Best Cat Flea Infestation Treatment, Symptoms & Prevention In The Home

Fleas are the nightmare of every cat owner.

There’s nothing worse than seeing your beloved cat drive themselves crazy scratching and chewing, trying to rid themselves of those biting pests.

And here at Catological, we totally understand how frustrating fleas can be.

Sometimes it seems those horrible bloodsuckers just WILL NOT give you and your pet a break.

Luckily, there a number of ways you can tackle fleas and send them packing FOR GOOD.

The trouble is, how do you know which is best?

There are so many fast-acting treatments, monthly spot-ons, flea collars, shampoos and household sprays to choose from – it can be super confusing.

We understand you just want something that will give your cat relief NOW.

That’s why we have compiled our list of the very best flea treatments for cats, so you can free your furry family member from these nasty pests once and for all.

There’s no time to waste, so let’s get started!

Quick Best-Of Class Table

Image Product
  • Very fast acting
  • Kills 90% of adult fleas within 6 hours
  • Can be used every day without any health risks
  • Very fast acting
  • Kills 90% of adult fleas within 6 hours
  • Can be used every day without any health risks
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  • Kills adult fleas and prevents re-infestations
  • Topical treatment is very easy to apply
  • Waterproof formula
  • Kills adult fleas and prevents re-infestations
  • Topical treatment is very easy to apply
  • Waterproof formula
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  • Recommended by vets
  • Kills fleas on contact within 24 hours - also repels new infestations
  • Effective for up to 8 months
  • Recommended by vets
  • Kills fleas on contact within 24 hours - also repels new infestations
  • Effective for up to 8 months
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  • Kills fleas and flea eggs on contact
  • Prevents re-infestations for up to a month
  • Fresh, deodorizing scent
  • Kills fleas and flea eggs on contact
  • Prevents re-infestations for up to a month
  • Fresh, deodorizing scent
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  • Great if your cat hates baths
  • All-natural formula
  • Hassle-free application
  • Great if your cat hates baths
  • All-natural formula
  • Hassle-free application
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  • Kills fleas and flea eggs
  • Completely natural
  • Helps to stop fleas reaching your cat
  • Kills fleas and flea eggs
  • Completely natural
  • Helps to stop fleas reaching your cat
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  • Can be used to remove fleas directly
  • Contoured for comfortable use
  • Won’t irritate sore skin
  • Can be used to remove fleas directly
  • Contoured for comfortable use
  • Won’t irritate sore skin
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  • Targets the source of fleas
  • Easy to apply
  • One bottle can treat 16,000 sq ft
  • Targets the source of fleas
  • Easy to apply
  • One bottle can treat 16,000 sq ft
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What Makes a Good Flea Treatment For Cats?

The best flea medicine for cats is one which combines safety, effectiveness, convenience, ease of use and value for money.

After all, the last thing we want is for you or your kitty to be stressed out any more by difficult or worse, useless, flea treatments.

Therefore, we have chosen all our top products based on these criteria – to make sure we are recommending only the BEST flea treatment which will bring your cat relief FAST.

But perhaps the most crucial aspect of choosing effective flea treatments for your cat is SAFETY.

This is especially important because your cat’s liver cannot deal with and process toxins as well as other animals.

For this reason, NEVER use flea products designed for dogs on your cat.

These products often have much higher concentrations of insecticides, such as pyrethrins and pyrethroids, which can be deadly for your cat!

The same applies to “homemade” treatments which often use essential oils.

Many essential oils can be highly toxic to cats. So it is wise to avoid these entirely and stick to professional products to keep your beloved kitty safe.

What Are The Different Types Of Flea Treatments?

As you will have noticed, there are many different options when it comes to eliminating fleas from your fluffy pal.

It is important to understand the differences between them, so that you can make the right choice for your circumstances.

So, let us break them down for you…

Preventative Vs Fast Acting Treatments

Preventative treatments will come either in the form of repellents or chemicals called “insect growth regulators”.

Repellents make fleas leave your cat and prevent them from returning.

