Fleas are an irritating but common problem for kitties and their owners. They’re one of the most common feline parasites, and come in almost 2,000 varieties world wide. Fleas are impressive little blighters, capable of leaping more than 100 times their own length, and their pupae can survive without food in their cocoons for upwards of a year.
This surprising tenacity makes fleas a challenging parasite to treat, but there are plenty of different options you can try to rid your pet and your home of this pint-sized menace. In this buying guide, we run through the best flea treatments for cats, covering everything from flea collars to oral medication. To help you select the right option (or options) for your feline friend, we’ve also compiled a handy buying guide. Here, you’ll find answers to some common flea-related questions, helping you to banish the critters for good.
The Best Flea Treatment For Cats
The first method of flea control for cats to make our list is this collar by pharmaceutical powerhouse, Bayer. The collar works by slowly releasing a non-greasy, odorless substance that kills and repels both fleas and ticks, without harming your cat. The active ingredients are naturally dispersed throughout their coat, offering eight months of protection against pesky parasites.
The collar is easy to use, too – simply place it around your kitty’s neck like you would with a regular collar, and worry no more. The collar is a great option for cats who don’t take well to pills, and owners who want to avoid the hassle of monthly spot-on applications. Owners report that the collar works perfectly, offering cats relief in a matter of hours, keeping pesky fleas at bay for many months.
Collar kills and repels fleas and ticks
Easy to use – simply place on your cat like a regular collar
Slowly releases non-greasy, odorless substance to repel and kill fleas
Ideal alternative for cats who struggle to take pills
Gets to work in a matter of hours
Active ingredients released slowly and consistently
- BrandBayer Animal Health
- Weight1.6 ounces
Frontline are a well-known name when it comes to flea treatment, and their flea medicine for cats is the next option to earn itself a spot on our list. This proven flea and tick protection is veterinarian-approved, and helps to treat and prevent infestation from these hardy critters.
The treatment only needs to be applied once every 30 days, and kills parasites at every stage of their life cycle – from eggs, to larvae, to fully grown adults. It’s simple to apply, too, and totally safe and comfortable for your cat. Drawing from nearly 20 years of experience, Frontline’s flea medicine for kittens and cats is a safe, long-lasting, and non-invasive way to neutralise the threat of fleas and ticks for good.
Spot-on flea and tick treatment to be applied externally every 30 days
Kills both fleas and ticks at all stages of their lifecycle
Simple to apply
Safe for both kittens and cats
Frontline have provided flea and tick protection for 20 years
- Weight0.16 ounces
Next on our list is this topical flea treatment for cats by Elanco. The formula is gentle enough for cats of all ages, making it an ideal solution for flea outbreaks in households with more than one feline friend. It acts fast; beginning to kill fleas just 30 minutes after the first application. To keep fleas at bay, owners need only re-apply the solution once every 30 days.
Studies show that within 12 hours of initial application, all fleas were killed. It’s designed to last, too, providing 99% flea control for the full month. To use Elanco’s flea treatment, simply apply the fast-drying solution to the base of your kitty’s neck, between the shoulder blades. Kittens aged 8 weeks and up can benefit from the treatment, which customers say is incredibly effectiv. The formula also contains a lower concentration of pesticide that other flea control solutions on the market, making it safer for both you and your pets.
Topical flea treatment to be applied on a monthly basis
Suitable for cats and kittens aged 8 weeks and older
Kills 100% of fleas within 12 hours of application
Gets to work within just 30 minutes
Easy to use
Lower concentration of pesticide compared to other products
Safe for cats
- BrandElanco Animal Health
- Weight0.6 ounces
The next flea killer for cats to make our list is another treatment from Bayer Animal Health. Their Advantage II formula works to kill fleas on contact, unlike other treatments that require fleas to bite cats in order to receive the dosage. The effective yet safe solution can kill fleas at multiple life stages, helping to break the cycle and keep kitty flea-free for longer.
Each treatment takes only a moment to apply, and remains effective for four weeks. It’s also waterproof, so you can rest assured it won’t wash off in the rain, and outdoor cats will be treated just as effectively as their indoor counterparts. It’s easy to apply, and odorless, so your feline friend won’t even know they’ve been treated. With Advantage II, your cat can simply go about their favourite activities without the itchy nuisance of fleas.
