Commonly Asked Questions about Flea Medications for Cats
1. How do you find fleas on cats?
Spotting fleas on your cat or kitten can be tricky, but if you know the signs of a flea infestation, you can hopefully catch them early. Is your cat suddenly scratching? If your cat is scratching frequently or experiencing any hair loss, try checking for fleas or flea dirt on areas where your cat’s hair is thinner, like her belly or the base of the tail. If your cat doesn’t mind being brushed, try using a flea comb to search for signs of an infestation. Have you noticed flea dirt on your cat’s favorite bed? More than likely, your feline friend has fleas. Finding flea dirt on bedding can indicate a bigger flea problem in your home.
2. What is the best way to get rid of fleas?
There are many options to choose from when combatting a flea infestation. From topical treatments, oral medications, and flea collars, you will want to select the method most fitting for your cat.
Topical flea medications like Advantage® II do not require fleas to bite to kill. This is especially important for cats who have a flea allergy or sensitivity as it’s believed that flea saliva is the trigger for allergic responses. Most topical flea treatments require monthly application.
Certain oral medications such as CAPSTAR® can provide your cat relief from a heavy flea infestation by killing fleas within 30 minutes of administering. Other oral treatments require a prescription and do not kill fleas on contact; fleas must bite to die. Giving cats oral medications can be difficult so you’ll want to make sure to consider your cat’s ability to take medications.
For cats who are more comfortable wearing collars, the Seresto® cat collar by Elanco may be the best preventative. The collar is odorless and non-greasy and kills and repels fleas and ticks for an 8-month period. It is designed as a breakaway collar, so no need to worry if your cat gets snagged on something.
3. Outdoor flea control vs. indoor
If you are dealing with fleas on your cat and in your home, more than likely you also have a flea infestation in your yard. Therefore, it’s best to treat both your home and yard to get rid of pesky fleas for good.
Yard sprays are an effective way to kill and repel fleas outdoors. Most sprays attach to your garden hose for easy application. The Advantage® Yard & Premise spray covers up to 16,000 square feet, so you are often able to use multiple times depending on the size of your yard. You’ll want to cover your entire yard and pay close attention to areas under bushes and trees where fleas and ticks like to hide. The spray will last for up to 4 weeks and repels fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and other pests.
For an all-natural yard spray, Wondercide uses cedar oil as the active ingredient to kill fleas and ticks on contact. Wondercide Yard Flea & Tick Spray will cover up to 4,000 square feet using no artificial colors, fragrances or synthetic pesticides.
Treating your yard in addition to using a spray carefully indoors and flea preventative for your cat will ensure fleas die and do not return. For indoors, be persistent with vacuuming and washing your cat’s bedding and toys for multiple weeks to make sure flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are being eliminated too.
4. Can natural remedies work?
Natural flea remedies can be very effective but often require more frequent application. Also, cats can be sensitive, so you want to always make sure any remedy you try specifies that it is safe for cats. Even with cat-safe treatments, it’s a best practice to spot test the solution before applying over your cat’s entire body.
Wondercide makes an all-natural cedar oil spray that is phenol-free and safe for daily use with cats. Apply a fine mist to your cat’s coat, and be sure to spray your cat’s environment, like bedding, cat scratcher and other cat furniture to kill any flea eggs and larvae.
Although cat shampoos are available, a waterless flea shampoo tends to be an easier option on your cat, unless she enjoys regular baths.
5. Why should I choose oral medication and topical treatment or vice versa?
It is important to note that oral flea medications do not repel pests. Your cat must ingest the pill or chewable tablet, which then travels through the bloodstream, making the cat’s blood poisonous to fleas. Many monthly ingestible flea pills require a prescription from your veterinarian. Some pet owners prefer the ease of use with oral medications like CAPSTAR®.
Topical flea treatments for cats, such as Advantage® or PetLock, can be more effective when killing other life stages, such as larvae and flea eggs. Following the application instructions for topical medications is key to ensuring efficacy.
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