Insect growth regulators disrupt the flea life cycle. They stop eggs and larvae from growing into adult fleas, eventually wiping out the population.

On the other hand, fast-acting treatments kill fleas which are present on your cat.

These often use a type of insecticide known as “adulticides” – which kills adult fleas quickly.

However, because adulticides do not break the flea life cycle, it is best to combine both a fast-acting and a preventative treatment to stop fleas for good.

infographic of the flea life cycle from pets

Topical Vs Oral Treatments

Topical treatments describe any flea treatment which is applied to your cat’s skin or her coat to kill or repel fleas.

Oral treatments are administered by mouth so the active ingredient enters your cat’s bloodstream. These are generally in tablet form and are usually very fast-acting.

Although, for oral treatments to work, fleas must bite your kitty and consume her blood before dying.

Flea Collars

Flea collars can fight fleas in two ways: either via gas or by spreading a flea-killing chemical into your cat’s skin.

Collars which emit gases toxic to fleas tend not to be very effective, as they only protect the areas very close to the collar.

Collars which secrete insecticide into the skin are much more effective overall.

Flea Shampoos

cat soapy in the bath with flea shampoo

Some flea shampoos use insecticides for flea control on contact and/or break their life cycle, while others act as flea repellents by making your cat’s fur smell awful to the biting menaces.

Many products also double up by having a soothing effect on your cat’s itchy and sore skin.

However, flea shampoos tend to not have a long-lasting effect, and many cats will resent being bathed regularly – especially if you don’t know how to bathe your cat properly.

Learn More: Read our reviews of the best cat dewormers

Home & Yard Flea Treatments

Not many people know this, but only 5% of a flea’s life is actually spent on your cat.

That’s right. The rest of the time those pesky fleas are happily developing within your home or out in your yard – preparing to leap aboard your cat when they reach bloodthirsty adulthood.

This why you must treat your home and yard with the same vigour as you do your itchy kitty.

These treatments are designed to kill fleas and stop them developing – using either insecticides or natural ingredients.

You must also ensure you keep your home impeccably clean. Flea eggs and larvae like to hide deep in your carpets, upholstery and your cat’s bedding.

Intensive washing and regular vacuuming (find the best pet vacuum here) is required to remove fleas and stop them from returning.

Here is our list of the best flea treatment for cats in each category:


Best Immediate Flea Treatment For Cats

Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs & Cats, 2-25 lbs

capstar flea tablets flea treatment

Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs & Cats is our go-to, immediate solution to your cat’s flea infestation. They are quick and effective for flea control on your beloved kitty in mere hours.

These tablets use the adulticide “nitenpyram”, which is quickly absorbed into your cat’s bloodstream so it can be ingested by biting fleas. The benefit of this method is that it’s very fast-acting.

In fact, fleas will begin dying and falling off your kitty in as little as 30 minutes and should be almost completely gone after 6 hours, giving your cat some welcome rest from their itchy bites.

However, while this is a great, quick-fix option to bring relief to your suffering cat, you must remember that it isn’t a complete solution to your flea problem.

This is because adulticides don’t break the flea life cycle – they only kill adult fleas. So Capstar won’t prevent any newly hatched fleas from leaping back onto your cat tomorrow.

You will need to administer these tablets to your cat either directly into their mouth – or crushed up and disguised in their favorite food.

Therefore, you may find this a little difficult if your cat hates taking medicine.

Pros:

  • Begins to work almost immediately
  • Easy and safe for cats to use
  • Capable of killing all cat fleas in just one day

Cons:

  • Only kills adult fleas present on your cat; so it will not prevent re-infestations
  • Fleas must bite your cat before they will die

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Best Monthly Preventative Flea Treatment For Cats

Advantage II Flea Treatment For Cats

bayer advantage 2 flea treatment

Advantage II Flea Treatment For Cats is our favorite monthly treatment for good reason. As well as killing adult fleas on contact, Advantage II also kills flea eggs and larvae, so those pesky fleas waiting to emerge are stopped in their tracks.