Topical flea treatment to be applied every four weeks
Kills fleas upon contact – no need for them to bite your cat first
Kills eggs and larvae as well as adult fleas
Quick and easy to apply
Waterproof, odorless formula
Suitable for cats aged 8 weeks and older
- BrandBayer Animal Health
- Weight2.56 ounces
If your household is home to both canines and felines, this flea medication for cats and dogs could be the perfect solution. The fast-acting solution comes in the form of an oral tablet, and gets to work killing fleas just six hours after the dose has been taken. A single dose is powerful enough to kill all the adult fleas on your pet’s coat, but you can give them up to one dose per day to tackle more severe infestations.
It’s easy to administer, by simply hiding the tablet in a tasty morsel of food. Users report that fleas died quickly, giving you a 24 hour window to thoroughly clean your home and use a comb or shampoo to remove eggs and larvae from your cat’s coat. The fact that the treatment works its way out of your pet’s system much faster than a topical treatment is another advantage for owners hoping to expose animals to pesticides for as brief a window as possible.
Oral flea medication suitable for both cats and dogs
Kills all adult fleas in your animal’s coat
Starts to work within six hours for cats (and four hours for dogs)
Easy to administer by hiding tablets in a morsel of food
Exposes pets to pesticides for a very brief window
- Weight0.64 ounces
The next flea meds for cats to earn themselves a spot on our list are these fast-acting capsules by Petarmor. All cats and dogs weighing two pounds or more, and four weeks of age and up, are suitable candidates for these flea tablets, which begin to work within 30 minutes of ingestion.
Once inside your pet’s system, the treatment works to kill all adult fleas on their skin. The 90% effective formula completes its work in around six hours for cats, and four hours for dogs. Even better, the FDA-approved treatment is safe for pregnant and nursing cats and dogs, helping to keep new moms comfortable, and prevent the spread of fleas to their kittens and puppies. As with all oral flea treatments, Petarmor’s tablets work best when combined with another treatment to deal with eggs and larvae, along with thorough house cleaning.
Oral flea treatment suitable for both cats and dogs
Safe for puppies and kittens weighing at least 2 pounds, and over 4 weeks old
Safe for pregnant and nursing animals
Starts to work within 30 minutes of ingestion
Formula is 90% effective against adult fleas after only 4 to 6 hours
Works best when combined with treatments to tackle eggs and larvae
- Weight1.44 ounces
Sentry Petcare have also impressed us, with their effective and affordable topical treatment. This versatile solution kills and repels not only fleas, but also ticks and chewing lice. The vet-quality formula need only be applied once every 30 days, and is quick and easy to use.
Suitable for cats and kittens aged eight weeks and up, Sentry’s spot-on formula is waterproof, and quick to dry. It’s also safe enough for pregnant and nursing cats, giving them the protection they need at this important stage of their life. Owners say it’s an effective and convenient way to prevent cats succumbing to flea and tick infestations, helping to protect them not only from discomfort, but also from the Lyme disease which ticks can harbor.
Topical flea, tick, and lice solution
Repels and kills parasites
Effective for 30 days once applied
Waterproof and quick to dry
Safe for pregnant and nursing cats
Safe for kittens aged 4 weeks and up, and weighing more than 1.5 pounds
- BrandSENTRY Pet Care
- ModelZX2295 06 12
- Weight1.6 ounces
Sentry have earned themselves a second spot on our list with their effective flea and tick shampoo. Its active ingredients work to kill fleas, ticks, and lice, while proving your kitty with a gentle cleanse that leaves their coat soft and shiny. The carefully blended formula contains a rich coconut conditioner, designed to soothe itchy skin, helping your cat to recover from their encounter with fleas.
The shampoo also features a pleasant coconut and berry fragrance, making it enjoyable to use, and keeping cats smelling fresh. All cats and kittens aged 12 weeks and older can be bathed with this flea and tick shampoo. Owners report that cats are far happier and more comfortable after being washed with this formula – even though they hate baths. The shampoo provides effective relief from the itching caused by fleas, killing 98% of the critters on contact. The dead fleas can then be rinsed out of your cat’s coat, while any remaining eggs and larvae can be teased out with a fine-toothed flea comb.
