The minute your cat starts to itch, you can’t help but panic. Is it fleas?! Is it an infestation? And what’s the best flea treatment for cats to end this emergency?
You’ll know if your cat is suffering from a flea problem if they are itching or chewing, particularly over the rump or base of their tail area, says Gary Richter, MS, DVM, CVC, CVA, owner and medical director of Montclair Veterinary Hospital and Holistic Veterinary Care in Oakland, California. Though they may scratch anywhere on their bodies, near the tail is a favorite spot for fleas to hang out.
You may also see fleas or “flea dirt” (basically, flea poop that is digested blood and looks like granular black dirt) on your furry friend’s skin. Simply part the fur and take a look for confirmation.
If you do find yourself in a flea situation, don’t worry. There are tons of options at your disposal when it comes to flea medicine for cats. We’ve narrowed down the best flea treatments for cats, according to Chewy’s customers.
Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Cat & Kitten Treatment
Highly rated and ranking among the most popular flea medicine for cats sold on Chewy, Frontline products are a true favorite. This topical treatment is formulated to kill fleas (and ticks) on your cat, plus the next generation of fleas hiding on your pet in the form of eggs and larvae. Dr. Richter says that topical treatments are generally more effective than collars because you can target trouble spots.
Advantage II Flea Treatment
This is another best-selling topical treatment designed to kill all life stages of fleas—eggs, larvae and adults—on contact while keeping your pet safe. Advantage II contains imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen, which are essentially insecticides, but don’t worry: This solution is nontoxic for mammals in the doses suggested. What else makes it the best flea medicine for cats? As Chewy customer Lynne says, “The Advantage II drops are tiny. I can squeeze the two drops on my kitty’s neck while scratching her chin and she has no clue what’s going on because it’s so quick and painless.” You’ll know it’s working when you see fleas rise to the top of your pet’s coat as they die, the manufacturer says.
Revolution Topical Solution for Cats
If your idea of the best flea treatment for cats includes preventatives for other types of pests too, look no further. This best-selling topical treatment solves various problems: It fights fleas, as well as heartworm. In addition, Revolution is formulated to prevent and treat ear mites, roundworms and hookworms. You’ll need a prescription for this product, which Dr. Richter says you may need if your flea infestation is coupled with heartworm. But it’s worth the extra call to your vet.
“I love that I only have to give my cats one treatment per month to prevent fleas, heartworm, ear mites [and more],” Chewy customer Kelli says.
Bravecto Topical Solution for Cats
This best-selling treatment, which also requires a prescription from a vet, both kills fleas on your cat and prevents them for 12 weeks. An insecticide called fluralaner is its active ingredient, and when applied, kills fleas and ticks during their “blood meal.” Pet parents apply this treatment between the shoulder blades and down the back in one or more spots. As for what makes it one of the best flea medicines for cats, “[It’s] easy to use and our cat didn’t even seem to notice it was on,” says Chewy customer JPage.
Seresto 8 Month Flea & Tick Prevention Collar for Cats & Kittens
Richter recommends cat flea collars mainly for prevention: Pet parents can use a flea collar before any flea problems arise, to ensure that their furry friend doesn’t develop a flea infestation. A best-selling flea collar, Seresto starts to repel fleas within 24 hours of application. Plus, as Chewy customer LynnR points out, a cat flea collar can be an easier and less stressful solution for some cats. “The cats knew as soon as I broke open the vials [of topical flea treatments] that they were getting treated and they ran off … But once the [Seresto] collar is on, the cats don’t seem to mind.”
Comfortis Chewable Tablets for Dogs & Cats
Your flea treatment options don’t end at topical treatments and collars. Flea pills for cats are also weapons at your disposal. This best-selling orally administered flea medication, which is formulated to kill adult fleas, requires a prescription. Consult with a vet before giving it to your cat. “When the goal is for your pet to have few to no fleas, these [oral] products tend to be the most effective,” Dr. Richter says. Worried about dosing a finicky eater? Chewy customer Catlover99 has a picky cat, but managed to get her to take the medicine by mixing it into her food: “She needed some encouragement to finish [her food]—but, success!”
Capstar Flea Tablets for Cats
Capstar Flea Tablets, on the other hand, are flea pills for cats that don’t require a prescription. Included among Chewy’s best-selling flea treatments, Capster is formulated to kill adult fleas quickly. It contains nitenpyram, an insecticide that has proven to be low in toxicity for animals, and Chewy reviewers agree that it works quickly—as fast as 30 minutes.
Dr. Richter cautions that the best flea treatment for another cat may not be the best for your own. Before administering any of these treatments, pet parents should “consult with your veterinarian regarding what flea control product is best for their pet.” And always make sure you use the correct dosage and formula for the size of your cat. (Do not use a flea treatment that was made for another animal, like dogs.)
“Success can be measured in many ways, but if the goal is zero fleas, people need to be diligent with flea control during flea season,” Dr. Richter says. “This can mean any one or combinations of the above.”