This multi-tasking formula starts to kill any nasty fleas hiding on your kitty within 12 hours, and keeps her protected for four weeks.

Therefore, you can simply apply once and forget about it for the month – safe in the knowledge that your cat is flea-free and able to go out and enjoy herself without bringing back any unwanted passengers.

This topical treatment comes in a liquid formula, conveniently measured out into individual dose packets. All you need to do is break the seal, apply to your cat’s neck and you’re done.

The formula is also waterproof, so your cat can go outside on a rainy day and still be fully protected when she comes home.

Advantage II may be a little expensive, but it is still cheaper than going to see your vet, and buying multiple flea products each month to try and combat the problem.

If you have a sensitive kitty, it is possible she may experience some mild irritation at the application site.

Advantage Flea Treatment for Cats is also available for smaller cats between 5 and 9 pounds here.

Pros:

  • Kills fleas on contact (no biting required)
  • Kills eggs and larvae
  • Starts working within 12 hours
  • Gives complete protection for 4 weeks
  • Easy and convenient to apply
  • Waterproof formula

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • May cause skin irritation

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Best Flea Collar

Seresto 8 Month Flea and Tick Prevention Collar for Cats & Kittens

seresto flea collar flea treatment

The Seresto Flea Collar (from Bayer) is the best selling cat flea collar on the market.

The Seresto Flea Collar uses two active ingredients. One is an adulticide (Imidacloprid) while the other acts as a repellent (Flumethrin).

These chemicals are released gradually over your cat’s skin, and have been clinically proven to be safe and effective for your cat. It is also widely recommended by vets.

The pesky fleas are killed on contact, so they don’t need to bite your kitty to be eliminated. This is a much better way, as it avoids any unnecessary discomfort for your furry friend.

Once fitted, Seresto will kill the fleas lurking on your cat within 24 hours and then keep her protected from any further invasions for up to 8 months!

The collar also features a safety release clasp, so your cat will be able to free herself should she get trapped on her adventures.

It may be a bit pricey; but this flea collar is safe, effective and will keep your cat protected for a long time.

Pros:

  • Clinically proven to be safe and effective
  • Kills resident fleas on contact within 24 hours
  • Works to repel new infestations for up to 8 months
  • Safety clasp allows your cat to escape if they get snagged
  • Very easy to use

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • May cause skin irritation

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Best Flea Shampoo

Sentry PurrScriptions Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo for Cats

sentry purrscription plus shampoo flea treatment

This effective, yet wonderfully smelling flea shampoo from Sentry Purrscriptions is our favorite of the bunch.

Unlike many other flea shampoos, this one has a fresh, non-chemical scent – so your cat won’t smell like the vet’s office after her bath.

Designed specifically for cats, it contains only 0.05% pyrethrins to safely kill fleas and flea eggs on contact. Once the pests are dead, this shampoo works overtime to prevent new infestations on your cat for up to a month – by continuing to disrupt the flea life cycle.

However, in order to be effective, the instructions state that the lather needs to be left on for 5 minutes before rinsing. So, if you have an impatient kitty or one who doesn’t like baths – this may not be the best option.

Note – There is another highly popular flea shampoo called Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo. However, this product uses 3x the amount of pyrethrins found in Sentry Purrscriptions – so we don’t recommend that one as highly.

Pros:

  • Lovely fresh scent
  • Cat-friendly levels of pyrethrins
  • Kills fleas and flea eggs on contact
  • Prevents re-infestation for up to 30 days

Cons:

  • May be difficult to use if your cat doesn’t like to be bathed

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Best Waterless Flea Shampoo

Vet’s Best Waterless Flea & Tick Cat Bath Foam

vets best waterless flea shampoo flea treatment

If your cat gives you the silent treatment for a week if you attempt to bath her – this waterless flea foam from Vet’s Best is our favorite alternative.

This foam is 100% natural, which is perfect if you’d rather avoid chemical treatments. It uses eugenol (clove) and peppermint oil instead of potentially dangerous insecticides.