Flea and tick shampoo for cats
Kills adult fleas, ticks, and lice upon contact
Contains rich coconut conditioner to soothe irritated skin and leave fur soft and shiny
Features a pleasant coconut and berry scent
Suitable for cats and kittens aged 12 weeks and up
98% effective against fleas, ticks, and lice
- BrandSENTRY Pet Care
- Weight11.2 ounces
Making their second entry on our list is Petarmor, this time with an effective topical treatment. Simply apply the fast-acting formula to the base of your cat’s neck, between the shoulder blades, to provide lasting protection against fleas, ticks, and the damage they can cause. The vet-quality formula acts to repel fleas and ticks, and kills any adult bugs it comes into contact with.
It’s easy to apply, and cats need only be treated once every 30 days. Because the formula is waterproof, too, there’s no need to worry about the protection it offers washing away in the rain. This hardiness makes Petarmor’s treatment a great preventative solution for indoor and outdoor cats alike. It’s also suitable for cats of all ages; kittens can be treated from the age of eight weeks, provided they weigh at least 1.5 pounds.
Topical flea and tick treatment for cats
Kills adult fleas and ticks in your cat’s coat
Repels fleas, ticks, and lice
Quick and easy to apply
Each dosage lasts for a full month
Suitable for kittens aged 8 weeks and older
- ModelZX1159 01
- Weight0.8 ounces
The last flea treatment to make it onto our list is this oral solution, made by Sentry. The versatile capsule can be used to treat fleas in both cats and dogs, making it a great option if you live with multiple pets. The fast-acting tablet gets to work in just 30 minutes, offering relief to your four-legged friend quickly.
Because the treatment is ingested, there’s no danger of it washing off, and being rendered ineffective. You can expect all adult fleas in your pet’s coat to be dead in a matter of hours once you’ve given them the dose. The FDA approved formula lasts for 24 hours, giving you plenty of time to root out any eggs and larvae in your pet’s hair or in your home. This step is vital to prevent reinfestation. Owners say that this cost-effective flea treatment resolved their pest problem fast, without any adverse effect on their feline friends.
Oral flea treatment
Kills adult fleas in your cat’s coat in a matter of hours
FDA approved formula
Remains effective for 24 hours
Great value for money
- BrandSENTRY Pet Care
- Weight1.6 ounces
Best Flea Treatment for Cats Buying Guide
Whatever your preferred flea treatment method, we’re confident there’s something on our list that works for you and your pet. To help you work out which one is right for your feline friend, we’ve put together this useful guide.
Fleas are tenacious little beasties, and when it’s time to treat them, it can be difficult to know where to start. Below, we discuss the pros and cons of different treatment options, and why exactly they’re so important.
What to Look for in Flea Treatments for Cats
When choosing a flea treatment for your feline friend, there are some key factors to bear in mind:
- Ease of Use
If a flea treatment is simple to use, you are far more likely to keep up with doses. For example, if your cat doesn’t take kindly to oral medication, it’s a good idea to use a topical treatment to prevent and cure flea infestations.
Whatever medication you are giving your pet, safety should be the number one priority. If your cat has any health conditions which you think could affect their reaction to flea treatments, be sure to consult with your vet before making a decision. You should also read the manufacturer’s advice carefully before starting a flea treatment - some may not be suitable for your cat, due to factors such as their age and allergies.
Be sure to select a treatment that’s appropriate for your cat’s condition - for instance, if you attempt to treat a flea infestation with a product designed only for prevention, it is unlikely to succeed. It’s far better to do a little research then end up with an ineffective treatment.
Why Does My Cat Need Flea Treatment
Fleas might seem like a fairly low-level problem - they’re very common, and only seem to cause itching. However, flea infestations can be far more damaging than many of us would imagine.
Below are some surprising flea-related issues:
- Cats can develop an allergy to fleas, resulting in painful dermatitis
- Fleas often carry tapeworms, which can be transmitted to your cat if they ingest them
- Fleas can also transmit a blood parasite called haemobartonella, which can lead to serious cases of anemia
- In the American southwest, some fleas carry dangerous Yersinia Pestis bacteria - the cause of the plague
- Fleas can also bite humans, carrying all these risks to you and your household
To avoid these issues, it’s important that owners take action to prevent flea infestations, and treat them where they do occur.
