Vet-Recommended Flea Treatments for Cats (2019 Review)
Cats easily get irritated by external parasites like fleas, and this may result in skin allergies and a lot of scratching (due to the irritation).
While getting the flea treatment for cats is the best solution, there are certain things you should get acquainted with before deciding what works for you cat.
There are different external parasites that affect cats, and fleas are the most common parasites, especially in North America.
These parasites spread quickly, and if not stopped early enough, they can spread to other pets and even humans. Common infections caused by fleas include cat scratch fever, plague and anemia.
There are several types of flea treatments for cats i.e., the natural flea treatments for cats, and topical and oral treatments for cats.
Most cat owners prefer over-the counter topical and oral flea treatment that are specially formulated and tested to remove and kill the dangerous fleas.
Best Flea Treatment for Cats Comparison Chart
Flea Treatment Brand
Where to Buy
Bayer Advantage II
Frontline Plus Flea and Pick Control
Cheristin for Cats Flea Treatment
Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets
Catego Flea and Tick Control
Best Flea Treatment for Cats Reviews-Top Picks
1. Bayer Advantage II Flea Prevention for Cats
Bayer Advantage II is the best treatment for fleas’ infestation since it kills fleas in all three of its highly vulnerable stages namely egg, larva, and adult.
The first active ingredient (Imidacloprid) in this product attacks the adult flea’s nervous system paralyzing and ultimately killing it normally within 12 hours of application.
Also, it is effective in killing fleas that re-infest your feline’s skin within two hours. Insect growth regulator (Pyriproxyfen) is the second active ingredient that kills fleas’ eggs and larvae that contribute about 95% of flea infestation.
The fleas do not need to bite your feline for the active ingredient to eliminate them, as they are killed on contact. Hence, very effective topical treatment for cats that are sensitive to insect bites.
Most customers recommend the product as it is highly effective and worth the price.
- Eliminates on contact
- Contain active ingredients that kill fleas at its highly vulnerable stages.
- Easy to apply
- Waterproof formulation
- One monthly topical application to achieve best results
2. Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Kittens
Frontline Plus Flea is the most popular flea control among cat parents due to its effectiveness. Fipronil, its active ingredient works by causing hyper-excitation in the nerves of the flea leading to seizures.
Due to intense muscle contractions of the flea muscles as well as firing of the neurons, the body fails to support its neurologic functions ultimately leading to death. In addition, the product contains S-methoprene effective in killing fleas across its lifecycle.
What makes Frontline plus an excellent choice is its effectiveness in killing not only fleas but ticks and lice as well. The treatment works fast, is waterproof, has simple three step application process and lasts up to 30 days.
The six dose supply provides relief for up to six months and the treatment is purposely used among cats and kittens aged atleast eight weeks.
- Contains Fipronil and S-methoprene
- Kills fleas across its lifecycle.
- Easy to apply and acts fast.
- Applied once a month
- Effective in killing ticks and lice too.
3. Cheristin for Cats Flea Treatment, 6 count.
Cheristin is the most efficient treatment as it is specifically manufactured for cats. Its powerful and unique ingredient Spinetoram exhibits the mechanisms of action of both Fipronil and Imidacloprid.
The active ingredient works on the nicotinic and GABA receptors of the flea’s nervous system-+ leading to paralysis and massive seizures in the flea’s body and ultimately death.
The topical flea control is designed to kill 98-100% of fleas in 12 hours, its onset of action is just 30 minutes and continues killing fleas for up to a month upon application.
In addition to its fast action, Cheristin is very simple to apply and does not emit an offensive odor.
The treatment has low cross-reactivity with other chemicals hence it can be used alongside other insecticides. It is effective for use in cats and kittens of over eight weeks old.
However, some customers have reported some side effects such as hair loss on the applied site, vomiting, and inflammation. Thus, monitor your cat after application and in case of any side effects consult your veterinarian immediately.
- Contains powerful, unique ingredient Spinetoram.
- Effective, fast action and month-long protection.
- Combines the efficiency of Fipronil and Imidacloprid in killing fleas.
- Does not emit an offensive odor.
- Very simple to apply.
4. Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats
With topical flea treatments, it is hard to determine if your pet’s skin has absorbed the full dose of the treatment and this is where the tablet flea treatment comes in.
Capstar is the best tablet flea treatment whose active ingredient is the Nitenpyram. The ingredient works very fast killing fleas in cats within six hours while those in dogs die in four hours’ time. Usually, the onset of action is 30 minutes, and its effect lasts for 48 hours upon which most adult fleas would have died.
The flea treatment can only be used in cats under 25 lbs, packed as a single box of six tablets and administered as a single dose. Since the drug kills specifically adult fleas, it is essential to complement with other flea treatments to realize the long-term flea control management.
Based on most customers’ reviews, the drug is effective and mostly goes hand in hand with a flea shampoo and flea comb. Also, ensure you clean your surroundings thoroughly to prevent re-infestation and kill its eggs and larvae which Capstar cannot.
- Easy to administer.
