Fleas and ticks are a serious problem. Even if your cat does not go outside it’s possible for them to hitch a ride into your house by some other means and start an infestation! With them come a host of diseases like lyme disease and spotted fever. Not to mention distress for your cat, and the constant scratching. There’s a lot of flea medicine out there – some better than others, but what’s the best over the counter flea medicine for cats? In this article Kim’s Pets takes a look at some popular choices, and gives you the break down of their effectiveness. Let’s take a look.
Best Over The Counter Flea Medicine For Cats
Seresto Flea Collars
While many consumers are understandably jaded by flea collars, and their normally sub par effectiveness the Seresto collars are great. Why are these collars so much better? Your standard flea collar is only meant to deter fleas from taking up residence on your pet. The seresto collars actually contain active ingredients that will kill, and they control the development of new fleas. Traditional flea collars do not do this which makes it near impossible to break the cycle of their breeding leading. I’ve done a full seresto collar review here you can see. This is certainly the easiest option if you’re not keen to try getting your cat to take a pill or don’t care for the topical treatments that go on the back of the animal’s neck. These collars will last you for 8 months of flea free bliss, and they have a break away safety feature so that if your cat ever gets hung up on something they can free themselves. This is an important collar feature even for indoor cats! Cats by nature love jumping and climbing. They can just as easily hang themselves on something inside your home as they can outside your home. These collars are safe to use on kitties that are seven weeks old or older. These collars work on contact so the fleas and ticks do not have to bite your kitty to be exposed to the ingredients. This limits the spread of disease since they can’t attach themselves.
Pros: Kills adult fleas, ticks and controls eggs, no mess, and easy to apply.
Cons: Some kitties react badly to collars.
Seresto Collar Reviews From Amazon Customers
I absolutely LOVE this collar. We recently moved to a new home in a woodsy-area so fleas and ticks became a huge problem. I tried everything shampoos, drops, sprays, and natural remedies. Within 2 days of putting on the collar all fleas and ticks were gone! If you’re struggling with fleas, then I highly suggest this collar. – Mary
Bought 2 of these for my large breed dogs. (Golden and German Shepard) They wore for all 8 months, swam all summer and I did not find (1) tic on them. We live in New England and that alone is very difficult.
(My dad took them hiking and came back with tics himself. Wish they had a human version haha)
Amazing product, referred to all my friends who also have had great luck with their large breed dogs as well! –Adrienne
Novartis Capstar Tablets
This is what I used on an adopted kitten who came in infested with fleas. There was not an inch on him that was not covered. These pills work fairly well, and the adult fleas quickly vanished. Unfortunately, what I did not know was that these do not control the flea’s reproductive cycle. That means it takes a lot longer to get rid of them completely. It took us months to totally get all of the fleas out of the house. I honestly wish I’d have gotten the Seresto collar instead, but most flea medications are not quick to tell you exactly what they do unless it’s in very fine print. It did work though, and if you have a cat that does not respond well to topical treatments or collars that need to be in contact with their skin this could be an option. Some cats have problems with flea collars that makes their skin raw. You should always observe your animal after giving them any flea treatment to make sure they are not allergic to it. You should take precautions to thoroughly spray your home to kill any eggs, because since this product only kills adult fleas your cat can quickly get infested again. If your cat has a lot of fleas this is a good product to kill them quickly, but you will need another preventative treatment to go with it. Ortho home defense has worked well for me in the past for treating the house itself for fleas or ticks. In short, this is the best over the counter flea medicine for cats if you need to get rid of a lot of fleas quickly, but not if you need continuous treatment.
Pros: Works almost instantly at killing adult fleas.
Cons: Does not control eggs. Only good for a couple days. You have to get a cat to take a pill.