What Are The Different Types of Flea Treatments for Cats
Fortunately, fleas can be treated with a whole host of methods:
- Sprays, Shampoos, and Dips - a dip, special shampoo, or flea spray for cats, are topical solutions. They work to kill adult fleas on impact, but do not treat larvae and eggs.
- Spot-on Treatments - these treatments contain a small volume of liquid, which is applied between your cat’s shoulder blades once a month. They vary in effectiveness, with some killing ticks at all lifecycle stages, and others only killing adults. They’re largely preventative.
- Flea Collars - flea collars contain topical flea treatment. They’re easy to use, long-lasting, and make a great preventative solution.
- Oral Treatments - fleas can also be killed by giving your pet a tablet. They contain a pesticide that’s safe for cats, but deadly to fleas. When this substance works its way into the cat’s bloodstream, any ticks which bite them will receive a deadly dose. These formulas treat infestations very well, but do not kill eggs and larvae.
- Flea Combs - these fine-toothed combs should be used alongside another treatment method. When used correctly, they can remove eggs, larvae, and adult fleas from your cat’s coat, ending the infestation for good.
Best Flea Treatment for Cats FAQ:
Q: How do I know if my cat has fleas?
A: The following symptoms suggest that your cat has fleas:
- Scratching and biting at their skin
- Excessive grooming
- Hair loss
- Avoiding certain areas of your home, especially carpets and soft furnishings
- Agitation and restlessness
- Red lesions or scabs on the skin
- Pale gums
- Pepper-like specks in their fur
- Red spots of flea dirt in your cat’s bedding
Q: How often should I use flea treatment for cats?
A: This depends on the type of treatment you are using, and whether you are treating or preventing an infestation.
Fleas are active for a large portion of the year, from May to November. During these months, it’s a good idea to treat your cat with a spot-on solution once a month.
If your cat already has fleas, treatment methods will vary, and you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Remember that oral treatments should be combined with a thorough combing session, and cleaning your home extensively.
Q: Can I prevent my cat from getting fleas?
A: Fleas are tricky, and there is no way to reduce your cat’s risk of being bitten to 0%. However, there is plenty you can do to help repel fleas, and significantly reduce your cat’s odds of developing an infestation:
- During flea season, (May to November) use a monthly spot on treatment to repel fleas from your cat
- Regularly vacuum your carpets, rugs, and floors to remove and flea eggs from between the fibers or planks
- Wash your cat’s bedding at a high temperature regularly, to kill any eggs or larvae lingering there
- Watch out for flea symptoms carefully
- Consider using a flea comb on your cat every month or so
- Consider washing your cat with a flea shampoo regularly during flea season
Q: Can a person get fleas from a cat?
A: Humans can, indeed, be bitten by cat fleas, and the problem will only be resolved once the household, and all its pets, are flea-free.
Flea bites will usually occur on your legs and feet, and develop into itchy, red, weals. Although these bites are unpleasant, you are very unlikely to develop an infection or further complications.
Flea bites will go away on their own given time, but you can speed the process along by washing the affected area with an antibacterial soap, and soothing the itching with aloe vera or an ice pack.
Q: How do I apply frontline?
A: Frontline is a common spot-on treatment, which is quick and easy to apply:
- Ensure your pet is old enough to be treated (usually eight weeks or older)
- Remove your cat’s collar
- Break off a single applicator, and open it by snapping back the tip
- Pour the contents of the applicator onto your cat, just between the shoulder blades, by squeezing the liquid out
- Avoid touching the liquid, and allow it to dry for 24 hours before allowing your cat to get wet
Our Top Pick
In our opinion, Seresto’s small but mighty flea and tick collar is the best flea medicine for cats on the market right now. Although it’s more of an investment than conventional topical treatments, it does provide eight months of protection. This means you can protect your kitty from the threat of fleas for just over $7 per month.
The collar disperses a flea and tick killing formula throughout your cat’s coat, ensuring that pests are dispatched on contact before they can become a problem. It also repels fleas and ticks, making it an ideal preventative measure. It’s also one of the easiest options to use - simply place around your cat’s neck like a regular collar, and let it do all the work. Overall, this non-greasy, mess-free, and odorless flea treatment keeps cats safe from these parasites effortlessly.