My 5 Favorite Flea Preventions (For Cats)

Hi Y’all! Last weekend, I confessed my feline flea prevention faux pas. On Thursday, we talked about my 5 favorite flea preventions for dogs. Today, we’re going to give the cat people some love. Flea prevention is just as important for cats (even if they are indoor only) as it is for dogs. Cats often have fleas with few symptoms or signs- they are fastidious groomers and an owner may see their cat itch and be unsure why.  However, many flea products available on the market can be harmful or deadly to cats, and so it is important to know which products are best for your kitty.

Although this article will focus mainly on flea products, many of the products I list below are also heartworm preventatives. Heartworm disease in cats results in respiratory distress and can even be fatal. Your cat won’t need a heartworm test to get started on heartworm prevention, but it must be purchased from a vet or with a veterinarian’s prescription, so talk to your vet today about getting on flea and heartworm prevention.

Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored or paid to write about these products by anyone. These opinions are my own and are based of 2 years of experience as a veterinarian and a combined total of nearly 10 years of working in the veterinary medical field. My opinions do not necessarily represent the views of my employer or of the veterinary medical profession as a whole. To ensure complete transparency, products listed below that are followed by a star are sold in the veterinary practice where I work. Products that are italicized have been given to me as free samples by company representatives.

Please note that I only recommend products that are safe and effective. I would never recommend anything that I didn’t feel comfortable using on my own pets.

Now, without further ado, here are my 5 Favorite Flea Preventions For Cats

  1. Revolution* 
    Revolution is a very safe, gentle, and effective flea and heartworm preventative. It is applied topically on the back of the neck and lasts for a month. It also protects against ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms. I use this product frequently on my two cats. This is also the product I use on many small mammal species, such as ferrets, guinea pigs, and rabbits (although this is considered “off label” use).
  2. Advantage Multi
    This product is also a topical flea and heartworm prevention that protects against ear mites, roundworms, and hookworms. The biggest difference between this product and revolution is that Advantage Multi has been tested and is labeled for use on ferrets. This product is only available through your vet, but another product marketed by Bayer (and available over the counter) is Advantage II, which is essentially Advantage Multi without the heartworm and intestinal parasite component.
  3. Bravecto for Cats*
    This is one of the newer products on the market, and it is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Like the others, It is a topical that is applied to the back- but it only has to be applied every three months. The only downside is that you must apply a larger volume of product compared to Advantage or revolution, and the solution is somewhat greasy until it dries. It protects against fleas and ticks, but does not protect against heartworms or intestinal parasites. I recommend using a monthly oral heartworm prevention, such as Heartgard, if you’re using this product.
  4. Comfortis*
    Comfortis is a prescription product that is also available for dogs. We didn’t talk about it for dogs as I prefer Trifexis for dogs, which is essentially comfortis plus heartworm prevention. There isn’t a trifexis for cats, unfortunately, so you should pair comfortis with a monthly heartworm prevention. It is a tablet you must give once monthly, by mouth. The biggest downside is that this tablet is somewhat large, and can be difficult to give to cats as they can be significantly harder to give medicines to than dogs.
  5. Seresto
    Seresto for cats is an over-the-counter collar that prevents fleas and ticks for 8 months. I really like this product. It is very safe, effective, and has a safety release mechanism in case you cat gets caught on something. I don’t recommend any other type of flea collar for cats- seresto is different from other collars because it is safe and effective, isn’t greasy or smelly, and doesn’t contain chemicals that are highly toxic to cats.

Question for readers: Are you guilty on skimping on your cat’s monthly flea and heartworm prevention? Have you ever had a good or bad experience with a product? Share below!

If you liked this post, please comment, subscribe, or share to help us reach more pet owners! Don’t forget to stop by on Thursday, where we will break down my 5 LEAST Favorite Flea Preventative for Dogs and Cats.

P.S. Happy Easter!

adorable-animal-breed-730848.jpg

Photo cred for Easter Bunny and Orange Cat Picture: Pexels.com

Advertisements

My 5 Favorite Flea Preventions (For Dogs)

Hi guys! Now that you know how important flea prevention is for your dog, you are probably feeling a little bit overwhelmed trying to figure out which product is the best. In this post, I am going to tell you which products are worth every penny- which to me means that they are highly efficacious, safe, and science based. I hope you enjoy the list. Check back on Sunday, where we will be talking about my five favorite flea preventions for cats, and next Thursday for my five LEAST favorite flea preventions.

Disclaimer: I have not been sponsored or paid to write about these products by anyone. These opinions are my own and are based of 2 years of experience as a veterinarian and a combined total of nearly 10 years of working in the veterinary medical field. My opinions do not necessarily represent the views of my employer or of the veterinary medical profession as a whole. To ensure complete transparency, products listed below that are followed by a star are sold in the veterinary practice where I work. Products that are underlined have been given to me as free samples by company representatives.

I only recommend products that are scientifically based, effective, safe, and that I would feel comfortable using on my own pets.