Amazon Capstar Customer Review
First let me state that this is NOT a cure-all or a preventative treatment!! It simply kills ADULT fleas that are ON the cat for a few hours/up to a day. My cat was suddenly infested and I was desperate!! II just gave the pill to my cat, and 20 mins later she was howling and jumping all over the place, and I see that there are already fleas on top of her fur and just falling off! I found her in the bathtub less than an hour later, frantically grooming herself, surrounded by dead fleas (see photos!!). I couldn’t believe it. People who say it doesn’t work are crazy! Lol. It works, but if you have fleas OFF your pet (outside, or carpet, or other untreated pets)….they will jump back on the next day!! So this must be used as part of a regimen. I took one star off because it’s so dang expensive, over $4/pill! P.S. She calmed down after about an hour and a half. 🙂 – Nancy
Cheristin for Cats Flea Treatment
If other pet medications like Advantage have failed you then Cheristin could be your new best friend. Previously this medication was only available from your vet, but now it seems that Amazon sells it! This should make a lot of pet parents very happy. This medication also works on contact. So as soon as fleas jump on to your cat they will die. The problem is that it only kills fleas on your cat. That means you still need to treat your house! Fleas do not just live on your cat. They lay eggs on your furniture, in your bed, and absolutely anywhere else that they can. In the last portion of this article I recommended Ortho Home Defense to help treat fleas in the house. This is a great trigger spray pesticide that creates a barrier to both deter bugs, and to kill ones that are there already. Cheristin is a quality flea product, but keep in mind that you may need to use it for a few months before the fleas life cycle is totally broken. One box is good for 6 months of flea medicine. If you’re looking for the best over the counter flea medicine for cats then this one is probably the champion.
Pros: Works where everything else fails. 30 day protection.
Cons: Greasy. Some cats respond poorly to topical treatments.
Reviews From Amazon Customers For Chestirin For Cats
In Florida we have fleas year round and if it’s not taken care of immediately, it becomes a real problem when you have animals. The Cheristin came highly recommended by an online cat community after I reached out for advise. My indoor cats had fleas for nearly 4 months. I tried Advantage ll for 2 months, back to back applications. After that didn’t work, I then switched to Revolution (which requires an RX). I later came to understand that the Florida fleas have built up a tolerance to it, and so that didn’t work either. Cheristin claims to have 1/2 the pesticide (much safer for pets) than other topical medications, so I was leery that it would work. After dosing all cats just once with the Cheristin and treating my entire apt. with Mycodex Plus Environmental Control (great stuff), the problem is FINALLY solved! Ordinarilly cats run away when I open any topical flea medication – not so with this. They didn’t even smell it after I applied it to the back of their necks. Be aware that this medication does not work for anything else, such as worms (which is caused from ingesting flea eggs). I had to use a different medication to treat the cats for that. – Sue
UPDATED TO SAY: We were able to go 6 months without another application and we live in Central Florida, the flea capital of the US. I attribute the new infestation to a pet bed someone gave my husband that we brought in the house without washing. We used Cheristin again and have now been flea free for 8 months and it’s mid-summer!
I use primarily holistic treatments on my 6 cats however I always look at the situation and try to do a benefits vs risk analysis. I had used Frontline and Advantage in the past however they never got rid of the fleas. I stopped using them since I wasn’t going to keep using a chemical that is potentially harmful to my cats and has no benefits whatsoever. I have on FIV+ kitty who has severe flea allergies so when my vet (who knows my philosophy) highly recommended cheristin we gave it a try. At the time we were having a huge flea issue even though I was combing them and vacuuming every day. I would pick up one of the cats and literally see fleas jumping off of her. Living in Florida I was beginning to think fleas weren’t exterminated they were just managed. I used Cheristin once six weeks ago, vacuumed the whole house every day for a few weeks and I have not seen one flea since. The cats aren’t scratching, they’re happier and I’m happier too. My vet recommended using it for three months to break the flea cycle but I’m holding off for the first sign of another flea before I use it again. I will say the cats were pretty sleepy the day I applied it so I won’t say it has no effect on them, but that one day was worth not seeing another flea! Cheristin has truly brought relief to my cats and to me! – Anne