Fleas on Cats: A Complete Guide

If there’s a flea infestation in your home, chances are it probably came from your cat. Outdoor cats are more likely to get fleas, but even indoor cats can get fleas from the family dog or when they go out for veterinary checks. Fleas can even jump from your clothes or shoes onto your cat.

Signs of flea infestation on your cat include scratching, skin irritation, and the presence of red or black specks on your cat’s skin, fur, bedding, or furniture. These specks are about the size of a grain of black pepper. Called “flea dirt,” these are flea feces or digested blood. To confirm that you see flea dirt, place some on a damp paper towel. If the paper towel turns red, it is flea dirt.

Fleas are not just a nuisance. These parasites can pose serious health problems to your cat. A severe flea infestation can damage your cat’s skin, induce an allergic reaction, or cause blood loss and make your cat anemic. Fleas can transmit diseases like Bartonella henselae bacteria, leading to cat scratch disease, as well as other parasites such as tapeworms.

 

Best Flea Treatment for Cats

Spot-on treatments for your cat are generally safer and more effective than treatments such as shampoos or sprays. You can get spot-on treatments from your vet or an online shop that caters to pet needs. Ask your vet where to apply the product to your cat, how much to apply, and how often to use it. Read the instructions on the product label to make sure it is safe for cats. Some common active ingredients and brands include:

  • Fipronil (Frontline Plus)
  • Imidacloprid (Advantage)
  • Selamectin (Stronghold/Revolution)
  • Fluralaner (Bravecto)
  • A flea collar with flumethrin and imidacloprid (Seresto)

Topical tick and flea treatment for cats is highly effective in getting rid of fleas on cats and preventing a future reinfestation. Some highly recommended flea treatments for cats are Revolution flea treatment for cats, Bravecto, Advantage, Cheristin, and Frontline.

Some great products available on the market are:

Advantage II

A popular option for flea control is a monthly topical application for your cat. These products offer a full 30 days of protection with a single application, and the best ones will protect against fleas in all life stages. For a topical flea preventative that works well and is safe for cats, choose Advantage II.

Advantage II consists of powerful active ingredients (such as imidacloprid). It contains an insect growth regulator (pyriproxyfen), which kills adult fleas, flea larvae, and inhibits flea eggs’ growth. This product starts working immediately and will kill adult fleas within only 12 hours. Working on contact, fleas will not need to bite the cat to be eradicated. Advantage II also works against ticks and chewing lice.

Once it is dry, Advantage II is entirely waterproof and will remain effective even if you bathe your cat with shampoo or if they go outside in the rain. It comes in various sizes, depending on the weight of your cat. Only use Advantage II for cats and kittens eight weeks and older and weighing two or more pounds. It is not recommended for nursing or pregnant cats.

Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Cats & Kittens

If your cat doesn’t like taking pills or receiving topical treatments, get a flea collar for cats, a method that is just as effective. Seresto flea collar for cats is one of the best flea collars for cats. It contains two powerful active ingredients, imidacloprid and flumethrin, which kill fleas within 24 hours of placing it on the cat. Seresto flea collar is useful for a full month, offering continuous protection from fleas and ticks. The collar’s active ingredients release low concentrations over the month, protecting the cat while killing any fleas that meet the skin.

The collar’s formulation is odorless, non-greasy, and effective against flea eggs and larvae, preventing infestations before they can happen. The flea collar can be worn alongside your cat’s existing collar. It is designed with a safety system to ensure that the cat will not be harmed if the collar snags on something. The collar is water-resistant and can remain on the cat even when you’re bathing him.

Flea collars have received a negative reputation in the past for their use of chemicals. But, customers are satisfied with the Bayer Seresto collar and report that it is entirely safe. However, check with your veterinarian if you’re concerned that your pet may be allergic to the collar before purchasing the product.

De Flea Shampoo Concentrate

Once you find fleas on your cat, bathe them with a flea shampoo. Afterward, apply a topical spot-on product, a flea-control product, a flea collar, or a flea spray to kill any lingering fleas and protect against reinfestation.

Flea shampoos for cats should be gentle on their skin but still effective enough to kill any fleas on them. De Flea Shampoo is one of the best flea shampoos for cats. It is mild but highly effective against all life stages of fleas, ticks, and lice.

De Flea includes powerful, non-toxic ingredients and does not contain pyrethrins or permethrins. This shampoo is the right choice for homes that have both children and pets. This shampoo is highly effective against all fleas and is safe to use with other flea products.

