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Best Cat Flea & Tick Prevention

Updated August 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom line
Pros
Cons
Best of the Best
Frontline Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Cats
Frontline
Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Cats
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Trusted Brand
Bottom Line

Trusted feline flea and tick preventative that has been a top-seller for years, and works well for most pets.

Pros

Long-lasting results, as this preventative kills all stages of fleas and prevents repeat infestation. Equally as effective at killing ticks. Applicators are easy to use. Top brand.

Cons

Can't be used on kittens that weigh less than 1.5 pounds. Some reports of skin irritation after use. May not control all flea outbreaks.

Best Bang for the Buck
PetArmor Plus Flea & Tick Prevention for Cats
PetArmor Plus
Flea & Tick Prevention for Cats
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

Works as well as most other products in its class for significant savings.

Pros

A 6-month supply for a reasonable price for a preventative that works well for most pet owners. Results are noticeable for most within 12 hours. Easy to apply.

Cons

Some cats had reactions, such as fur loss and irritation around the application site. Not for kittens under 1.5 pounds. May lose effectiveness over time.

Seresto Flea and Tick Collar for Cats
Seresto
Flea and Tick Collar for Cats
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Customer Favorite
Bottom Line

This popular collar is designed to get rid of fleas quickly and efficiently before they bite your cat.

Pros

Odorless and non-greasy. Effective within 24 hours of the first application. Works through contact. Delivers 8 months of protection from fleas and ticks.

Cons

Pricier than other options.

TevraPet Actispot II Flea Prevention for Cats
TevraPet
Actispot II Flea Prevention for Cats
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Simple Yet Solid
Bottom Line

Although made by a lesser-known company, this product kills and prevents fleas, yet costs less than many popular brands.

Pros

More affordable than some top brands. Kills adult fleas, larvae, and eggs, plus prevents new infestations when used as directed. Resists water and lasts a long time for most cats.

Cons

Not for young kittens, as it can't be used on those weighing less than 5 pounds. Some cats had reactions after use. Won't control all flea infestations or kill ticks.

Advantage Topical Flea and Tick Protection
Advantage
Topical Flea and Tick Protection
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Easiest to Use
Bottom Line

This product is designed to protect large cats, over 9 lbs, from fleas, ticks, and other creepy critters.

Pros

This preventative targets fleas at every stage of life to prevent future outbreaks, too. One application kicks in within 12 hours and lasts up to 30 days. The fragrance-free, waterproof formula won't leave obnoxious residue or scents.

Cons

Some cat owners received shorter results than advertised after using on their pets.

HOW WE TESTED

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.

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Buying guide for best cat flea and tick prevention

Regardless of your cat's breed, age, or lifestyle, keeping her free of flea and ticks is an absolute necessity. Aside from completely ruining snuggle time, these bloodthirsty pests can cause some nasty health issues – not just for Fluffy but also for your human family. Thankfully, there are many safe and effective flea and tick treatments to choose from. But with so many options, it can be difficult to know where to start.

If you could do with some help, you've come to the right place! Here at BestReviews we’re on a mission to simplify your shopping experience. By identifying the qualities that matter most, we help our readers find the best products for every need and budget.

We’ve combed the market to find the best cat flea and tick prevention products currently available. To learn more about the best option for your feline friend, refer to our detailed guide below. In a hurry? Skip straight to our top five picks featured above for a quick selection.

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Always read the instructions carefully before using a flea and tick treatment. Even similar products of the same category can have different safety guidelines regarding age suitability, dosage, and correct usage.

Types of cat flea and tick prevention

When it comes to keeping fleas and ticks off your kitty, there is no shortage of treatments from which to choose. Picking the one that best suits your and your cat is key to keeping your furball and your family healthy and happy. Let's take a look at some of the most common forms of cat flea and tick prevention.

Spot-on treatments

These topical treatments are a popular option thanks to their easy-to-use convenience and long-lasting action. But you must make sure that spot-on treatments dry properly and are completely absorbed before handling your cat or allowing children to pet him.

Pros:

  • These products are easy to use, generally applied directly onto the skin at the base of the cat’s neck and between the shoulder blades to minimize the possibility of accidental removal or ingestion through grooming.

  • The treatment starts working within hours. The active chemicals gradually disperse over the skin and remain in the sweat glands.

