How to Compare Cat Flea Treatment Brands

Cat flea treatment products come in a variety of forms: collars, sprays, spot-on applications and oral medications. Which one is best for your cat will depend on a variety of factors. Here are some things to consider when choosing a flea treatment for your cat.

Your Cat’s Age, Health and Environment

Many products that are safe for adult cats are toxic to young kittens. Before buying a flea treatment, check to make sure it specifically says it is safe for your kitten.

If your cat is on medication, make sure it will not interact with the active ingredient in the flea treatment. This is especially important if you are considering an oral treatment. Your vet will be able to advise you on the safest product for your cat.

If your cat lives indoors and his exposure to parasites is limited, a one-time treatment that kills only fleas may work well. However, if your cat comes in contact with fleas and other parasites on a regular basis, you may want one that is long-lasting and kills ticks and worms as well as fleas.

The Safety of the Cat Flea Treatment

Treatments that are safe for dogs may be dangerous to your cat. Make sure the treatment you choose specifically says it is designed for cats. Never use products containing pyrethrins or organophosphates. These insecticides are safe for dogs, but highly toxic in cats. They are not safe even in topical applications, because your cat will groom himself and ingest the chemicals.

How the Cat Flea Treatment Works

All flea control products are designed to eradicate fleas, but they do not all do it in the same way. Fleas have several life stages, only one of which lives on your cat. So while many products kill the adult fleas on your cat, others work by inhibiting the growth of immature fleas.

If your flea problem is severe, you may want to consider a product that does both. This way you minimize the risk to your cat of mixing products that might not be designed to work together.

Flea treatments containing imidacloprid, fipronil or selamectin kill the adult fleas living on your cat. Selamectin is also effective against flea eggs.

Products containing methoprene work by inhibiting the growth of fleas, preventing them from maturing and reproducing.

Effectiveness of the Flea Treatment for Cats

Try to avoid sprays and powders. They kill fleas quickly, but only as long as they remain on your cat’s body. Your cat will groom himself, removing them and ingesting them, which can make him sick.

Collars are only effective near your cat’s neck. There are safer and more effective treatments, so avoid these if you can.

Oral medications and spot-on treatments are popular and convenient. Many of them are available by prescription only, but they are generally safe.  They can protect your cat for 4 to 6 weeks, so you need to apply them every month. Treatments that only inhibit flea growth may take several weeks to work, so you may need to consider a second product to kill the adult fleas or one that does both.

There is a wide variety of flea treatments available for your cat. With careful research and the help of your vet, you can find one that is right for you.