Say So Long to Fleas and Ticks: Your Guide to the Best Flea and Tick Treatments for Cats

By: Linda RodgersUpdated:

best flea and tick treatments for cats
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Say So Long to Fleas and Ticks: Your Guide to the Best Flea and Tick...

Think you can forgo flea and tick treatment for cats? Think again! Your cat is a target for both fleas and ticks even if their only experience with the great outdoors is watching it through the window. “You go outside, so there is a small chance that you could bring in an infestation to your pet. So to be safe, it’s best to just protect cats in general,” says Dr. Carly Fox, DVM, staff doctor in emergency and critical care at the Animal Medical Center in New York City.

Once they’re inside the house, these pests will make a beeline to your cat, latching on to feed and reproduce. Not only are they a nuisance, but fleas and ticks can cause serious health issues in cats, like anemia. But that’s not all. Some cats are allergic to flea saliva, becoming so itchy that they run the risk of injuring themselves from scratching and chewing the site of the bite.

And don’t think this is just a warm-weather problem. Fleas and ticks have no problem surviving the winter months as long as the temperatures don’t dip below freezing. So, if you live in temperate climates (and that’s most of us now, thanks to climate change), you’ll want year-round protection.

Before you start looking, you’ll need to keep a few things in mind that can make the decision of what to use on your cat much easier.

What to Know Before You Buy

  • Your vet’s suggestions: You really want to discuss your options with your pet’s veterinarian, says Dr. Fox. That way you can better ensure it’s the safest choice for your cat. So, for example, if you’re thinking about a cat flea collar, see if your vet has any suggestions—some collars contain ingredients that are toxic, even lethal, for cats.
  • Your cat’s age: Many products specify that your pet should be at least 8 weeks old before you start any kind of tick and flea control for cats. Products meant for older cats can be harmful to young kittens.
  • Your cat’s health: Some products can make health problems worse. “If your pet has known beef or chicken allergy—which is rare, but definitely can happen in cats—then an oral tablet might not be the right way to go because those are all usually based in beef or chicken,” says Dr. Fox. On the flip side, if your fur baby has sensitive skin or asthma, you might want to avoid a topical product that might irritate their skin and their respiratory system even more, she adds.
  • Your cat’s weight: “The biggest toxicities that I see as an emergency clinician all have to do with administering a product that’s meant for a larger animal to a smaller animal,” Dr. Fox says. This is another reason why it’s good to go with a vet-recommended flea treatment for your cat.
  • What pest is being targeted: Ideally, you want a product that kills both fleas and ticks. But there are some products that just treat for fleas, especially those that are made for cats, says Dr. Fox. So, don’t make any assumptions and read the label.
  • Your cat’s personality and habits: Some cats are easier-going than others, and some are much more finicky. If giving a pill to your feline is your definition of torture, no matter how cleverly you disguise it, then it makes sense to stay away from oral tablets and go for a topical treatment or cat flea collars instead. If your cat is an indoor-outdoor cat, you might want to think about putting a flea and tick collar on them for added protection, Dr. Fox suggests.
  • Your own personal preferences: Yes, your needs count too when you’re choosing the best flea and tick treatment for your cat. You’ll want to consider cost of course. And how easy it is to apply the product to your cat—topicals can get messy and, if you don’t apply them correctly, may not work as well as a tablet. Also, some products last longer than others, so if memory is not your strong suit, you might opt for treatments that last for several months. And if you have very young children, you may want to stay away from a cat flea collar. Little kids can take the collar off and stick in in their mouth.

Ready to shop? Let us guide you to the perfect pick for your cat.

Oral Flea and Tick Treatments for Cats

It’s not always easy to pill a cat, but if yours takes to tablets, then oral flea and tick treatments are a simple solution to pest control. Some kill fleas while others prevent them, too. If your cat already has fleas, consider Capstar Flea Tablets, which starts to kill pests in 30 minutes. To kill and prevent fleas from coming back, try a good monthly preventative like Credelio Chewable Tablets (you’ll need a prescription from your vet).
Perfect for: Most cats, especially those who need treatment right away.
Capstar Flea Oral Treatment for Cats

Capstar Flea Oral Treatment for Cats

$32.99
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Credelio Chewable Tablets for Cats

Credelio Chewable Tablets for Cats

$94.99
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Flea Away Flea & Tick Oral Treatment for Dogs & Cats

Flea Away Flea & Tick Oral Treatment for Dogs & Cats

$20.99
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Topical Flea and Tick Treatments for Cats

Topical treatments come in a tube and you squeeze the liquid onto your pet's skin at the base of the neck. OTC topicals, like Advantage II, are a great option for people who can’t get to a vet for routine care. Prescription topical treatments usually target more pests than just fleas. For instance, Revolution Plus protects against ticks, heartworms, ear mites, hookworms and roundworms.
Perfect for: Cats who don’t have respiratory or skin allergies or who hate taking oral meds.
Revolution Plus Topical Solution for Cats

Revolution Plus Topical Solution for Cats

$127.10
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Onguard Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Cats

Onguard Plus Flea & Tick Spot Treatment for Cats

$28.51
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Cheristin Flea Spot Treatment for Cats

