Flea Products For Cats

by Elisa Black-Taylor

Flea products for cats would seem like an easy search to conduct on the internet. After all, there are literally hundreds to choose from. Each product claiming to rid your beloved cat of every flea from head to tail.

I remember back in the day when all a cat lover had to choose from was a flea collar or flea powder. The collar could easily choke a cat if it becomes entangled in anything. And the powder-DON’T even go there! It smelled as though you were putting fertilizer on your cat.

Then along came the flea sprays, then the spot treatments and the pills that kill fleas from the inside out.

Of course the problem with flea powders and sprays is a certain amount of risk if the cat ingests the poison while grooming.

Selamectin, the primary ingredient in the spot treatment Revolution, has been shown to have serious side effect in some cats. A simple Google search for “selamectin dangers” informs you as to the health risks associated with this drug. Yet those who use it swear by it’s effectiveness and say their cats never suffered any ill effects. The same holds true with other flea spot treatments such as Frontline and Advantage.

Be sure not to confuse Advantage with Advantix as the latter is toxic to cats.

Spot treatments should be placed at the back of the neck where cats aren’t likely to lick it off. I’m really not sure there’s a spot on a cat that can’t be groomed by a cat whether it be from licking or using the front paws.

Doing my research of flea products led me to this page and I’d like to share it with you. It compares the many products on the market and tells what it does and whether for a cat or dog. It’s an easy chart to understand and also has a website address in case more information is needed.

There’s also an oral medication to kill fleas. One popular brand, Capstar, is taken in pill or liquid form and a small amount of the drug enters the cats bloodstream. This kills the fleas within so many hours and also kills any eggs that may be laid before the flea dies (link).

I found a great Advantage kit on Amazon that’s ideal for cat/dog families or with cats of different weights as you can adjust the dose. I also found a generic for Capstar. Below are the links to these products. I hope these prices are low enough so everyone can afford to treat their pets this summer.

Methoprene is an insecticide found in BioSpot products that acts as a growth inhibitor towards fleas. This is one other option to consider in the fight against fleas.

We use a lot of diatomaceous earth to kill fleas among my cats. Make sure to use the food grade and not the regular. I also read diatomaceous earth is used to kill bedbugs. I order mine from a site called MoreThanAlive and transfer it from a clear bag into a shaker. Just be sure not to allow the cat to breathe in the dust and be sure to dust the bedding. Since this is also used as a de-wormer it won’t harm the cat if licked off.

I’ve also sprayed a 50/50 mixture of raw apple cider vinegar and water on my cats to deter fleas. The odor will eventually get to you and you’ll tire of your cat smelling like a salad. Unfortunately most flea products that actually WORK don’t smell very nice.

I hope I’ve given all of you some valuable information on flea control. When I addressed this question to my friends on Facebook I received all kinds of reactions. This is poisonous, no that’s poisonous. Use this, not that. I still have a free-for-all discussion going on my page as I write this.

So readers, please comment on how you control fleas on YOUR cats and how long you’ve been using a product. Also let everyone know if there’s an inexpensive product that works and can be found at stores such as PetSmart or Petco. That way we can all get a little more educated on what’s best for our cats without bankrupting our wallets.

Learning what’s best for our cats is the reason we’re on pictures-of-cats.org in the first place.


Selected Related pages on PoC:

Cat Flea Treatment

Flea Treatments Can Kill

Cat Flea Biology

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Flea Products For Cats

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May 30, 2011
part 2
by: Pam

We do bathe small kittens and comb them, but we still use Advantage afterwards – we can’t risk any fleas. We use 0.2 ml on small kittens, 0.4 ml on smaller cats and 0.8 ml on bigger ones. We hate to admit it, but on two occasions two of our cats received Advatage accidentally by mouth (my friend put the Advantage in an empty Antirobe bottle and didn’t label it – I thought it was Antirobe, a med used for mouth problems/stomatitis). Lessons learned: (A) ALWAYS LABEL THE BOTTLE YOU DECANT THE ADVANTAGE INTO FROM THE TUBE. (B) Even cats who have received 1 ml of Advantage by mouth have suffered no lasting ill-effects. One cat vomited (we of course called Bayer in both cases), was treated for that and recovered quickly – he was about 12 at the time and is now 14 and in good health. The other cat is of unknown age but quite elderly. She did stop eating after being dosed with the Advantage, but that was probably because she already had severe stomatitis (poor Louise!). She did recover, however, and is still with us – despite still having a bad mouth, chronic upper resp. and being quite ancient! We have used Revolution for a few cats here and there when we needed to treat for earmites and couldn’t get other meds into their ears because they were feral/skittish etc., but do so only warily as we did have one cat have a major reaction to Revolution – his eyes dilated immediately after application and h3 became peculiarly aggressive, hissing and spitting, and suffered nystagmus and other neurological symptoms. We called the poison hotline and as instructed washed it off immediately and the cat recovered within 30 minutes or so. We used Frontline briefly when one of our vets changed to selling only that product, but we found it did not work as well for cats, and other cat owners have said the same. Dog owners, however, seem to prefer it. Walmart is advertising a product that is supposedly the same as Frontline but less expensive. Finally, if you don’t need it, don’t use anything – i.e. get rid of fleas initially, then keep pets indoors where possible and if flea-free, don’t worry about monthly dosing. We use only if we have a flea problem. Natural products etc., unfortunately simply don’t do the trick. Never mix products, especially collars, sprays, and some of the less expensive spot-ons. Severe reactions, if any, are usually due to incorrect dosing and/or not reading instructions.”