The shampoo contains moisturizing ingredients, making it mild enough for everyday use. It has a patented mixture of flea killing ingredients.

Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray

If you are serious about your flea control plan, you will give the outdoor parts of your property attention. Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray does an excellent job of fighting fleas, ticks, and mosquitos on your property. Not only will your cat benefit, but you will be protected against nearly any infestation. Connect the bottle to your garden hose and treat up to 4500 square feet of yard space for bugs.

This yard treatment is formulated with essential oils and plant-based ingredients, making this spray safe to use around your family. Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray will not cause harm to your trees, shrubs, or flowers. Although many users note that the spray emits a strong peppermint smell, customers are satisfied with the product. It is highly effective against ticks, which are notoriously difficult to remove in certain parts of the country and pose a risk to both people and pets. This product is highly recommended for outdoor cats and will give you peace of mind against any infestation.

Jasper Flea and Tick Spray

If you need to solve flea infestation on your cat quickly and effectively, then your best bet would be to use a flea spray. Formulated especially for cats, Jasper Flea and Tick Spray for Cats by Mdx Concepts is a natural flea control option.

Made with all-natural active ingredients, the spray contains a blend of essential oils such as rosemary, cedarwood, and lemongrass oil. The mist starts working immediately upon application and kills all adult fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitos. Brush your cat’s coat backward and apply the spray, massaging it into the coat until it reaches the skin.

Most natural flea repellents use essential oils, but some cats might be sensitive to them. Always use a small amount first as a test and wait for a few hours. If your cat seems okay, then proceed to apply more product.

Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Waterless Bath for Cats

Cats are picky animals. Not every cat will like bathing, and others might resist standard topical treatments – a waterless shampoo may be best for you and your cat. Vet’s Best Flea & Tick Waterless Bath for Cats can be sprayed on them straight from the bottle. Like other treatments, it kills and repels fleas, ticks, and lice while cleaning your pet’s coat.

Customers are happy with this product and claim that it is perfect for the bath-averse cat! It is also great for cats who are allergic to topical applications.

Bayer Advantage Flea and Tick Treatment Spray

A vet-recommended flea treatment for cats, Bayer Advantage Flea and Tick Spray works effectively against fleas, ticks, and lice for your cat. Since it is a spray, Bayer Advantage can kill fleas in the bedding, upholstery, and even the cracks between furniture. This spray is a must-have for households that typically deal with flea infestations. Use it on your pet’s bedding, or even outdoors, to remove any chance of flea infestation.

Novartis Capstar Flea Control Tablets

Capstar tablets are an excellent alternative to flea collars and topical treatments. Capstar is safe for kittens as young as four weeks and weighing 2 pounds.

Available without a prescription, these oral tablets start working within 30 minutes and kill over 90% of adult fleas on cats in as little as six hours. Capstar provides full 24 hours of protection. For long term protection, this product is best used with another flea control product.

There are multiple formulas to choose from based on your cat’s weight. Make sure to follow the dosing instructions carefully on the product label to ensure your cat’s safety. Administer the product on a full stomach for the best results.

Safari Flea Comb for Cats

If nothing is working in your fight against fleas in the household, then the Safari flea comb for cats is your best choice! Topical treatments and other approaches are essential, but owners will still want to brush their pets to ensure that they are entirely flea free. This comb performs the task effectively by pulling adult fleas out of your pet’s coat without causing any discomfort.

While combing your feline friend, focus on the areas around the ears, the nape of the neck, and the tail base. Dunk the brush in hot water when it catches a flea to kill the insect and dispose of it properly.

 

Flea Treatment for Kittens

New-born kittens have the potential to be as afflicted with fleas as older cats. Typical flea control medications cannot be used on very young kittens. For kittens younger than four weeks, your best bet may be grooming them with a flea comb or picking fleas off with a tweezer.

The kittens must be warm when you’re working with them. To prevent a recurrent flea infestation, it’s essential to wash their bedding, vacuum the surroundings, and treat the kitten’s mother.

Fleas can remove enough blood to make the kitten anemic, so ensure that the kitten’s gums are pink. If not, contact your veterinarian right away. And because fleas often carry tapeworms, watch for any rice-like dried tapeworm segments at the rectum or in the stool over the next few weeks.

Flea treatments for kittens fall into two broad categories:

  • Products that kill adult fleas now
  • Products that affect flea offspring-the eggs and larvae

Products that might affect flea offspring are called insect growth regulators (IGRs). IGRs are very useful when it comes to fleas, and the kitten will have little exposure to fleas in the future from the environment or other animals.

