Fleas are likely to be a problem for you and your cat at some point during its lifetime, especially if your cat is one that ventures outdoors.
Cats can come into contact with others that may have fleas, so even your squeaky clean feline friend can become home to the miniscule horrors!
Fleas are a problem not only because they bite and irritate us humans, but also because they do the same to the cat, and many cats can suffer quite serious allergic reactions to flea bites, resulting in lost hair and many other problems.
So, it pays to have flea treatment ready in the home for your cat – or indeed cats – but which one is the best?
There are many on the market, usually from specialist manufacturers of pet products, so we have picked the seven examples that we believe to be the ones to choose from. We also recommend you have a chat with your vet about their recommendations, which may well be among those we are about to list.
7 Best Cat Flea Treatments Available
The Frontline range of ‘Spot On’ products remains among the most popular of all flea treatments for cats, yet some vets have reported that the formula is no longer as effective as it once was, with the fleas seemingly having evolved to survive it. This is entirely possible, yet the product still sells in vast numbers and many users report it as successful.
This is a pack of 6 pipettes – you simply cut the end off and squeeze the liquid onto the cats fur, assuming you can keep the animal still – and it claims to kill fleas with 24 hours. It is recommended you apply to the cat once a month, so this pack – at a little less than £20 – should last six months.
Designed for cats of 8 weeks and more, and weighing 1kg or over, it comes with good reviews from some customers, but many say it does not work. It’s up to you whether you try it, but as with all of these, it is recommended you talk to your vet as they may be able to advise you on better treatment.
- Known brand
- 6 month supply
- Works within 24 hours
- Easy to use
- Contains chemicals
- Many buyers say it doesn’t work
- More expensive than some
Another well-known and respectable brand in the world of pet products, this is the Johnson’s ‘4Fleas’ treatment suitable for cats and kittens, and also another very popular product with pet owners. This is also a 6-pack purchase – and the price is very good indeed considering – and claims to start killing fleas within 15 minutes of application. That’s a bold claim, as is the one that says it will kill all of them within 24 hours, which appears to be a standard claim for these products.
This one is in tablet form, which may make it more difficult to give to the pet. Although some people have success with hiding the pill in a tasty treat, cats are far from stupid, and do have a tendency to eat around the pill. Does it work? Over 1400 people have commented on this product, and of those, some 70% give it a 5-star rating for getting rid of fleas. However, at least 10% complain that not only did it not work, but the cat suffered reactions which in some cases resulted in a visit to the vets. It is likely there is an ingredient that some cats react badly to, so as always, get advice from your vet.
- Quick acting
- 6 pack (should last a few months for one cat)
- Great price
- Many success stories reported
- Some worrying reports of adverse reactions
- Comes in pill form which can be difficult
This is another of the liquid-type of flea control, which is perhaps the most common of all the designs, and for most people is the easiest to apply. It is also another that uses the chemical ‘Fipronil’, which those above also do. There is a section at the end of these descriptions that will tell you all about fipronil, and why it is used in flea products. So, you get six pipettes – the idea is you cut the end off and then squeeze the liquid onto the fur at the top of the cats neck. This performance can be fun, as rest assured your cat will not appreciate it!
This one claims to kill fleas for as long as five weeks (it actually says ‘kills fleas for 5 weeks’ in the description; do they then come back to life?) so if you have one cat you have around six months supply. It’s for use on cats of 8-weeks old and 1kg in weight, and it claims to be effective. As with all of these, we found many favourable comments, and others that claim it is ineffective. It’s a decent price, and might be recommended by a vet – or might not.
- 6 pack
- 6 month supply
- Kills quickly
- Applied by pipette
- Sensible price
- Many complaints of it being ineffective
- Some reports of adverse reactions
This one is from the same brand as above, and appears to be very similar albeit with a different product name and in different packaging. It comes as six pipettes, so that’s six monthly treatments, and makes all the claims that others do of killing fleas. It’s very cheap – you can find this one for less than a fiver – which makes us wonder whether it’s a diluted version of the above?
It comes with some good reviews, saying it worked well and killed the fleas. However, we say ‘some good’ as there are rather a large number of negative reviews of this product. Some say it simply doesn’t work, while others explain that their cats became ill after using it, some having to have the attention of a vet. We will steer clear of recommending this one.
- 6-month supply
- Easy to use pipettes
- Cheapness is a worry
- Many reports of ineffectiveness
- Many reports of cats becoming ill
This is a 3-pipette version of the Frontline product we talked about first, so to remind you: The Frontline range of ‘Spot On’ products remains among the most popular of all flea treatments for cats. It claims to kill fleas with 24 hours. It is recommended you apply to the cat once a month, so this pack – at a little less than £10 – should last six months. Designed for cats of 8 weeks and more, and weighing 1kg or over, it comes with good reviews from some customers, but many say it does not work.
