Protect Your Cat and Home From Fleas
A cat who scratches, chews her skin, or seems restless could mean that she has fleas. You can ease her itch (and protect yourself) by knowing how to spot and destroy fleas on your pet and in your house.
Do a Flea Check
Before you spend money on flea treatments, find out if these pests have settled on your cat:
- Watch for any signs of movement in her fur. If you spot tiny bugs bouncing off her coat, it’s time to fight fleas.
- Comb your cat with a fine-toothed metal flea comb from head to tail several times a day. This will skim off adult fleas and their eggs and ease her itching.
- Then, dip the comb in a mixture of water and liquid dish detergent to kill the fleas.
How to Prevent Fleas
Your cat's warm, furry coat and nourishing blood supply are a flea's dream home. Protect your pet with a flea barrier to prevent these tiny pests from settling in. There are a few different types:
Products you put on your cat. Spot-on treatments are safer, more convenient, and more effective than traditional dusts, shampoos, and sprays. You can buy them from your vet or online. Ask your vet where on your cat to put the product, how much to apply, and how often to use it. If you’re not getting the treatment from your vet, read the product label first to make sure it's safe for cats. Some common active ingredients and brands include:
- Fipronil (Frontline Plus)
- Imidacloprid (Advantage)
- Selamectin (Stronghold/Revolution)
A flea collar with flumethrin and imidacloprid (Seresto) can also work well.
Medicines your cat eats. The pill nitenpyram (Capstar) kills adult fleas on your cat within 30 minutes. It doesn’t have any lasting effects, though. Spinosad (Comfortis) is a fast-acting chewable that starts killing fleas before they lay eggs. It provides a full month of flea protection to help prevent future hatchings.
De-Flea Your Home
A female flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day. Those can roll right off your cat and onto your carpet, couch, or comforter. Give them the chance to hatch, and you'll have a full-blown flea infestation on your hands.