feels much better. Adams Plus shampoo is a #1 Best Seller in the Cat Flea Control Shampoos category.

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Cats, Kittens, Dogs & Puppies Over 12 Weeks Of Age Sensitive Skin Flea Treatment | Kills Adult Fleas, Flea Eggs, Ticks, and Lice| 12 Ounces

It contains such active ingredients as piperonylbutoxide, methoprene, and pyrethrin. Methoprene is an insect growth regulator, which stops eggs from hatching. Pyrethrin (don’t confuse it with synthetical permethrene) is a well-known organic insecticide. Unlike toxic permethrene, it is harmless for cats. Piperonylbutoxide enhances pyrethrin’s action. This might 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 pet’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 victims of the shampoo is then desirable.

Price: Check current price

Organic Cat Flea Treatment for Indoor & Outdoor Use: Natural Killer Spray

When treating your pets, don’t forget to remove parasites from your house as well. Fleas jump very well and can throw their eggs a great distance, so it is highly likely that they have already bred all over the place.

Ideally, you should treat your house and pet simultaneously. You’d better use organic products approved by scientists for the former purpose. Make sure you vacuum clean all carpets, floors, pet beddings and furniture, and spray it with a special substance in advance.

Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Home Spray

Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray - Dog Flea and Tick Treatment for Home - Plant-Based Formula - Certified Natural Oils,Green - 32 oz

Its effect is immense. The main active component of this organic spray is clove extract (eugenol) and peppermint oil. It is a fast-acting insecticide, killing most parasites on contact. The manufacturer labels this organic product as a “pet and home spray”, but together with the scientists, we recommend it for home use only because skin absorbs eugenol very well and it can cause eye or skin irritation. That is why use it should be used for house treatment only. Use it indoors or outdoors on home surfaces such as pet bedding, pillows, blankets, upholstery, carpets and in your yard.

Vet’s does not have any residual action and will only kill parasites on contact, so you will have to conduct repeat use frequently. The users note that the spray smells nice and does not leave any marks on surfaces. Don’t overdo the treatment though, as light spraying will be enough.

Price:  Check current price

Read more about getting rid of fleas in the house in our review “Best way to get rid of fleas”.

First Aid: a Cat Flea Comb & a Collar

A flea collar and a comb are your first-aid kit must-haves. Keep them ready at any time, especially if your pet is allowed outdoors. If it catches fleas, these two items will help reduce the flea population while you prepare for some more serious treatment.

Remember that you should take the collar off after six days of non-stop wearing and seal it in a jar until the next incident. You will also have to comb your pet multiple times.

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cat

Nowadays, Bayer Seresto Collar is the best-selling Cat Flea Collar. It kills and repels parasites on contact. This product will work for 8 months from the first use. The active ingredients are flumethrin and imidacloprid. The collar is light and is comfortably worn around the neck so that the pet can gradually get used to wearing it. Bear in mind though that if you have 2 or more animals, you should be careful when using collars and wear them only outside as the cats can accidentally bite off pieces of collar and get poisoned.

Seresto Cat Vet-Recommended Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar for Cats, 8 Months Protection | (Pack of 2)

The collar’s moderate price and effectiveness have earned high customer ratings. However, cat owners give some valuable advice telling you to be careful when first using any flea product. Naturally, should any signs of allergy, drowsiness or excessive anxiety appear, you’ll have to take the collar off.

Price: Check current price

When picking a comb, opt for a metal one. Its teeth will be able to comb all eggs and larvae that have stuck to hair better than plastic. We recommend that you pick the best brush available, especially since they don’t cost much. A Safari Flea Comb with a Double Row of Teeth is a #1 Best Seller in the Cat Flea Combs category. It costs only Check current price .

Coastal Pet - Safari - Cat Flea Combs - Grooming Supplies

FYI: Wearing a collar and combing is merely first-aid and not complete removal of blood-suckers. If you would like to completely relieve your pet from all suffering, use highly effective spot-on and systemic products.

