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How to Protect Cats from Fleas

Updated on March 21, 2014
Alison Graham profile image

Alison is a freelance writer on health, nutrition, skincare, and pets, especially cats and dogs.

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A cat protected from fleas is a happy cat!
A cat protected from fleas is a happy cat! | Source

In this article we are going to take a look at the best flea treatments for cats and the importance of flea prevention for your cat.

These horrible little blood sucking parasites are not just an itchy problem! In fact, they are capable of causing serious disease in cats.

They can also pose a significant problem for humans. Some people can have severe allergic reactions to flea bites. Homes can become infested with carpets, soft furnishing and bedding needing professional treatment. For so many reasons, it is vital to ensure that pets are adequately protected.

Your 'at-a-glance' summary of protection methods reviewed here

Method of protection
Merits
Limitations
Spot-on treatments
Not affected by water, Lasts longer (usually a month)
Ineffective against the egg and larval stage
Oral medications
Easily administered to cat, Makes female fleas lay infertile eggs
Ineffective against adult fleas
Flea shampoos
Effective against adult fleas
Difficult to use because cats are not easy to bathe, Offers short term protection usually a day or less, Ineffective against the egg and larval stages
Flea collars
Easy to use
Can cause allergic reactions in cats, Ineffective against the egg and larval stages
Flea dips
Effective against many parasites, Long lasting
Highly toxic, Ineffective against the egg and larval stages
Powders and sprays
Easy to use
Can cause irritation when breathed into the lungs, Offer short term protection
This pack size is a four month treatment but there are many pack sizes available.
This pack size is a four month treatment but there are many pack sizes available. | Source

Flea Drops For Cats

Flea drops, or spot-on treatments are usually applied in between the shoulder blades of the cat and they spread themselves throughout the entire body of the animal.

The drops works through translocation (i.e. distribution of the medication over the body by the oil glands) and the natural habit of the cat to clean itself.

This medications are not in any way affected by swimming, bathing or rain and they effectively kill and deter fleas for several weeks (usually a month) before a re-application.

Spot-on treatments like the Advantage flea control for cats product shown below, are widely recommended for use.

Here is a link to the Advantage Purple product page on Amazon check it out and you will see that these are all suitable for cats over 9lbs in weight. If you scroll down to the bottom of the product page, you will see that there is a separate pack type for kittens.

How To Apply Advantage Flea Drops

Oral Flea Control Medication

Monthly flea control pills or liquid suspensions, function by stopping the flea larva from emerging from the egg.

Female fleas that ingest blood from animals treated with this type of flea treatment for cats lay eggs that can not hatch.

However, this type of treatment will not kill adult fleas.

Flea Shampoo For Cats

Bathing a cat with special medicated shampoo which kills fleas upon contact is an inexpensive way of protecting a cat from fleas.

However this process has to be repeated more often, because the active ingredients in flea shampoos last for a shorter time.

Cat Flea Collar

Cat flea collars are usually put around the cat's neck and work to kill and repel fleas.

For good results always ensure that the collar is in contact with the cat's skin so as to release the chemicals to the skin and fur.

Flea collars are only effective against adult fleas, however some flea collars also kill ticks.

Many pet owners do not like the collar type of flea prevention because of the risk of the cat becoming caught by the collar on a tree branch or similar.

Flea Dip For Cats

Flea dips are very strong chemical rinses that are meant to rid cats of fleas, ticks and mites.

They are very powerful and misuse can cause toxic reactions in cats and humans. Because of this they are only recommended in severe parasite infestations.

Dips last for 1-2 weeks and are effective against adult fleas.

Pesky fleas - no matter how high I jump, they always catch me - luckily my mum read this hubpages article on how to protect me from them!
Pesky fleas - no matter how high I jump, they always catch me - luckily my mum read this hubpages article on how to protect me from them! | Source

Flea Powder for Cats

Powders, dusted onto the fur of the cat and brushed or combed in, offer short-lived (usually 2 to 3 days) protection against fleas.

With the development of newer methods such as spot on treatments flea powders and sprays are rarely used.

Let Us Know What You Think

Which method do you use to protect your cat from fleas

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Why Flea Prevention For Cats Is Important

If you do not protect your cat against fleas, he or she could suffer other problems too ...

  • Allergies: Cat fleas feed on the blood of humans as well. When sucking blood they inject an anticoagulant contained in saliva into the blood stream. This anticoagulant is a strong allergen and causes a lot of discomfort in humans and cats. It can result in severe itching and inflammation. In children and animals flea bites can itch very severely resulting in raw, broken and bleeding skin or even contamination of the irritated skin with bacteria.
  • Hair loss in cats: Long term itching and the subsequent scratching as the cat becomes more irritated by the anticoagulant in the fleas' saliva can lead to hair loss. Cat's hair loss is characterized by patches of missing fur in various parts of the cat's body a condition referred to as alopecia.
  • Bacterial infections: Sometimes fleas carry bacteria as they move from one host to another, So when they move on for their next meal, they can transmit the bacteria resulting in severe bacterial infections

In addition to discomfort fleas are capable of transmitting serious diseases in both cats and humans. However now that you have all the information on cat flea control, you will be able to keep your pet happy and healthy and your home, a flea-free zone!

Comments

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  • Alison Graham profile image
    Author

    Alison Graham 5 years ago from UK

    Thanks Dreamhowl, it's always good to have a first-hand, personal recommendation - we use Frontline on our dogs in the summer, but mostly for protection from ticks which are a problem where we live. The Advantage flea drops are definitely effective and drops are so simple to use - especisally as some cats are frightened by the sound of alternative, spray products.

  • Dreamhowl profile image

    Jessica Marello 5 years ago from United States

    At my job, the drops have taken over so much that we don't sell flea powder anymore; our most popular sales are drops like Advantage/Frontline, or the oral remedies like Capstar. Voted up and useful!

  • Alison Graham profile image
    Author

    Alison Graham 5 years ago from UK

    Thank you @dailytop10! Our animals give us so much, hope you and your five cats have a wonderful Christmas!

  • dailytop10 profile image

    dailytop10 5 years ago from Davao City

    Thank you for sharing this! I have five lovely cats and counting. I find it hard to deal with flea issues yet I somehow saved my cats through research and dedication.

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