My Top 5 Favorite Flea Preventions for Dogs:

  1. Trifexis*
    Trifexis is my absolute favorite antiparasitic product on the market. It is a one monthly prevention that is given orally with a meal. It protects against fleas, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, and heartworms. It must be purchased with a valid prescription from a veterinarian and an up to date heartworm test. Animals that have had seizures before should not take this (or any oral flea preventatives). This product should always be given on a full stomach, as rare GI upset can occur. My dog, Gemma, is on this every month and has been since she was 5 months old. She looks forward to taking her special “treat” and has never had a problem with it.
  2. Revolution*
    This product is a heartworm and flea preventative (it also protects against one species of ticks, and is effective against mange mites). It is applied topically. Animals should have a heartworm test before purchasing this, and this should be purchased from a vet. Revolution is one of the safest products on the market. I’ve used it “off label” in very small pets such as neonatal puppies and kittens, guinea pigs, ferrets, and rabbits. The newest addition to my family, Franklin, is on this preventative as he is currently too small for anything else.
  3. Nexgard*, Bravecto* Chewables
    These are some of the newer preventatives out there. Simparico is another comparable product, but it is not on this list as I am not familiar with it. These products are given orally, and are flavored chewable tablets that most dogs actually love to take. Like other oral products, don’t use them if your pet has seizures. These products also kill ticks, but do not protect against heartworms or intestinal parasites. Nexgard lasts for one month and Bravecto lasts for 3 months. You do not need a heartworm test to purchase these, although they should be purchased from your vet. My oldest dog, Willow, takes Nexgard (and heartgard) every month. She is very picky about pills, but she loves them!
  4. K9 Advantix II
    K9 Advantix and Seresto (below) are made by Bayer Health and are the only OTC products that I trust. K9 Advantix is highly effective at killing and repelling fleas, ticks, and mosquitos. It is applied topically. You can get this product at many pet stores, and you don’t need a prescription from your veterinarian. Be very careful with this product if you have cats- if a cat is exposed to the product while it is still wet or if it is accidentally put on a cat, it could be fatal.
  5. Seresto Collars
    Seresto collars are the only collar you’ll ever hear me (and probably most other veterinarians) recommend. How are they different from other collars on the market? For one, they aren’t greasy, smelly, or gross. It lasts for a whole eight months and has been extensively researched and found to be very safe. The product has been rigorously tested- and is safe even if the collar is chewed on or ingested. Most other collars aren’t efficacious, are smelly and greasy, last for a month or less, and can be toxic if swallowed. My dog, Gemma, wears a Seresto collar in the summers (and also takes Trifexis) to protect her from ticks.

Question For Readers: Are you familiar with any of these products? Which are your favorite? Why?

If you liked this post, please comment, subscribe, or share to help us reach more pet owners!

 

My Flea Confession (and what you can learn from it)

Guys, I have a confession to make.

A few months ago, I was sitting on the couch with my fiancé watching TV. One of my cats, Thursday, hopped up in my lap. We have tortoise shell cats that are extremely sassy (we call it their “tortitude,”), and so it is a special occasion if they want attention. I seized the day and began petting her, only to become horrified a few seconds later.

MY CAT HAD FLEAS!!!

“How could this happen?” I found myself thinking, “My cats only stay indoors, I have hard wood floors, and both of my dogs are on flea prevention!”

I immediately started laughing. I had just used the same excuses that my clients rattle off day in and day out, and I definitely knew better. I had been telling my clients for two years that they needed to have all of their animals on flea prevention- even the ones that are “indoor only.” And now, I realized that I wasn’t practicing what I preach!

It was humbling, to say the least.

Luckily, I immediately applied Bravecto for cats (a topical feline flea prevention that lasts for an entire THREE months), and the problem went away. I am extra careful now to make sure that I give the torties their flea and heartworm prevention every month, at the same time I give my dogs theirs. I hope to never be in a state of ‘flea-nial” ever again!

FLEA-NIAL: The state of denial a pet owner is in when they say “my pet doesn’t have fleas” (and their pet definitely has fleas).

Now, you can learn from my mistake. Here are a few reasons why ALL mammals in the household need to be on flea prevention:

  1. You can track fleas, flea eggs, or other parasites into your home. Fleas can come into your house on you or your shoes. Don’t worry- they won’t parasitize humans, our body temperature is just a little too cold for them.
  2. Your dogs- even if they are on flea prevention- can track parasites into your home. Many preventions need the flea to bite the pet in order to kill the flea. This means that a flea could “hitch a ride” on an indoor/outdoor pet, come in, jump off, and colonize your indoor-only pets.
  3. It only takes two fleas to start a family. Listen, kids. When a mommy flea and a daddy flea love each other very much… But, seriously. A female flea can lay over 500 eggs in her lifetime. And those fleas can lay 500 eggs. Two fleas can easily start an infestation.
  4. Dormant stages of the flea’s life cycle can live in the environment for MONTHS. I usually tell my clients that it takes at least 4 months to get rid of an active flea infestation in your home. That is because certain life stages of the flea, especially the pupal stage, can live in your environment for up to 4 months. Because of this, you must use your products continuously and year round to prevent reinfection of your pet.
  5. Fleas can survive the winter. Especially if they are indoors, on an inside only pet, or laying dormant in your home. I see almost as many animals suffering from flea infestation in the winter as I do in the summer. I suspect that this is because owners are not as diligent as applying flea prevention in the winter time.

fleas.jpg

Picture of the flea life cycle: borrowed from Eli Lilly and Trifexis.

Now, hopefully you have learned from my stupidity and now know the reasons WHY you need flea prevention, even in indoor pets. If you liked this post, please comment, share, or join the conversation on twitter @KatieHoganDVM

You won’t want to miss my post on Thursday- we will be talking about which flea preventions work well, which work some of the time, which are a waste of money, and which can actually be harmful to your four-legged friend.

Question for readers: Have you ever had a problem with fleas in your home? How did you finally manage to get ahead of the problem (or are you still struggling with it)!?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in my professional veterinary career, to apply to my own pets. I also work at a veterinary clinic that sells flea and heartworm prevention. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers and thier animals. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”