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Flea Control for Cats
If you think about it, cats are the perfect hosts for fleas. They travel low to the ground, they are warm-blooded; the perfect flea feeding and breeding ground. The most common flea in the United States is the cat flea. Cat fleas aren’t species specific. Any warm-blooded mammal can become part of their menu. Don’t think that just because kitty spends the hazy, crazy days of summer indoors, she is immune to getting fleas. Fleas travel indoors on their own, on your clothes or shoes anyway they can. They have to feed to breed and that is what drives them indoors and once they are indoors, you will have a flea invasion. One female flea can deposit sixty eggs in one hour.
Flea bites carry various diseases; bacterial, rickettsial (spotted fever) and viral. One of the most dreaded diseases caused by fleas is the bubonic plague. However, most fleas will die off before transmitting the plague because as it reproduces inside of the digestive tract of the flea, it also causes a plug to form where the flea cannot eliminate waste and the flea dies. More commonly, fleas can cause allergic dermatitis, anemia (in kittens) tapeworms, hair-loss, flea allergies and other diseases. You really don’t need fleas hanging (or hopping) around your home and cats.
This article will focus on the most recommended products by vets to eliminate fleas.
Flea Control Central-
Looking at all the types of flea products available can be as confusing as walking down the cereal aisle of your local grocery store. There are so many types of flea control available but what is best? What product is safe? Can you use the same flea control product on your cat that you do on your dog? What about ticks? What flea product exists that is natural and chemical free? You know the damage fleas can cause to your cat and your home, but you don’t want your kitty turning into a toxic waste dump by putting the wrong chemicals on her to control these pests.
As far as what product is deemed safe for your cat, it really depends on your cat AND your vet. Some cats will develop adverse effects to certain products. So it is always wise, to consult your vet prior to starting any flea treatment program.
Types of flea control:
Unlike the cereal aisle (where all you would get if you overdosed on cereal is a sugar high and added weight). If you use the wrong flea product, your cat could get an overload of toxins to her system which could cause her harm or result in her death. Remember, you are using an insecticide on your cat.
The safest rule of thumb is to consult your vet about what product he recommends for your cat.
NEVER use any flea treatment on your cat or kitten that can also be used on dogs or puppies.
IT IS SIMPLY NOT SAFE!
Read the labels carefully. Avoid using products with the following ingredients:
Most of the fly sprays used both in the barn and on the horses in stables have permethrin and pyrethrum listed as ingredients; safe for horses just NOT for cats. If you have barn cats, be careful of the use and watch the over-spray of these fly products.
AGAIN only purchase flea products from your vet. The flea products you find most often on shelves in stores are not always safe. Some are even counterfeit, ineffective or dangerous to use. Unless you know what you are looking at, stay on the safe side and buy from your vet.
Flea Control for Cats Review
Always follow product instructions carefully-
Frontline Plus for Cats- Main ingredient fipronil-methroprene broad spectrum insecticides that disrupts fleas and ticks short-circuiting their nervous system. Frontline Plus also kills ticks.
Possible side-effects- hair loss, excessive grooming
Advantage- Imidacloprid is listed as the main ingredient. Imidacloprid is a nicotine-based systemic insecticide. It is a neurotoxin to the fleas. Your cat may lick herself after application causing foaming of the mouth and a bit of hyperactivity. But the toxin level is low. Advantage should not be used on kittens under the age of six weeks old.
Possible Side-effects of Advantage-loss of appetite- vomiting-lethargy-drooling
Program- Comes in tablet or injectable form. Nitenpyram is listed as the main ingredient. Nitenpyram is a neurotoxin that messes with the central nervous system of the flea causing almost instantaneous death of the parasite.
Possible side- effects of Program injection site reaction, vomiting, drooling, inactivity, loss of appetite
Capstar- Main ingredient is Nitenpyram. Starts killing fleas within 30 minutes after ingestion. Safe for kittens four weeks and older and safe for pregnant cats.
Possible side effects of Capstar- hyperactivity, drooling, excessive talking, excessive grooming
Revolution- a true overthrow of parasites, Revolution’s main ingredient is selamectin. Kills fleas, ticks, ear mites, roundworms, hookworms and offers some protection against heartworm. This product is absorbed through the skin and enters the bloodstream.
Possible side-effects of Revolution- hair loss, loss of appetite, lethargy, drooling, rapid breathing, itching, hives/welts, redness of skin (rare)seizures and ataxia.
When it comes to fleas; controlling them on your cat and in your home is a battle.If you chose to do battle using chemicals, arm yourself with knowledge beforehand, talk to your vet and read and follow all the product instructions (especially the package inserts) before you use any product. Stay away from over- the-counter flea products, and if by chance your cat is wearing a flea collar- take it off immediately and cut it up into small pieces and put the pieces in your vacuum bag. There it will kill fleas effectively and safely.