Looking For The Best Flea Medicine For Cats?
Here’s a look at our favorites, including our top pick – Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Kittens.
If you have an outdoor cat, chances are at some point in their lifetime they’ll probably have a run-in with fleas. Accidental ingestion of a flea with tapeworm can cause major digestive issues, and cats with sensitive skin will probably suffer from discomfort or inflammation.
Bites from fleas can lead to the flea allergy dermatitis, but fatalities from this condition are rare. Of course, you also don’t want those little hitchhikers to find their way around the house and lay eggs in your carpet, couches, and beds. Fortunately, there are a number of flea medicines that can quickly solve the problem and prevent future infestations.
What to look for in flea medicine for cats
As you’re looking around for a good flea medicine for cats, there are a few important things you’ll need to keep in mind. To boil it down, you’ll want to find a solution that is effective but non-toxic. Common sense would say that’s a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many flea medicines and treatments contain ingredients that are harmful to cats.
In fact, many flea medicines for dogs contain ingredients that are toxic to cats, so you should never give a dog’s medication to your cat unless the product explicitly says it’s okay.
To help you in your search for the best solution, here are a few tips on what to look for, and what to watch out for:
- Monthly treatments – flea medicine that is applied in concentrated monthly doses has been proven to the most effective remedy to fleas.
- Natural treatments – natural medicines and treatments are fine but be careful of products and essential oils that can be toxic to cats.
- Flea collars – flea collars (especially the cheap brands) can contain chemicals that are harmful to cats. It’s generally a good idea to stay away from these, opting instead for topical treatments or oral tablets. Flea collars have been known to cause hair loss, inflammation, brain damage, and even death. They can also pose a strangulation risk.
- Flea powder – powders can contain ingredients that are acceptable on your cat’s skin but are harmful if ingested. Most powders warn you against letting your cat ingest it, but considering how often cats groom themselves, that’s extremely difficult to protect against.
- Essential oils – Be especially wary with essential oils such as tea tree, cedar, peppermint, and lavender. A cat’s liver can’t break these oils down. That can lead to a buildup of toxins, and in some cases kidney or liver failure.
- Watch the weight – most flea medicine offers specific dosages based on your pet’s weight. Giving your cat too much medication can result in an increased toxicity level that leaves them sick or worse.
- Raw garlic – this natural ingredient is safe in small doses, but it can be toxic if used too much. Pay special attention to any allergic reaction.
- Permethrin – this insecticide is common in flea medicine for dogs, but it’s highly toxic to cats. If you’re simultaneously treating your dog for fleas with a medicine that contains permethrin, try to keep the dog and cat separated to avoid unintended contact.
- Organophosphates – can be harmful to cats.
- D-limonene – this is a natural flea product that is poisonous if swallowed.
Frontline Plus Flea is perhaps the most widely recognized brand for flea treatments in the industry. They’ve developed their reputation by manufacturing quality products that are effective and affordable, and they’re a name that you can trust.
Unlike other medications that only kill adult fleas, Frontline kills fleas at all stages of the flea life cycle: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adult. It’s fast-acting and long-lasting, with each dose protecting your cat against fleas for 30 days. It’s intended for cats that are 8 weeks and older. The pack comes with a three-month supply, and the treatments are waterproof.
Cheristin for Cats Flea Treatment is quick and effective, proven to kill 100% of fleas in just 12 hours. Like the other topical treatments, it continues working for a full month after the initial application. It’s easy to use and includes a gentle applicator tip that makes it easy to apply.
PetArmor Flea and Tick Squeeze is designed to offer the quality ingredients that make Frontline so reputable, but at a more affordable price. The PetArmor Squeeze-on medication contains fipronil, the number one veterinary-recommended ingredient for killing fleas, ticks, and lice. Each application should provide coverage for up to 30 days.
This particular dosage is intended for cats and kittens who weigh more than 1.5 pounds, and who are over 8 weeks old. It comes with a three-month supply, and the topical treatment is waterproof.
If you prefer oral tablets over a topical treatment, the affordable PetArmor brand offers FastCaps that you can use instead of their Squeeze-on treatment. The FastCaps contain Nitenpyram, the same veterinarian-recommended active ingredient in Novartis Capstar medication.
The medication should start working within 30 minutes and is highly effective at eradicating adult fleas. The dosage is intended for cats and dogs who weigh more than two pounds and are at least four weeks old.
Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets are another strong brand that is universally recognized for quality and comes highly rated by many customers. Unlike the first two topical treatments, this one is an oral tablet. The dosage is intended for dogs and cats that are under 25 pounds, and it should kill a cat’s fleas within 6 hours. While this product does an excellent job of killing adult fleas, it may not kill 100% of flea eggs, larvae, and pupae.
The biggest deciding factor for which medication you should go with will be whether you want a topical treatment or oral tablets. Oral tablets are effective at killing adult fleas, but topical treatments are superior at killing all four stages of fleas. Topical treatments are also longer-lasting, usually guaranteeing 30 days of protection against fleas.