What is interesting about this pack is that you get a free e-book; is it worth having? Given that you’re paying nothing extra for it – the price of this version is less than half that of the 6-pack above – it’s a freebie that you might want to read, giving all the information on fleas and ticks, how to prevent them, and information on where they breed and so forth.
- Known brand
- Comes with e-book
- Pipette method
- Easy to use
- Kills in 24 hours
- Only three pipettes
- As usual, some negative reviews
The Bob Martin range of cat and dog products is well-known, and this is a cat flea product that comes in pill form. Once again, have fun trying to get your cat to take a pill! This one also claims to start the process of killing in 15 minutes, and to rid the cat of all fleas in 24 hours. You only get 3 tablets – each one we assume will last a month – but it’s only around £5 so that’s a fair price.
The customer says that this works in 7 out of 10 cases, but 30% of those who left comments say it is not effective. There has been quite a bit of negative publicity about Bob Martin products, but the 70% in favour – and that was from more than 250 customers – says that it’s effective and usually has no side effects. As always, ask your vet, who may well point you in a different direction.
- Known brand
- Starts killing fast
- All dead in 24 hours
- 3 month supply
- Only three tablets
- Comes in tablet form
- Some negative results from customers
So far we have seen two methods of applying flea products to your cat – the pipette on the skin, and the orally given pill – and this product represents the third option. This is a flea collar that your cat wears as a normal collar, but it is one that contains the chemicals that kill fleas, as mentioned earlier. And there lies the problem: regular contact with these chemicals is not recommended for humans – more on that later – so you need to make sure you wash your hands every time you handle a cat wearing this collar.
Does it work? It claims to provide 8 months of protection – at the price that would make it very good value – and to work continually. It’s waterproof, and comes in a length that can be cut to fit any cat. It’s suitable for cats of 8 weeks and more, but the problem is collars are not a popular method of flea protection, for the reason mentioned above. Some users say it works, others say it doesn’t, and your vet is unlikely to recommend this.
- Easy to use – fit as a collar
- 8 months protection
- Fits any size of cat from 8-weeks old
- Contains chemicals
- Not the best way to kill fleas
That’s our selection of the top 7 flea killers for cats, but which would we recommend? Before we go on to the conclusion, there are a few things we need to mention so you are fully understanding of these products.
Important Facts About These Treatments
We mentioned that each of these products is chemical-based: in the pipette versions – where you apply the liquid to the cats skin – the active chemical is Fipronil. In the oral pill-type examples, it is a chemical called Nitenpyram. Neither of these is a nice substance, and while they are cleared as safe for use on pets, they may have side-effects. Fipronil has been claimed to cause itching and irritation, while the number of cases of cats having extreme reactions to the orally-given pills is of concern.
Both work by blocking the neurotransmitters in insects; this means the creature’s brain cannot function and it will die and fall off the cat. Both have been shown to be successful. However, in recent years, there have been notable reports that it is possible fleas have become immune to one or the other – in particular this has been noted with fipronil. This is entirely possible, and would explain why cat owners who have been using one brand for many years, now find that same brand no longer does the job. This is why we recommend you talk to a vet.
Furthermore, fipronil and nitenpyram can both be dangerous to humans. Of course, in the quantities we are dealing with here we are talking irritation, but you must wash your hands thoroughly when you have been handling these chemicals, and avoid touching your eyes or – in any way – ingesting either of the substances.
So, is there one on the list we will recommend? Let’s see!
Your pet cat – or cats if you have more than one – is an important part of the family, and a much-loved animal that brings a lot of joy. Therefore, its health and well-being is of great importance to you, and you will naturally do your very best to make sure it is kept in good health, and this includes the ongoing battle with fleas!
All of the above products have their merits – and each includes active ingredients that are known to kill fleas – and many come with a large number of glowing recommendations by users. However, equally so, each comes with many negative customer comments, including tales of cats becoming ill, being irritated, and the product simply not working. The latter is interesting as, as we said above, it is widely believed by many in the industry that the chemicals used are no longer as effective as they once were, and that fleas have become immune over time.
It is for the above reasons – and in some cases concerns – that while we do not say don’t use any of the above products, we come back to our old advice: always talk to your vet about flea and tick treatments. They will have access to products that are new to the market, or that are tried and tested and known to work, and they will advise you on the best course of action to keep your cat free of fleas.
We hope we’ve given you some idea of how best to keep fleas at bay, so make an appointment with your vet right now, and you’ll be making sure you have a happy cat!