Best Flea Control for Cats: Comparative Chart

ProductTypeActive IngredientsBest usePrice
Bayer Advantage II
Advantage II Small Cat Vet-Recommended Flea Treatment & Prevention | Cats 5-9 lbs. | 4-Month Supply
Spot-on Drops.Imidacloprid, pyriproxifen (IGR).Drop on the withers. The effect will last for up to a month.Check Price
Capstar Flea Pills
Capstar Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Dogs
Fast-Acting Pills.Nitenpyram.Fast Killing, feed the cat one pill a day.Check Price
Program Oral Suspension
Capstar (nitenpyram) for Cats, Fast-Acting Oral Flea Treatment for Cats 2-25 lbs, Vet-Recommended Flea Medication Tablets Start Killing Fleas in 30 Minutes, 6 Doses
Systemic  – Slow-Acting Suspension.Lufenuron (IGR).Use as a preventive or treating food supplement once a month.
Check Price
Frontline Treatment Spray
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray - Dog Flea and Tick Treatment for Home - Plant-Based Formula - Certified Natural Oils,Green - 32 oz
Chemical Spray.Fipronil.Spray over the withers and rub in. The effect will last for up to 30 days.Check Price
Adams Plus
Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor for Cats, Kittens, Dogs & Puppies Over 12 Weeks Of Age Sensitive Skin Flea Treatment | Kills Adult Fleas, Flea Eggs, Ticks, and Lice| 12 Ounces
Chemical Shampoo.Methoprene,  pyrethrin.Apply a small amount of shampoo on your pet’s body, foam and leave for five minutes. Use when needed.Check Price
Vet’s Best Home Spray
Vet's Best Flea and Tick Home Spray - Dog Flea and Tick Treatment for Home - Plant-Based Formula - Certified Natural Oils,Green - 32 oz
Organic Spray for Indoors and Outdoors.Clove extract (eugenol), peppermint oil.Spray indoor and outdoor surfaces, furniture, carpets, floors and your cat’s bedding.Check Price
Bayer Seresto Collar
Seresto Cat Vet-Recommended Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar for Cats, 8 Months Protection | (Pack of 2)
Collar.Imidacloprid, flumethrin.Wear outdoors only, non-stop wearing is recommended for no longer than six days.Check Price
Safari Comb
Seresto Cat Vet-Recommended Flea & Tick Treatment & Prevention Collar for Cats, 8 Months Protection | (Pack of 2)
Metal Comb.First aid: comb the fur from roots to end, repeat regularly during treatment until full flea removal.Check Price

5 FAQ about Fleas on Cats

How Do Cats Get Fleas?

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 pet loves hanging out 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. 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 pet is running around or laying about outside (unless you walk it on a leash), make sure you buy a high-quality flea collar. Such collars contain powerful yet mild pet chemicals which repel fleas and ticks for a few months. If you pick a really good one, constantly wearing it won’t cause any skin allergies.

Flea Treatment for Cats - Flea and Tick Prevention for Cats Chewables - Natural Flea and Tick Supplement for Cats - Oral Flea Pills for Cats - All Breeds and Ages - Made in USA

FYI: The experts from the Department of Entomology in Penn State warn that fleas may be present, though unnoticed, all year around in the house but frequently become troublesome following return from a vacation. Fleas inside an empty house soon become extremely hungry. When the vacationers return, they are greeted by these neglected fleas that now make their presence known by biting avidly. Flea bites on humans are generally most prevalent on the ankles and lower portion of the legs.

What Are the First Signs of Flea Infestation?

As we have already explained 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 help. Other hints of infestation are:

  • White eggs looking like salt or rice grains and larvae.
  • Black dots which are fleas’ feces, 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.

How are Cat Fleas Dangerous for Other Animals and Humans?

As we have mentioned, fleas are not faithful to one host. They can breed on dogs as well. Not only do they cause your pets to suffer from an unbearable itch, make them nervous, sad and deprive them of sleep, they can also carry diseases. As the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine specialists claim, ”these tiny, wingless creatures often carry infectious agents themselves – such as dog and cat tapeworm.”

Are they dangerous for humans? They are. Fleas often inhabit carpets and can bite your ankles or shins (they cannot reach any higher). If you ignore single bites, they will breed and intensify their biting activity. The specialists explain that in this case, people risk having a “cat-scratch disease”.

How to Get Rid Of Cat Fleas in the House with 5 Mandatory Steps

Besides using special control products and methods, you should start exterminating fleas at home once you see the slightest signs of infestation, especially in the places your cat loves the most: its own spot, sofas, soft chairs, carpets and even your car if you drive your pet anywhere. Everything should be clean, washed and processed with special products (refer to our Review of the Best Flea Control Products for more details).

We recommend following these steps when cleaning:

  1. Detect the most contaminated areas and concentrate on them. Any places loved by your cat, such as its own spot, sofas, soft chairs, carpets and even your car, carry potential risk.
  2. Wash any rugs and your pet’s bedding.
  3. Vacuum clean any soft furniture. Fleas can be found under pillows, in cracks and crevices.
  4. Vacuum clean your carpets and floors, especially in spots difficult to reach. Treat the carpets with an anti-flea spray.
  5. Let your carpet dry and repeat vacuum cleaning. Follow these steps every day for a fortnight to remove any parasites that have recently hatched and become adults.
Clean your carpets and floors: photo

Remember that the vacuum cleaner will remove most of the adults, some eggs (30-60%) and just a few larvae (15-30%). The latter clutch on the carpet pile too tightly and can remain there even after cleaning. Steam cleaners are usually more effective.

