Regularly washing your cat’s bedding and vacuuming your home can help eliminate fleas. For example, fleas lay eggs in your cat’s bedding and around your home, so regular washing and vacuuming can help to eliminate fleas and their eggs. Also, many flea treatments are available, such as topical spot-on treatments, flea collars, oral medications, and sprays. Consult with your veterinarian to find the most suitable option for your cat.
Best Flea Treatment for Cats
Topical Spot-On Treatments
Topical spot-on treatments are a type of flea treatment for cats that are applied directly to the skin between the shoulder blades of the cat. These treatments are typically designed to protect against fleas for up to a month.
The active ingredients in topical spot-on treatments are typically insecticides that target fleas and other parasites. These treatments’ most commonly used ingredients include fipronil, imidacloprid, and selamectin.
To apply a topical spot-on treatment to your cat, you must part the fur on the back of the neck and apply the treatment directly to the skin. It’s important to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and avoid touching the treated area until dry.
Oral medications are another type of flea treatment for cats that come in tablets or chews. These medications are typically given once a month and provide systemic protection against fleas.
The active ingredients in oral flea medications vary depending on the product. The most commonly used ingredients include nitenpyram, lufenuron, spinosad, and afoxolaner. These ingredients target the flea’s nervous system or prevent the development of flea eggs and larvae.
Oral flea medications are easy to administer and particularly useful for cats who are difficult to treat with topical spot-on treatments. However, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and give the medication at the recommended dosage to ensure it is safe and effective.
Flea collars are a type of flea treatment for cats worn around the neck. These collars are designed to repel and kill fleas and ticks that come into contact with your cat’s fur.
Flea collars work by releasing a small amount of insecticide onto your cat’s skin and fur. The active ingredient in flea collars varies depending on the product, but common ingredients include pyrethrins, pyrethroids, and imidacloprid. Some flea collars also contain essential oils, such as citronella, which can help to repel fleas naturally.
Flea collars are easy to use and can provide long-lasting protection against fleas. However, choosing a high-quality flea collar designed for cats is important, as some flea collars intended for use on dogs can be toxic to cats.
Additionally, some cats may be sensitive to the chemicals in flea collars and may experience skin irritation or other adverse effects. For example, if your cat develops unusual symptoms after wearing a flea collar, such as itching, redness, or hair loss, you should remove the collar and contact your veterinarian.
Prescription shampoos are cat flea treatment that contains medicated ingredients designed to kill fleas and their eggs on contact. These shampoos are typically used with other flea prevention methods, such as topical spot-on treatments or oral medications.
The active ingredients in prescription flea shampoos vary depending on the product. Some common ingredients include pyrethrins, natural insecticides derived from chrysanthemum flowers, and permethrin, a synthetic insecticide highly effective against fleas and ticks.
To use a prescription flea shampoo:
- Wet your cat’s fur thoroughly with warm water and lather the shampoo into the coat.
- Massage the shampoo into the skin and fur, particularly to areas where fleas are most likely to hide, such as the neck, back, and tail.
- Leave the shampoo on for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Prescription flea shampoos can effectively kill fleas and soothe your cat’s skin if they are experiencing itching or irritation. However, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product label carefully and avoid getting the shampoo in your cat’s eyes or ears.
Home Remedies for Fleas on Cats
- Apple cider vinegar: A solution of equal parts apple cider vinegar and water can be applied to your cat’s fur to repel fleas. However, some cats may find the smell and taste of apple cider vinegar unpleasant, so you may want to test this remedy on a small area of your cat’s fur first.
- Flea combing: Regularly combing your cat with a flea comb can help to remove adult fleas and their eggs from their fur, according to WebMD. Be sure to dispose of any fleas you remove in soapy water to prevent them from returning to your cat.
- Diatomaceous earth: This fine powder is made from the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms and can be sprinkled on your cat’s fur or around your home to kill fleas. However, choosing food-grade diatomaceous earth is important, as other forms may harm your cat’s lungs if inhaled.
- Essential oils: Some essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, and cedar, can repel fleas. However, using these oils cautiously is important, as they can be toxic to cats if ingested or applied in large quantities.
- Regular cleaning: Keeping your home and your cat’s bedding clean can help to prevent flea infestations. Be sure to vacuum your floors and furniture regularly and wash your cat’s bedding in hot water.
Tips to Prevent Your Cat From Getting Fleas in the Future
Check for Signs of Fleas
Checking your cat for signs of fleas is important in preventing a flea infestation from becoming established. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Scratching and biting: If your cat is scratching or biting at their fur more than usual, this may be a sign of a flea infestation. Flea bites can be very itchy and uncomfortable for cats, and they may try to alleviate the discomfort by scratching or biting at their fur.
- Flea dirt: Flea dirt is the fecal matter produced by fleas, which looks like small black specks in your cat’s fur. To check for flea dirt, use a fine-toothed comb to part your cat’s fur and examine the skin.
- Redness and inflammation: Flea bites can cause redness, inflammation, and scabs on your cat’s skin. Any areas of your cat’s skin that look red or irritated may indicate flea bites.
- Visible fleas: If you see fleas moving around on your cat’s fur or skin, this is a clear sign of a flea infestation.
- Restlessness: Cats with flea infestations may be restless and have trouble sleeping due to the discomfort caused by flea bites.
Wash Your Cat’s Bedding
Washing your cat’s bedding is important in preventing and treating a flea infestation. Remove any bedding your cat sleeps on, including blankets, pillows, and other soft materials. Then, take the bedding outside and shake it out vigorously to remove any flea eggs, larvae, or adult fleas that may be present.
Wash the bedding in hot water with mild detergent. Hot water will help to kill any fleas, eggs, or larvae that may be present. Dry the bedding in a high-heat setting to kill any remaining fleas, eggs, or larvae. Check the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that the bedding is safe to tumble dry. After washing and drying the bedding, vacuum the surrounding area to remove fleas, eggs, or larvae that may have fallen off the bedding.
Spray Your Home With Flea Spray
Spraying your home with a flea spray can help to eliminate any fleas, eggs, or larvae that may be present in your environment. Choose a safe pet flea spray, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
Before applying the flea spray, remove any items from the floor, including toys, clothing, and shoes. Vacuum the entire house, paying close attention to areas where your cat spends time, such as carpets, rugs, and furniture.
Apply the flea spray according to the manufacturer’s instructions, focusing on areas where fleas are most likely present, such as carpets, rugs, and furniture. Be sure to cover the entire surface area and spray in cracks and crevices where fleas may be hiding.
After applying the flea spray, keep your cat out of the treated area until it has dried completely. This will help to prevent your cat from coming into contact with any residual spray that may be present. For example, flea sprays may need to be applied more than once to eliminate a flea infestation. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for reapplication and repeat as necessary until the infestation has been eradicated.