Additionally, you’ll have to choose between an oral or topical treatment. In some cases, the age and the weight of the kitten will determine which treatment will work best for them. Never use a flea treatment meant for dogs on your kitten. This can result in severe side effects and can even be fatal to the kitten.

Flea treatments for kittens four weeks of age and older

You’ll need a product that works quickly and effectively. Capstar is a popular flea treatment that operates within 6 hours to kill 90% of fleas. It can be used on kittens 4 weeks of age and older, but the kitten needs to weigh at least 2 pounds. Capstar works quickly and effectively at killing fleas, but the effect only lasts 24 hours. Once you remove the adult fleas, it is essential to kill flea offspring such as flea eggs and larvae with a room spray to prevent reinfestation.

Flea treatments for kittens 8 to 13 weeks of age and older

You will have options in flea treatments if your kitten is at least eight weeks of age or older, including these topical treatments:

  • Advantage II: Can be used on kittens eight weeks or older and weighing 2 pounds or more.
  • Frontline Plus: Can be used on kittens eight weeks or older. There is no weight requirement.
  • Revolution: This prescription medication can be used on kittens eight weeks or older. There is no weight requirement.

Flea treatments for kittens 14 weeks of age and older

Once your kitten has reached the age of 14 weeks or older, your kitten can safely use oral treatments such as Comfortis.

 

Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats

If you worry about over the counter or commercial flea treatments for your cats because of side-effects or chemicals, then natural at-home remedies will be your best choice! Here are some home remedies you can try to help you get rid of fleas on your cat for good.

Cedar Chips

Fleas hate the smell of cedar chips, and there’s a chance your cat might not be too fond of it either. Still, you can try spreading cedar chips around your cat’s bedding, the furniture, or even outdoors in your garden. Since cedar oil is a safe, non-toxic essential oil, you can also spray it on your cat’s fur or put a few drops on your cat’s collar to help keep the fleas at bay.

Lemons

One of the most influential and natural flea killers is citric acid, making lemon juice a widely accepted home remedy for removing fleas from your cat. Boil a cut lemon or two and transfer the liquid into a spray bottle. Spray this solution on your cat’s fur – but avoid their eyes. Monitor your pets for any signs of irritation. If your pet seems unbothered, repeat the treatment as often as needed.

You can also try dipping a comb into the lemon solution and brushing the fleas out of your cat. Add a cup of lemon juice to your laundry while washing your pet’s bedding to help remove any leftover fleas or flea eggs.

Dish Soap

Even the gentlest formulation of dish soap will contain active ingredients that break down the flea’s exoskeleton and kill them within minutes. Wet your cat’s coat and lather the dish soap into their fur, especially on the areas where fleas tend to hide, before rinsing.

Lavender and Chamomile

Lavender is a powerful, fast-acting agent that drives away fleas from your cat effectively. Formulas containing diluted lavender are just as effective at terminating fleas from your pet and home as over the counter commercial chemical sprays. Let fresh lavender steep in water overnight, then strain the liquid. Spray this solution on your cat’s coat. The lavender solution will soothe your cat’s skin, and there’s no need to rinse it out.

You can use loose chamomile tea to soothe the cat’s skin and attack fleas on your cat. Steep the tea and after it has thoroughly cooled down, apply the liquid to your cat’s coat. You can repeat both treatments as often as necessary.

Apple Cider Vinegar

A typical grocery store product that works quite well against fleas is apple cider vinegar. While apple cider vinegar might not kill the bugs on your cat’s coat, it is excellent at making the fleas jump from your cat, making it a great first attack in your fight against fleas. Mix apple cider vinegar with water in a 2:1 ratio and spray it into your cat’s coat. You may have to apply a few times before your cat is entirely flea free.

Spices

Common flea treatments can be found in your spice rack itself, such as oregano oil. Oregano oil contains a natural compound called carvacrol, which is effective in removing fleas. Mix one teaspoon of oregano oil with three teaspoons of olive oil and apply small amounts of the solution to areas where fleas generally tend to hide, like your cat’s ears, tail, stomach, and neck.

Rosemary is another solution. Grind the leaves into a powder and sprinkle it on the areas where your cats tend to stay in your home.

If your cat doesn’t prefer any topical treatment, you can mix a small amount of cumin into your cat’s food. This spice will make your cat’s skin very unpalatable to fleas.

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