  • The chemicals eliminate fleas and ticks for up to a month.

  • Once dry, the efficacy is undiminished by washing, grooming, or rain.
     

Cons:

  • Cats need to be kept away from children and other animals until the treatment is dry.

  • Kitties with sensitive skin may experience irritation, itching, or swelling.
     

Price: Spot-on treatments typically range from $30 to $55 for a six-month supply, but smaller quantities are available, too.

Oral flea and tick medications

Oral tick and flea preventatives are a good alternative for cat owners who are concerned about children or family members coming into contact with topical treatments.

Pros:

  • Most medications act within minutes.

  • Many offer the same benefits as spot-on treatments.

  • Vet-prescribed options provide long-lasting flea and tick protection.

  • There is no risk of the chemicals rubbing off on children or other pets.
     

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to administer – convincing a finicky feline to take oral medication can be tricky.

  • Not all offer the same level of pest control as spot-on treatments.

  • Sensitive cats may vomit up pills, and sneaky kitties may spit them out without owners being aware.

  • Oral medications can cause stomach upset and discomfort in some cats.

  • Many OTC varieties only provide pest protection for a day or so.
     

Price: Oral preventatives, which are available without prescription, can cost anywhere from $10 to $25 for six tablets.

Flea and tick collars

In terms of hassle-free convenience, flea and tick collars are hard to beat. These contain concentrated chemicals that are slowly and steadily released into the cat’s skin. If your kitty is already a host to unwelcome guests, be sure to choose a collar that's capable of killing existing parasites as well as keeping new ticks and fleas from taking up residence.

Pros:

  • These are easier to use than any other tick and flea prevention method.

  • Collars offer long-lasting protection (many work for up to eight months).

  • Most collars are reasonably priced.
     

Cons:

  • Cats who are unaccustomed to wearing collars may not accept this method.

  • The collar may cause skin irritation in some cats.

  • Some collars only repel ticks and fleas; they don’t kill any parasites already on the cat.

  • Collars typically aren't suitable for kittens under ten weeks old.
     

Price: Collars cost from $20 to $60, depending on the size, ingredients, safety features, and the duration of parasite protection offered.

Flea and tick sprays

When it comes to getting rid of fleas and ticks, sprays can be just as effective as other methods. Unfortunately, most cats will instinctively try to bolt the moment you trigger the very first squirt, and if she's a fighter, keeping her eyes and nose safe can be extremely difficult. We don't recommend using a spray-on tick and flea preventative if you already use a spray bottle filled with water to discourage undesirable behavior like scratching furniture or jumping on counters because your cat will likely view this as punishment.

Pros:

  • Sprays cover large areas quickly.

  • Most sprays work to kill ticks and fleas quickly.

  • Some sprays offer the same benefits as spot-on preventatives.
     

Cons:

  • Cats are unlikely to enjoy being sprayed.

  • Spray treatments may require more frequent reapplication than some other methods.

  • Sprays can be messy.

  • It’s difficult to avoid contact with the cat’s nose and eyes when using a spray.

  • Spray products are likelier to be ingested through grooming and cause stomach upset.
     

Price: Sprays used purely for prevention tend to be priced around $10, while those that provide more comprehensive protection can cost as much as $40.

Flea and tick powders

Flea and tick powders may seem relatively straightforward, but getting complete, even coverage is essential, and the chemicals are potentially harmful if ingested. Fortunately, more and more herbal-based flea and tick powders are entering the market. But while these may be a safer option, herbal powders may still cause gastrointestinal discomfort if swallowed. Consult a vet at the first sign of any adverse reactions, such as drooling, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Pros:

  • Powders are inexpensive and readily available from most retail outlets.

  • These products may also be used on bedding or carpeted areas.

  • Powders are easy to use.
     

Cons:

  • Powder needs to be reapplied weekly.

  • Powders pose a high risk of eye irritation.

  • You need to make sure that your kitty doesn't inhale or ingest the powder during application.

  • Powder can be difficult to apply properly. You must work it into nooks and crannies, such as under the legs and neck, because fleas and ticks often seek refuge in these hidden areas.

  • The chances of your kitty ingesting potentially harmful chemicals are high, and powders can cause stomach upset due to grooming.