May 30, 2011
Info on Advantage
by: Pam

Know your cat’s weight. We (Carolina Cats in Columbia, SC) have used Advantage since it first came out. Used on 1000’s of cats, only two or three mild skin reactions in all that time. Have long used the 55-lb+ dog size and divided it up, to save money. CAUTIONS: The various Bayer products have similar names but different ingredients. Advantix IS FOR DOGS ONLY. Advantage regular IS BEING DISCONTINUED according to Bayer (I called them to ask last week and they confirmed this). Advantage II is the replacement product, apparently and IT IS NOT THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL ADVANTAGE – IT CONTAINS A NEW INGREDIENT THAT KILLS THE EGGS AND LARVA. We, however, are wary of using something new when we feel we don’t really need it – Advantage has worked perfectly for us for all these years – why do we need an additional ingredient now? Perhaps those of you whose cats go outside might need it, but be cautious. ALSO NOTE: Advantage Multi IS NOT THE SAME AS ADVANTAGE OR ADVANTAGE II – it contains moxidectin (
for heartworms/earmites) and is more difficult to divide up; adverse reactions might be higher with moxidectin, but useful if you have a cat with earmites and cannot easily treat them with standard treatments. We stick to plain Advantage most of the time – our premise is that the less you have to put on them, the better, but it is not feasible to simply bathe and comb as many as we have to deal with.

May 30, 2011
Check expiry dates on all treatments
by: Ruth

Whichever product used for cats it’s vitally important to check the expiry date because cats have died through people using out of date treatments for fleas and for worms.
Cats have also died through people using dog treatments on their cats.
It would be rare for medication from a vet to be out of date but it can happen, also if buying any medication at all on-line ensure it hasn’t been relabelled and the expiry date hidden.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

May 30, 2011
Where to apply
by: Kathy N.

it’s the same formula if you use the original formula Advantage; NOT advantix…and, of corse, much much less. Use a little syringe with cc’s or ml’s and, for small cats, .4; for 10#’s and up, approx .6 – the newer products are not interchangable and all topicals are placed high on the shoulders, between and in such a way that the cat (or dog) cannot lick it off. This has always been the way suggested for application of topical flea and tic meds.

May 30, 2011
by: Marr

This stuff is poison & is being applied right into the spine, at the base of the skull! Steep lemon in water & douse on ur animal’s coat & let dry. Great natural remedy for fleas. Get rid of all carpet & grass–havens for fleas. Sprinkle nutritional yeast on their food. Fleas dont like the smell of that coming out their pours. It has a cheesy type flavor & adds B vitamins in a natural, safe way. Put lavender sachets in bedding. (I use Traders Joe’s dryer sachets).

May 30, 2011
by: Michael

Thanks Elisa. I treat flea treatments with caution. Once many years ago, when I wasn’t so well educated about cats, I tried a flea spray. My little girl cat licked it off as she would – a cat is bound to lick of this stuff as it is foreign material on the coat – and she started to foam at the mouth! Horror. I took her to the vet and she was OK but it looked bad.

I think the best way is to keep the home as clean as possible, carpet clean, flea comb our cat regularly (once per day) and if the flea is persistent to use the flea drop on the back of the neck. In other words to minimize chemicals.

But in a multi-cat household a more vigorous approach is probably necessary as you suggest.

Diatomaceous earth is something I have not tried but the good thing about it is that it is completely safe. It works by cutting the exoskeleton (external skeleton) of the flea. The microscopic granules are sharp but safe to eat as you say. It is used on farms where it is fed to livestock by adding it to their food to kill internal parasites in the gut.

Apparently a good number of people don’t read the instructions and hurt or even kill their cat using flea treatments (see related link that I added). People also use dog flea treatments on cats which poisons the cat – this is an absolute NO as you say.

This visitor was poisoning her cats as far as I could tell on the evidence presented.

Michael Avatar

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