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What is the Best Flea Medicine for Cats? - A Review of Four Flea Control Treatments for Kittens and Cats

Updated on April 19, 2014

Fleas can cause extreme itching, redness, scaling and even bacterial infection on the skin of your cat. You can check for fleas by spreading the fur on the belly of your cat. You can also rub the animal's belly with a wet white paper towel. Black specks on the white towel that turn to a reddish-brown color when you smear them are indications of flea feces on your cat.

So, now that you have realized that your cat has fleas, what is the best flea medicine for cats? Here is a look at some of the easily available medicines for kitten fleas.

Review of Advantage® by Bayer

Advantage® for Cats contains imidacloprid which paralyzes and kills the cat fleas by working on their central nervous system. It kills them within 12 hours of application and before they can lay eggs. Contact with an Advantage® treated cat, kills the larvae in the surroundings as well. You just need to apply it once a month at the base of the skull. This prevents the cat from licking the product.

This topical medicine for kitten fleas is very effective in killing the organisms quickly and you don't need to reapply after your cat's weekly bathing. The major drawback of this product is that it does not kill ticks and since it is a topical treatment you should try to keep small children away from the pet for about two days.

Review of Capstar® by Novartis

Capstar® contains nitenpyram and is an oral flea medicine for cats. A single dose of the tablet begins working within 30 minutes and kills the adult fleas within six hours. You can safely use it on a kitten that is four weeks old and weighs more than two pounds. It is also safe for pregnant or nursing cats.

One of the major drawbacks of this cat flea medicine is that its effects do not last as long as topical treatments and it does not kill the flea larvae. This is why vets recommend using Capstar® with Program® Flavor Tabs to prevent re-infestation.

Review of Program® Flavor Tabs Flea Medicine for Cats by Novartis

Program® Flavor Tabs contain lufenuron, a compound which breaks the flea life cycle by stopping the larvae from developing. It should be given to the cat once a month with a full meal or else it will not be as effective.

One drawback of Program® Flavor Tabs is that these have no effect on adult fleas in the cat's surroundings. So, you may notice these around the house for 30 to 60 days. You will need to treat all your pets with these tablets to break the flea life cycle or else these adult fleas will feed on the untreated pets and begin to lay eggs again.

These tablets have been found to have side-effects such as vomiting, lethargy, itching, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and redness of the skin.

Novartis also has Program® Suspension, which can be mixed with two tablespoons of wet cat food and given to your pet. Program® is also available in injectable form for cats.

Review of Frontline® by Merial

Frontline® Top Spot is a flea and tick medicine for cats. It is a topical oil that contains fipronil, an insecticide, that affects the central nervous system of the ticks and fleas.

For effective control of kitten fleas, apply Frontline® Top Spot between the shoulder blades. The natural oils of the body then automatically spread it throughout the cat's body. It is an easy to apply liquid which is also very effective against chewing lice and ticks that carry Lyme disease.

Frontline® Top Spot for cats kills the fleas and ticks within 12 hours of application and offers protection for about a month. Your pet can easily bathe and swim after its application. Just make sure that you do not bathe your cat two days before and two days after its application.

This flea control treatment for cats from Frontline® can be safely used on kittens more than eight weeks old and with pregnant or lactating cats.

The above-mentioned products for kitten flea control are just suggestions for the pet owner. The question, "what is the best flea medicine for cats?" is best answered by the pet owner. Some owners prefer using tablets since they are less messy or they have young children at home. Others may want to use a topical solution since it has fewer side effects. If in doubt, always consult your veterinarian.

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      Roohi Khan 5 years ago from India

      crazyhorsesghost and tlmcgaa70 - Thank you for the valuable comments. I am sure it is going to help many cat owners.

    • tlmcgaa70 profile image

      tlmcgaa70 5 years ago from south dakota, usa

      please do not put chemical poisons on kittens 6 months and younger...especially 3 months and under. for them use dawn dish soap to bathe the kittens, it kills fleas on contact. lightly dusting kittens (or any aged animals) with food grade diatomacious earth will kill fleas long term. putting chemical poisons on very young kittens can kill them.

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      Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Add a teaspoon of white vinegar to their water each time you give them water and you'll have a lot fewer flea problems.