Applying Cat Flea Drops

Cat flea drops are topical products designed to control the spread of fleas on your pet's skin and fur. Fleas are common insects that feed off the blood of cats and other animals. Flea bites typically cause affected skin to itch and swell uncomfortably. Cats infested with fleas can also develop secondary infections caused by the excessive biting or scratching of irritated skin. Another less frequent flea-related problem is feline military dermatitis, a painful skin condition often caused by allergic reactions to flea saliva. Fleas can also contain the eggs of the harmful tapeworm parasite, which can spread when a cat ingests a flea while grooming.

Flea drops are one of the most widespread and effective methods of controlling flea outbreaks among cats. There are several prescription and over the counter varieties of drops available. Generally, they are designed to stop infestations by killing adult fleas. Some newer treatments also disrupt the parasite’s lifecycle by destroying flea eggs and larvae. Here is a brief description of how these topical products work and how to apply them to your cat.

How Cat Flea Drops Work

Fleas can multiply quickly on a host animal. Females can lay between 20 to 50 eggs a day on an infested cat. Under warm conditions, like those found in a typical home, flea eggs can hatch within a few days. The hatched larvae may then reach adulthood in around two to three weeks. This shortened lifecycle combined with the flea’s adaptability and rapid reproduction can lead to infestations that spread quickly, particularly in households with multiple cats.

Prescription flea drops contain an insecticide, or adulticide, to kill adult fleas on your pet. Frequently prescribed treatments like Frontline and Advantage as well as over the counter products like Hartz UltraGuard Pro use different insecticides that cause paralysis and death in fleas by attacking their nervous systems. Frontline Plus and Hartz UltraGuard Pro also contain methoprene, a chemical that inhibits the growth and development of flea eggs and larvae.

How to Apply Cat Flea Drops

Flea drops are oil-based products that spread along your cat’s body through her sebaceous glands, which control the secretion of natural body oils. In order to give the drops enough time to soak into the skin, it’s important to apply them where your cat can’t lick them off—like between the shoulders. Here are some additional tips for flea drop application:

  • Remove the applicator containing an individual dose of treatment from its packaging.
  • Secure your cat in a position so her shoulders are exposed and remove her collar. Nervous or agitated pets may need to be wrapped gently in a towel.
  • Hold the applicator upright, with the opening away from your face, and remove the tip—most are perforated for easy removal.
  • Using your other hand, move the fur between your cat’s shoulder blades until the skin is exposed.
  • Place the applicator opening near the area of exposed skin, then squeeze the entire contents directly onto one single spot of skin.