How to Compare Flea Control Products for Cats

Flea control products are essential for a cat's well being as well as for your own comfort as a pet owner. However, you should keep in mind that flea control products can be poisonous if used improperly or chosen incorrectly.

How to Choose Safe Flea Control Products for Cats

There are many over-the-counter flea repellents, but the fact that they are available does not mean they are completely safe. Here are a few rules about what you should pay attention to:

  • Always read the label and follow the instructions precisely.
  • Never use on a cat products that are meant for other kinds of animals.
  • Flea control products should not be used on pregnant, sick, very old cats or young kittens, unless the treatment is supervised by a veterinarian.
  • After administering topical flea control products to your cat, watch him closely for side-effects. If there are any symptoms such as drooling, difficulty walking, tremors or seizures, immediately wash the area where you applied the product with mild soap and take the cat to a veterinarian.
  • Avoid products that contain organophosphates, including permethrin, phosmet and diazinon (particularly toxic for Persian cats).
  • When it comes to flea shampoos, shampoos which contain pyrethrins are the best choice for adult cats, while kittens as well as senior or sick cats should be bathed with flea shampoos that contain natural ingredients such as Limonene.

How to Compare Flea Control Products for Cats

There are numerous prescription and over-the-counter flea control products for cats on the market. Comparing them is not easy, but there are a few basic criteria you could use:

  • What is the ingredient that kills the fleas? Make sure this is not toxic for cats or your cat is not allergic to it.
  • Does the product kill fleas in more than one stage of their life? Does it have a flea sterilizing ingredient? Fleas have 4 life stages: egg, larva, puppa, adult.
  • Does the product kill or repel the parasites?
  • Is the product for cats or is it for both cats and dogs? It is safest to go with a product created for cats only.
  • What is the youngest age at which you can use it on a kitten?
  • Is the product waterproof or water resistant? Waterproof products are the more efficient choice.
  • Is the product safe for pregnant or lactating cats?
  • How long will you have to wait before the maximum effect of the product is reached? This ranges fro 4 to 24 hours on some products.
  • Does the product also help controlling other pests? It would be healthier to limit the number of insecticides you have to use on your cat.
  • How often does the product need to be applied?
  • How is the product administered?
  • How long does the effect last, how often do you need to administer it?
  • Is it a prescription drug or an over-the-counter drug?
  • What is the lethal dose (LD50, which is the lethal dose for the rat population it was tested on)?