  • Many powders aren't recommended for kittens under 12 weeks old.
     

Price: Powders are generally inexpensive and seldom cost more than $10.

Flea and tick shampoos

If you've recently adopted a cat from a shelter or rescued a local stray, flea and tick shampoos are a great starting point. Not only will a pest-busting soak instantly get rid of ticks and fleas, but a good freshening up will also allow you to cuddle your new best friend with confidence. Keep in mind that although shampoo works as an instant solution, you'll need to follow it up with a more comprehensive preventative, such as a collar or spot-on treatment.

Pros:

  • Shampoo treatments are relatively inexpensive.

  • These treatments work quickly.

  • Shampoo kills the ticks and fleas while freshening up your kitty at the same time.
     

Cons:

  • Most cats don't enjoy being bathed and may struggle or scratch.

  • The majority of shampoos don't work as a holistic pest prevention solution, leaving cats vulnerable to reinfestation.

  • Shampoos are best used in conjunction with other flea and tick prevention methods.
     

Price: Shampoos are usually priced from about $10 to $15.

Cat flea and tick prevention factors to consider

There are a great number of factors that might affect how well any given product works for your cat, so keep the following considerations in mind as you shop and you can increase your chances of finding a suitable option.

  • Age: If you're in search of pest prevention for a kitten, selecting an age-appropriate treatment is vital to his health. Flea and tick preventives for adult cats typically contain higher concentrations of chemicals that may be harmful or even fatal to kittens. Always check the packaging for age and weight guidelines.

  • Fur length: If you're considering using topical preventatives, such as spot-on treatments, sprays, or powders, consider the length of your cat's fur. While reaching the skin of short-haired cats is relatively easy, this may prove more difficult with long-haired kitties. For extra-fluffy furballs with thick coats, oral medications or collars may be a better option.

  • Duration of efficacy: To keep fleas and ticks at bay, it's essential that you follow up with additional treatments as specified by the manufacturer. When using shampoos, powders, or sprays, be sure to note how frequently the product should be used and stick to these guidelines as closely as possible.

  • Lifestyle: Your cat's lifestyle is an important consideration when selecting a tick and flea prevention product. Indoor cats may do well with simpler products like shampoos or powders. However, for lion-hearted felines who simply won't be restricted to indoor living, you'll need a more heavy-duty option. Spot-on treatments are a preferred choice for many owners of free-roaming kitties. Dual action collars can also do a great job of keeping your cat pest-free.

  • Price: There are many formulations and brands of tick and flea prevention products, and individual prices can range from the eyebrow-raisingly expensive to the suspiciously cheap. When in doubt, it's best to stick with reputable brands – and asking your vet for advice never hurts!

Tips

  • If you’re unsure of the birth date or weight of an adopted kitten, a quick trip to the vet can help clear things up and determine the best way to keep your kitty free of fleas and ticks.

  • Long-lasting treatments such as spot-on prevention or a collar can help reduce the chances of missing a dose and unintentionally leaving your cat vulnerable to pests.

  • If you opt for a flea and tick collar and your cat happens to be a climber (as most are), choose one with a quick-release clasp to prevent accidental snagging and possible choking.

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Young kittens, older cats, and pregnant or lactating felines frequently require special care and consideration. If your cat needs urgent tick and flea treatment, we recommend seeking veterinary advice to determine the safest options.

FAQ

Q. Do indoor cats need a flea and tick prevention product?

A. The answer to this question is a resounding “yes”! Even if your kitty is a sheltered princess who never sets a pampered paw outside, she’ll still need protection from ticks and fleas. These pests can easily be carried indoors by other pets, household pests like rats and mice, and even humans.

Q. Is it really necessary to use flea and tick prevention year-round?

A. Unfortunately, ticks and fleas are exceptionally hardy critters, and the eggs can lay dormant in nooks and crannies both inside and outside of the home, even in colder climates. To keep your cat healthy it’s best to ensure that he remains protected through all seasons.

Q. Can I use dog and cat flea and tick medications interchangeably?

A. Unless the packaging clearly specifies that your product is suitable for both cats and dogs, this isn’t recommended. Dosages can vary dramatically and in many cases, formulations intended for dogs – even smaller breeds – can be fatal to cats.

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