How to Prevent Infestation?

High flea season lasts from spring to late fall. Pay special attention to preventive measures at this time:

  1. Put a collar on your cat every time it leaves the house or let it wear it constantly for no longer than six days. A few days’ break should follow.
  2. Check the fur regularly after walks. Watch your pet’s mood. If it has suddenly become nervous or begun itching, infestation may have occurred.
  3. If you cat has just given birth, check the kittens often. Bloodsuckers will rush for “fresh blood”.
  4. Minimize the contacts of your pets with stray animals that can carry fleas. Protect your house and backyard from them. If necessary, use electronic repellers, special fences, traps and other products. Get rid of rats at home; seal all the entrances to your house so that other wild rodents cannot enter.
  5. Always have two first-aid items at hand: a collar and a comb. Keep a collar even if it seems like the flea season is over. Fleas, for instance, can survive outside in warm fall or winter weather and be on the watch for your pet’s sake.
  6. Clean your house regularly, especially after a vacation. Remember that we often bring fleas inside with our street shoes left on the rug by the door.

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13 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Fleas on Cats Fast. The Best Flea Medicines Shampoo, Pills, Sprays”

  1. I like your article very much. It is well researched. Unfortunately, most of the products are just not suitable, if you have more than one cat and even more though if they go outside. You can’t use collars (strangulation, other cat bites into it) and no sprays and no drops, because i.e. my to cats (brothers) are constantly grooming each other.

    Under these circumstances, your best choice is “capstar” combined with “program” (IGR-Tablet).

  2. Please advice how to get rid of fleas on cats ASAP? As far as I understood, a collar is not the best choice. My cat spends a lot of time outside, and I am afraid it will transfer some fleas to my dog as well.

    1. You are correct; the scientists believe that the collar can only serve as a supplementary measure of flea control for cats. Use Nitenpyram-based tablets for fast killing. They will remove all of the adult fleas within six hours. However, eggs and larvae will continue growing into adults, so in the meantime invest into some more serious topical treatments. Drops are the simplest option: apply them between the shoulder blades to kill fleas of any age.

  3. Why is permethrin not recommended for use? My friends recommended me to use permethrin-based drops for cats and dogs as flea treatment for cats, but the article says it is dangerous. Where is the truth?

    1. Permethrin is indeed very dangerous for cats. Doctors claim that even if a cat has not been treated with it, it still might get intoxicated. Poisoning can occur even if a cat comes in close contact with a dog that has been topically treated with highly concentrated permethrin, so make sure you find out what the ingredients of the so-called universal drops are. Personally I have been using Advantage flea treatment for cats for many years; my pets react well to them.

  4. I’d like to know how to get rid of fleas on kittens. Are there any drops designated for use on kittens?

    1. No drops are suited for newly born pets. All of them can only be used on those who are at least eight weeks old. If your kitten is under eight weeks old and has few fleas, check its fur and comb the parasites regularly. If things are bad, use Capstar Tablets as an emergency treatment that can be used on animals over four weeks old. You can also opt for a gentle flea shampoo for cats, but read the manual in advance. Best of luck!

      1. Thanks for the Capstar advice. But how to get rid of fleas on kittens if my cat gets infested with fleas outside regularly? I’m sick and tired of combing them, and the pets have become much stressed.

        1. Fleas can easily jump from adult pets to kittens and can even cause their death! So first and foremost you should cure your cat and feed Capstar to the kitties. Next will be the house treatment. Even if you ban your cat from going outside, the focus of the infection (i.e. the carpet) will still remain at home. The parasites will re-breed and keep on biting their victims.

  5. How to get rid of fleas on cats if they love swimming? I have two cats and both caught fleas on the street. I considered using drops but I’m afraid they will wash off. Weird enough, these scallywags love water.

    1. Haha, not so typical of cats. Most modern drops are water-resistant, i.e. they maintain their effectiveness even if you bathe your cat or if it gets wet on its own while outside. You can also try using a flea shampoo for cats. This method has a short-term effectiveness, but its storage period is prolonged. Personally, I always keep it in my first-aid kit, just in case.

      1. I also considered buying a shampoo and wondered what the expiration date of such products is. The official web site of Adams Plus provides some authorized information regarding flea control for cats. It specifies that there is no particular expiration period and that the treatments shall remain effective long enough if stored properly. The manufacturer adds that “For best results, we recommend using any flea and tick product within 2-3 years of purchase”. Hope you find this information useful.

  6. I never thought that I would find fleas from my kitty! It’s not fair, we just took her out twice when we came to her mother, and she immediately picked up fleas. The collar was not used, as we rarely show it outside so I want to ask advice, what are the best flea drops for cats you can advise? One more question, is it safe? I would not like to have my cat then bald)

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