Contains both imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen. Waterproof after application, will not wash away after bathing. Addresses fleas at all life stages. Safe for kittens as young as 8 weeks. Starts working within 12 hours.
Some cats may be extremely sensitive to ingredients. Reports of re-infestation only weeks after treatment.
Fast acting formula, starts killing fleas in 30 minutes. Contains nitenpyram. Not a messy or smelly topical formula. Appealing price point. Can be administered once a day for major infestations.
Pill form is challenging to administer to some cats. Flea-killing effects are only temporary, should be combined with other meds.
Also addresses ear mites and heartworm. Kills both adult fleas and eggs within hours of application. Effective for 30 days. Non-greasy formula, dries quickly. Works well with both outdoor and indoor cats.
Can require months of treatment to reach maximum effectiveness. Expensive and prescription-only.
Packaging includes special applicator. Starts killing fleas within 30 minutes, total eradication within 12 hours. Non-greasy topical formula. Also addresses flea bites and irritated skin.
Strong chemical smell. Not as effective as prescription-strength products for long-term flea control.
Can be used on both dogs and cats in the same household. Chewable pill is flavored, easily added to food. Noticeable results within minutes. Not greasy like many topical treatments.
Does not address itching or other skin issues. Pill is chewable, but flavor may be off-putting to some cats.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Warm weather may bring an explosion in the flea and tick population outside, but the bugs can survive and thrive year-round inside your house, where it’s warm and toasty. So, while your cat is more likely to get attacked by fleas and ticks in the spring and summer, they can actually be plagued by these little pests any time of year.
When that happens, you need to get the right medication for your cat or cats. No two cats are the same, and what works for one won’t necessarily be right for another. An important tip: only give your cat flea and tick medication that is specifically designed for cats. Giving a cat medicine for a dog could be fatal.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to choosing a flea and tick medication for your furry friend. For example, you’ll need to decide whether to go the oral route or the topical route. You also need to know what kind of adverse reactions to watch for. Choosing a flea and tick medication for your beloved pet can be a bit daunting, but we’ve done the legwork so you can easily determine the best course of treatment for your fluffy friend.
First off, you need to select the right medication for your particular kitty. Your cat’s age, weight, and overall health condition should all be taken into consideration. And we can’t stress this enough: if the medication isn’t labeled specifically for cats, don’t give it to your cat.
Age: Manufacturers are required by law to state the safe age range for these medications, whether oral or topical. Just like people, younger cats and kittens can be susceptible to problems that older ones are not — and vice versa. You shouldn’t give adult medication to a kitten, nor should you give kitten medication to an adult cat.
Weight: Another consideration is your cat’s weight. The ideal way to obtain your cat’s weight is at the veterinarian’s office, but if you can’t do this, weigh yourself on your bathroom scale. Then, pick up your cat and weigh yourself again. The difference between the two numbers is how much your cat weighs.
Make sure you only get medications that are appropriate for your cat’s weight.
Health: If your cat is in poor health, they may already be taking medication for whatever ails them. Drug interactions can be a problem for cats, just like they are for humans. In a situation like that, you should see a veterinarian before purchasing anything for your cat’s flea or tick problems.
Unless your veterinarian advises you otherwise, do not give your cat an oral medication and a topical one at the same time. Oral medications move quickly to the skin to affect the fleas, and they can interact badly with the pesticides in topical creams. Choose one or the other but not both.
Cat flea and tick medications that are given orally are actual medicines. Lufenuron, spinosad, and nitenpyram are common medications that are given orally. They work by blocking exoskeleton formation or interfering with the nervous systems of fleas and ticks, killing them, in some cases, in as little as half an hour.
Oral medications come in two forms: pills and chewable tablets. Pills have to be forced down the cat’s throat. Chewable tablets can be added to your cat’s food. There have been reports that some of the chewy tablets don’t taste very good, so be aware of that.
Topical ointments and creams are designed to be applied to a cat’s skin. These preparations contain pesticides; a common pesticide used in many topical flea and tick medications for cats is fipronil. Fipronil was originally created to kill termites. Today, pest control professionals often refer to fipronil as the “magic bullet” for killing termites. Along the way, fipronil was recognized as being lethal to a wide range of insects and pests, including fleas and ticks.
Other commonly used active ingredients in cat flea and tick topical medications are dinotefuran, pyriproxyfen, and (S)-methoprene, all of which are actual pesticides used for killing a wide range of insects.
This is what you’re putting on your cat’s skin, so it is important that you follow the instructions on the package very closely.
Read the product literature carefully before administering any flea and tick medication to your pet. Warnings and descriptions of adverse reactions should be on the label for your information. It is especially important to note these potential adverse reactions before you use the medication for the first time on your cat. Once you’ve determined that your cat doesn’t have a problem with it, you can relax a little. Keep the package, though, in case problems crop up later. The package should be able to tell you what first aid measures to take for your cat.
Flea collar: Bayer Animal Health Seresto Flea and Tick Prevention for Cats
Once you’ve gotten rid of the initial infestation, keep them from coming back with a flea collar from Bayer Animal Health. It’s odorless and non-greasy. Best of all, it lasts for up to eight months.
Protective gloves: MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves
When you’re applying a topical treatment to your cat’s skin, it’s a good idea to wear protective, disposable gloves. These purple disposable exam gloves from MedPride come in boxes of 100 and are perfect for the task.
The low price range for flea and tick treatments is anything $30 and under. These tend to work slower than pricier treatments. They work; it just takes longer.
The medium price range sits between $30 and $90 for cat flea and tick treatments. Most treatments in this range are topical applications containing professional-grade pesticide ingredients.
Anything over $90 is a prescription-strength treatment or is available by prescription only. These are powerful medications. Use them under the advice of your veterinarian.
Q. Do indoor cats need to be treated for fleas and ticks?
A. Absolutely. Fleas and ticks can be carried inside on your pants or shoes. All you have to do is walk through an area that is infested with them, and they can piggy-back on you to get inside. Once there, they’ll jump onto your cat.
Q. Do fleas and ticks only attack during the warm part of the year?
A. No. Once inside your house, they can attack and breed all year long.
Q. Should I keep using the treatments on my cat after the fleas and ticks are gone?
A. No. Internal medicines should never be used longer than the label specifies. Topical treatments can lead to skin irritation if they are used continuously. Once the fleas and ticks have been eradicated, switch to a flea collar for cats.