- Rapid action in under 30 minutes.
- It contains active ingredient: Nitenpyram.
- It is effective for use in both cats and dogs.
- Effective in killing adult fleas.
5. Catego Flea and Tick Control for Cats +1.5 lbs 3-pack or 6-pack
Catego is one of the best flea treatments in cats due to its unique chemical profile that resembles that of Frontline Plus and Advantage II.
Catego contains three proven ingredients namely Fipronil, Dinotefuran, and Pyriproxyfen. Fipronil works by creating hyperexcitability in the nervous system of the fleas ultimately leading to death.
Dinotefuran inhibits the nicotinic receptors in the nervous system of the fleas leading to death.
Pyriproxyfen ingredient is an insect development inhibitor that interferes with the reproduction of fleas by altering the growth and development of eggs and larva.
Unlike other treatment products including Frontline Plus that eliminates fleas in 12 hours, Catego kills fleas within six hours of administration. It is a long lasting medicine that kills fleas across its life stages and also ticks and chewing lice in a month.
Catego contains a patented applicator that makes application of the treatment easy and reduces the chances of acquiring skin abrasion. The treatment dries fast, is non-greasy and comes in small volumes ensuring that there is no wastage.
Catego is available in 3- dose and 6-dose packs. The treatment is specially manufactured for cats aged eight weeks and older, weighing over 1.5 pounds.
- The treatment contains a unique chemical formulation of Fipronil, Imidacloprid, and Dinotefuran.
- Specific for cats only.
- Catego kills fleas across its lifecycle, ticks and chewing lice.
- Efficient, fast action compared to Frontline Plus and Advantage II.
- Easy to administer.
- Available in multiple doses.
- Month-Long protection.
Best Flea Treatment for Cats Buyer's Guide
Flea Infestation Signs
Just like babies, cats are very playful creatures but quite calm when not engaged in any active activity.
So how do you notice that your furry has a flea infestation? Apart from spotting some fleas on her skin or surroundings, here are some of the red flags:
a) Never ending biting or scratching
If you notice your cat scratching herself always, the chances are, she has a flea infestation. The same habit is also true with dogs.
b) Food denial
Food denial is the initial sign you will probably notice when the fleas infest your feline. She will not feel well enough to take food down her throat.
Cats are very playful pets and would hardly stay calm. Thus, when you notice that your pet does not want to play or even interact, probably she is suffering from flea plague.
d) Excess grooming (evidence of bleeding or getting sores)
Cats do love grooming themselves mostly using their tongue. However, when you notice her chewing or biting herself continuously, then probably she is dealing with fleas’ infestation.
Excess grooming could bring forth sores that require immediate medical attention lest it acquires an infection. Therefore, be on the lookout.
e) Too moody
You might want to check for the presence of fleas if you notice your cat is so irritable and does not like getting bothered. Such cats will even bite you when you try to pick them or engage them in play.
How to Apply Flea Treatment in Cats (Video)
There are several treatments of fleas in cats in the market such that choosing one can be an uphill task.
However, take into consideration the needs of your feline and age as well, and you will never go wrong. Here are the various treatment types:
Topical treatments are the most popular treatment since it is not only easy to administer on your feline but also effective in killing other pests apart from fleas.
Always apply the liquid at the base of the feline’s neck to prevent it from licking the treatment. It is recommended to use one tube of the treatment per cat. Most importantly, topical treatments are packed according to the weight of the cat.
Therefore, choose the treatment that suits your feline’s size. As for kittens, make sure your kitten has attained recommended age before administering the medication to her.
Cat Flea Shampoo
I must confess that I am very hesitant in bathing my furry feline and I am sure most of the cat parents are. However, bathing your feline comes in handy along with a preventative method after a bath, when getting rid of the fleas.
There are different types of cat flea shampoos that you can choose from. Be on the lookout for the right age recommended for each shampoo and remember shampoos are not advisable for use on very young kittens.
Cat Flea Collars
Cat flea collars are effective flea treatment, easy to use, non-messy and a perfect supplement to flea shampoos.
Collars work by emitting a constant scent that is noxious to pests alone, and your pet can wear alongside regular cat collar.
If you get the top brand, it provides treatment for up to eight months upon which its effectiveness decreases. When purchasing, remember to look out for the correct size for your furry and should be specifically designed for use by the cat or the kitten
Cat Flea Spray and powders
While sprays and powders are not considered as flea treatments, nonetheless they are important in the holistic management of flea infestation.
Powders and sprays are applied on surfaces including rugs, beddings, floor cracks, furniture, etc. to kill any hiding fleas in their different stages of lifecycles. Also, you can spray on your feline’s fur to protect her especially when outside.
Oral drops flea medications are similar to topical formulations. The only difference is the technique used in the administration of the drug.
Topical applications entail application on your feline’s skin while for oral drops, you drop into her mouth. Despite being effective, some cats are not comfortable taking drugs orally.
Tablet formulations are the most recent innovation in pest management specifically designed to kill adult fleas.
