Fleas can be very tough to find in cats. However, cats are very diligent groomers, so you often don't see any evidence of flea infestation. In addition, when cats pay a visit to a vet with scabs down their back and no sign of fleas, that is common. In these cases, a flea infestation is the underlying problem. However, for many cats, the name of the game regarding fleas is subtle.
If you think your cat cannot have fleas because they don't go outside, you will be surprised to know that even though it is indoors, it can get fleas.
Fleas are so sneaky that they can hitch into your home in clothing or shoes. Dogs can also bring them in or even jump through window screens.
It doesn't matter how fleas get inside; if cats are not treated for fleas, no cat is immune to their ravages.
Best Options To Get Rid of Fleas on Cats
Luckily, cat fleas treatments have improved, and many options are available.
Use Flea Treatments That Are Made for Cats
Cats are more sensitive to medication than dogs, so you must ensure you don't use dog medicine on cats. Unfortunately, many cats have died from misconception.
Not all medications are safe or effective; although they are labeled "For Cats," some cats are more sensitive to these products than others. Whenever you have doubts, contact your veterinarian to see which medicine is best for your cat.
Till now, flea collars were not that popular for cats. They didn't work—plus, cats seemed to hate wearing them. However, the Seresto collar, made by Bayer, did change this.
Seresto collar has multiple ingredients, flumethrin and imidacloprid, which have increased the product's effectiveness. It will protect your cat from fleas (also some action against ticks) for as long as eight months.
It starts working in 24 hours, and fleas do not need to bite their cats to be killed.
Some of the latest, newest and greatest products are in the market. Many of those products work well and need to be applied monthly.
Most of them have a capacity of water resistance (if needed, then you can bathe your cat) and generally act within 12 hours. The advantage of these medicines is that they typically kill fleas on contact, so fleas don't need to bite the cat to be killed.
Some products can also kill ticks, ear mites, and internal parasites and prevent heartworm disease. Since these are monthly applications, you have flexibility in dosing (some infestations may need more frequent applications as your vet recommends).
Nighttime is best to treat your cat if you have young children at home (after kids go to bed). Let the product dry before contacting your pet in the morning. Here are some products:
Each product has cons and pros, so it is best to consult your vet, who can help to find the best medication for your cat.
Oral Treatment For Fleas
Many people prefer oral products for cats because no residual medication is left on your cat's coat.
The biggest concern with oral flea medicine is that once you give the medication, it is in your cat's system until it wears off. There is no natural way to eliminate the medicine from the system if your cat reacts to the treatment (unlike topical that can be washed off and collars that can be removed).
Fleas must bite cats to be killed with oral flea products; they are not killed upon contact. Unfortunately, this means that flea-allergic cats will still show significant skin sensitivity related with flea bites until the fleas have been eliminated.
However, these products work quickly, within about 12 hours after being administered.
Here are some flea tablets for cats:
Remember to Treat Your Home
Always remember that with every live flea you see, up to 10,000 more fleas are waiting in the environment, and they come to inform if larvae, eggs, and pupae are waiting to feed.
The more larvae and eggs you can clear out of the house, the fewer adults will hatch and cause problems for your cat. In many cases, the most effective way here is to be diligent in laundering and vacuuming any bedding your cat lies on.
Washing pet laundry through the dryer and washer a few times a week will also kill and remove some of these "fleas in waiting." Even hardwood floors and running the vacuum cleaner twice a week will also help eliminate some of the flea larvae and eggs.
How Long You Must Treat Your Cat For Fleas?
Flea treatment is not a one-and-done experience. It will not be enough to use flea medication year-round; you also need to treat your full household.
You see a rash on your cat and you treat only them, the fleas will search for someone else to feed on in your home. By rule, all pets with fur need to be treated for fleas to get rid of them from the house.
How Long It Takes to Clear a Flea Infestation?
Unfortunately, to get rid of fleas is not a fast process since an infestation is over once all the eggs in the environment have matures and hatched. You can fasten up the process by doing all you can to remove those eggs and larvae physically, but in most cases, it can take up to four months to completely clear a household of fleas.
The flea life cycle is faster in warm climates and slower in cooler temperatures. But fleas will come back if you will stop treating your pets.