These ingredients quickly kill any fleas and flea eggs which they come into contact with, leaving your kitty free from itchy bites fast.

But by far the best thing about this foam is its ease of use. All you need to do is simply apply the foam to your cat’s fur and comb through.

Your furry friend will just think she’s getting the attention she deserves – without even realizing she’s being treated!

You will need to use this very regularly though – as it won’t stop new fleas from hopping aboard your cat.

Pros:

  • Doesn’t require water – great if your cat hates the bath
  • 100% natural formula
  • Kills both adult fleas and their eggs on contact
  • Very easy to use. Just apply and comb through.

Cons:

  • Doesn’t have a long-lasting effect. So you’ll need to use often to keep your kitty happy.

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Best Flea Spray

Vet’s Best Cat Flea and Tick Home Spray

vets best flea and tick home spray flea treatment

Another great product from Vet’s Best, we simply love how multifunctional this all natural flea spray is.

Using the same active ingredients of eugenol and peppermint – this spray can be used to for flea control to kill the adults and eggs hidden on your cat AND in your home. Thus saving you the hassle of buying and using two separate sprays to fight those irritating bloodsuckers.

Suitable for cats more than 12 weeks old, simply mist the spray over the fur and massage it in to eradicate fleas hiding in your cat’s coat.

This spray also helps stop fleas from getting to your cat in the first instance. You can apply all over your home, including her bedding and toys, to stop fleas dead in their tracks.

The formula is completely safe for everyone in your home and will not stain your furniture.

However, you may find your kitty is frightened of the sound the spray makes.

Pros:

  • 100% natural
  • Can be used directly on your cat and around the home
  • Kills fleas and their eggs on contact
  • Suitable for cats older than 12 weeks
  • Doesn’t stain furniture

Cons:

  • Your cat might be frightened of the spraying sound

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Best Flea Comb

Safari Flea Comb for Cats

safari flea comb flea treatment

While flea combs will not eradicate fleas on your cat, they still have their uses, and we think the Safari Flea Comb does it best.

Finely spaced teeth mean you can spend some quality time with your cat, going through her fur, catching and removing any nasty fleas or eggs. This is especially useful when combined with sprays or shampoos.

The contoured handle is easy to hold, so you can groom your cat thoroughly without any discomfort.

This comb also helps you to keep an eye on the health of her skin. If there’s any red or flaky patches, you will know your kitty is suffering from painful flea bites and needs treatment.

Additionally, using this comb won’t irritate her skin further, which your cat will thank you for!

Pros:

  • Finely spaced teeth help remove fleas and eggs
  • Doesn’t irritate your cat’s skin
  • Contoured handle means it is comfortable to use
  • Perfect for use alongside other sprays or shampoos

Cons:

  • Good for use in combination with other treatments – but will not get rid of fleas on its own.

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Best Yard Treatment

Advantage Yard & Premise Spray

advantage yard and premise spray flea treatment

  • Targets the source of fleas
  • Easy to apply
  • One bottle can treat 16,000 sq ft

The yard is where almost all flea infestations begin. As far as we’re concerned, the best way to bring the battle to the source is with Advantage Yard & Premise Spray.

This yard treatment uses effective ingredients to kill fleas which are hiding out around your home.

It is easy to use, simply attach a hose to the bottle and douse your lawn, patio, decking and flower beds to eliminate the bloodsuckers for good.

If you don’t treat your yard, and you allow your cat outside, it won’t be long before some uninvited guests hitch a ride on your kitty again.

A standard bottle is big enough to cover 16,000 sq ft – so you shouldn’t need to buy more than one.

However, you must use carefully and follow the instructions. Especially regarding keeping your cat away until the spray has completely dried.

Pros:

  • Kills fleas before they can reach your cat
  • Simple to apply
  • Standard bottle is enough for even the biggest yards

Cons:

  • Must keep cat inside until the spray has completely dried

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Emily Parker
 

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!

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Kate - December 6, 2016

Hi there! Does my cat need to wear the advantage 2 in the winter?

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