Flea medications in tablet form contain a highly concentrated active drug that kills mature fleas in seconds. Since it is effective on adult fleas only, complement the tablet with other medications that target eggs, larvae and pupae.
What to do Before Buying Flea Treatment Medication for Cats
a) Always consult your vet
Some would argue that why spend some dollars seeking advice from your vet on flea remedy while the internet has lots of information?
While the internet is a good source of information, as a responsible cat parent you would need to seek advice from your vet always. Why do I say that? Just like human beings, every cat is individualistic and what works on another cat may not work for yours.
Therefore, always have a qualified vet practitioner to evaluate the cat’s physiology and health profile so as to make an informed decision on the best flea medication for your feline.
b) Purchase from reputable sellers
Do not just go buying your pet’s medications from any seller on the market. The internet has turned the world into a small village, however, be vigilant when purchasing products online.
Ensure that you order your product from the official website of the manufacturer. Alternatively, if your veterinarian has own pet supply outlet, it would be safer to purchase pet’s medications from his/her clinic.
c) Do not go cheap
Remember they say cheap is expensive. Although some of the most affordable products do exhibit the same ingredients as those perceived as expensive brands, you might never be quite certain.
While it is also not bad to go for cheaper brands, do not go to the extent of compromising the quality of the product in dealing with the flea infestation.
d) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions keenly.
Reading and understanding the instructions given on the flea medication product is paramount before administering any drug. The life of your feline furry is at stake here, and you wouldn’t want to risk losing her due to mere ignorance.
Also, when you do not follow instructions given, you might endanger your life and that of your family as well. Therefore, always follow directions of use to the latter.
e) Be on the lookout for possible reactions
Every medication has a potential side effect. Upon administering the drug on your feline, always be vigilant for a few hours for any possible occurrence of hypersensitivity. Also, acquaint yourself with effective ways of managing allergic reactions.
f) Know how to evaluate the drug’s effectiveness
To determine the efficacy of the drug, check the label for its promised effectiveness against your observation.
For example, if the product guarantees a 90% kill of the fleas within 30 minutes or so, you should be able to observe that to verify its efficiency. Also, correct administration of the product will enhance its effectiveness.
Factors to Consider when Choosing the Best Flea Treatment for Cats
Quick-acting and reliable
Fleas do proliferate so fast such that they do not need several months to reach their reproductive capacity. Thus, you may find yourself killing them today, but tomorrow you find other fleas already.
Fleas are very resilient and prolific, and that is why you not only need to use a flea control product but also manage your environment especially where your pet resides.
Therefore, the insect’s ability to exert its action rapidly is crucial in control and management of fleas. You wouldn’t want to use a flea product that will take a whole day before seeing the result (dead fleas).
Look for a flea product with a fast onset action, a rapid peak onset, and prolonged therapeutic effectiveness.
For example, you will be better off with a flea product that becomes effective within 30 minutes after its administration, kills a large percentage of the fleas within six to eight hours but prolongs its effectiveness for a month or even longer.
Thus, the most important factors to look out for in a flea product is its rapid onset of action and reliability. Also, the large percentage of fleas it can kill within a short period, the better.
Controls fleas in their various life stages
Fleas are very resilient creatures that grow so fast through their developmental stages that are an egg, larva, pupae and finally mature adults. Each of the life stages presents a challenge in flea management.
For instance, its eggs are so small and located in dark, moist and warm hidings. Within a few weeks, they hatch into larva that does latch on anything organic due to its strong mouth.
However, due to its vulnerability to heat, they hid in floor cracks, and deep crevices and are difficult to trace. After a few weeks, they form a cocoon that protects it from the environmental hazards.
Upon maturing, they break away from the cocoon, lays eggs and the start the process all over again.
Thus, targeting mature adults will partly solve the problem, look for a flea treatment product that manages each stage of the fleas’ lifecycle adequately.
For holistic management of fleas, carry out a thorough treatment of your environment as well including belongings, the house, and surroundings.
Relatively safe with minimal side effects
The combination of different ingredients when manufacturing flea medications could cause clinical complaints.
Some felines are hypersensitive and could suffer from gastric or skin irritation, stomach upset, etc. upon administration of the medications. Therefore, be sure to check with your veterinarian for any hypersensitivity before administering any flea treatment product.
While any medication exhibit side - effects, some of the flea medications can pose serious side effects on your feline if consumed. For instance, Fipronil component in some topical flea products can cause nausea and vomiting, abdominal upsets, and even tonic-clonic seizures.
Also, Nitenpyram component leads to excessive panting and hyperexcitability of your feline within two hours of administration. Thus, follow the directions of use of these flea treatments to avoid ingestion of these components by your furry feline.
Therefore, choose a flea treatment product that does not cause any adverse effects on your cat’s health.
Ease of application or administration
Ease of administration of the treatment is essential as far as flea management is concerned. Choosing whether to administer for instance tablets or topical formulation depends on your cat.
If your cat has a thick fur, it would be difficult to tell if the skin would absorb all the topical formulation. As such, you would want to administer tablets instead.