Cheristin Flea Spot Treatment for Cats

$69.99
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Combination Solutions

Sometimes the best flea treatment for cats are prescription-only medications that kill more than one type of pest. Most combo medications kill and prevent fleas and ticks and prevent other parasites too and even last longer than regular treatments. Bravecto Plus, for example, not only targets fleas and ticks, but also prevents heartworm (which is transmitted by mosquitos), roundworms and hookworms—and it lasts for two months, which is a plus!
Perfect for: Most cats, especially those who go outdoors or have canine housemates who can bring in ticks.
Bravecto Plus Topical Solution for Cats

Bravecto Plus Topical Solution for Cats

$40.49
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Revolution Plus Topical Solution for Cats

Revolution Plus Topical Solution for Cats

$124.00
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Cat Flea and Tick Collars

Looking for long-lasting pest protection that you don’t have to think about? Then look no further than cat flea and tick collars. You simply attach the collar snugly around your cat’s neck and the flea-and-tick killing ingredients get released slowly into your pet’s body. The Seresto Flea & Tick Prevention Collar works for eight months—and it has a safety release in case your feline gets their head stuck in a tight place and is in danger of choking.
Perfect for: Most cats, especially those who go outdoors or live with other animals.
Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Cats

Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for Cats

$59.98
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Hartz UltraGuard Flea & Tick Collar for Cats

Hartz UltraGuard Flea & Tick Collar for Cats

$4.97
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Flea Shampoo for Cats

These special shampoos kill fleas and come in handy when you’re unable to get your cat to take an oral treatment, don't have access to regular vet care for prescription flea control, or if you're on a budget. Some, like Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor, kill and prevent re-infestation by targeting both fleas and their eggs. Adams' formula has the added advantage of killing ticks and lice, too. Just lather your cat up, work it in for 3-5 minutes and thoroughly rinse them off.
Perfect for: Most cats, especially those who don't do well with oral meds.
Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats & Kittens

Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo for Cats & Kittens

$12.98
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Vet's Best Plant Based Formula Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo

Vet's Best Plant Based Formula Flea & Tick Cat Shampoo

$11.99
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Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo

$8.11
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Flea Spray for Cats

Topical flea sprays are applied to the entire coat and help kill adult fleas. These sprays can be particularly useful in situations of flea infestations, to quickly kill active fleas on the pet. One such option is Frontline Flea and Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats, which targets adult fleas, ticks and chewing lice for 30 days.
Perfect for: Cats with a large burden of fleas, or those who don’t do well with oral meds and bathing.
Frontline Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats

Frontline Flea & Tick Spray for Dogs & Cats

$27.99
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Wondercide Cedarwood Home & Pet Flea & Tick Spray

Wondercide Cedarwood Home & Pet Flea & Tick Spray

$12.99
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Natural Care Dog Flea & Tick Spray

Natural Care Dog Flea & Tick Spray

$8.97
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Flea Combs for Cats and Other Tools

Flea combs, like Hartz Groomer's Best flea comb, are fine-tooth combs that remove fleas, flea dirt and flea eggs, but they're also a good option if you aren't sure whether your pet has an infestation. Simply run the comb through your pets fur to see if you catch anything. Bonus: They also help remove mats in fur. If you need to remove a tick and don’t want to use your own tweezers, try a tool like the ZenPet Tick Tornado.
Perfect for: Most cats, especially younger ones who aren’t on pest-prevention yet.
Safari Flea Comb for Cats

Safari Flea Comb for Cats

$4.07
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ZenPet Tick Tornado Tick Removal Tool

ZenPet Tick Tornado Tick Removal Tool

$3.99
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TickEase Tick Removal Tweezer Tool

TickEase Tick Removal Tweezer Tool

$9.99
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House and Yard Treatments

You might be diligent when it comes to giving your cat vet-recommended flea treatments, but that effort should also extend to your home and yard. Home and yard sprays, like Wondercide Flea & Tick yard spray, provide relief from flea and tick infestations. Even if your kitty never goes out, feral cats, raccoons, and other critters visiting your yard can have fleas and ticks, making it easier for you to carry these bugs into the house. (Note: These are not designed to be used on your pet.)
Perfect for: Anyone who doesn't want fleas or other pests inside their home and yard.
Advantage Yard & Premise Spray

Advantage Yard & Premise Spray

$19.98
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Vet's Best Cat Flea & Tick Home Spray

Vet's Best Cat Flea & Tick Home Spray

$10.49
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Virbac Knockout E.S. Area Treatment Spray

Virbac Knockout E.S. Area Treatment Spray

$25.22
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Preventing and treating fleas and ticks on cats usually involves a multi-pronged approach. Be sure you talk to your vet to make sure you pick the best method for your fur baby.

Preventing and treating fleas and ticks on cats usually involves a multi-pronged approach. Be sure you talk to your vet to make sure you pick the best method for your fur baby.

Read more:

What’s the Best Flea Medicine for Outdoor Cats? Our Expert Weighs In

Fleas for Roommates? Evict Them With These Flea Treatments for the Home

Help! My Cat Has Fleas: Signs, Treatment and Prevention

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By: Linda RodgersUpdated:

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