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A case of fleas is more than just an itchy annoyance for your cat. It actually poses some significant health risks. In addition to causing your pet to scratch and bite at himself, cats with fleas have a greater risk of contracting tapeworms (which are spread through fleas), and severe cases can even cause anemia.
Fortunately, there’s a whole spectrum of flea treatments out there to help your cat stay flea-free. And a lot of them also help prevent against lice and ticks as well. From flea collars to shampoos to yard treatments, we’ve rounded up the products cat owners consistently rave about and will work for your lifestyle (and your cat's preference). Take a look—and as a reminder, never use a flea product intended for dogs directly on your feline.
01 of 08
Best Collar: Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
If your cat is picky about taking pills or receiving topical treatments, a flea collar is an easy alternative that can be just as effective. Our top pick is this collar from Bayer, which is effective for a full eight months and offers continuous protection from fleas and ticks. The active ingredients in the collar are released in low concentrations, protecting your cat and killing fleas on contact with the skin. The formulation is odorless and non-greasy, and is also effective against flea eggs and larvae, preventing infestations before they happen.
Flea collars have gotten a bad rap over the years due to the chemicals used in some products. But customers say the Bayer Seresto collar is fully safe, and effectively protected their cats against fleas—just check with your veterinarian if you’re concerned your pet may be allergic before purchasing.
02 of 08
Best Shampoo: Sentry PurrScriptions Flea and Tick Shampoo for Cats
Found some fleas on your feline? Give them a run for their money with Sentry PurrScription’s flea and tick shampoo. This formulation kills fleas, ticks, and lice on contact while adding luster to your cat’s coat, with a coconut berry scent that will leave them both flea-free and fresh-smelling.
Customers say they’ve seen dead fleas fall off their cat immediately upon use, simply leaving it on for 4 to 5 minutes, rinsing, and repeating if necessary. They also note it leaves their cat’s fur exceptionally soft and fluffy. While your cat’s experience may vary based on their overall feelings of getting wet, count Sentry PurrScriptions as both an effective treatment and a great shampoo.
03 of 08
Best Waterless Shampoo: Vet's Best Flea & Tick Waterless Bath for Cats
As we’ve established, cats are picky animals. Some struggle with water, while others resist standard topical treatments. So why not try a waterless shampoo, like this one from Vet’s Best? Rather than requiring you to apply a formula to your cat’s skin, it can simply be sprayed on straight from the bottle. Like other treatments, kills and repels fleas, ticks, and lice while cleaning your pet’s coat.
Reviewers say the product is effective, and perfect for the bath-averse. It’s also great for cats who are allergic to certain topical applications, where the treatment must be applied directly to the skin.
04 of 08
Best Cat Spray: Bayer Advantage Flea Tick and Lice Treatment Spray for Cats
This spray from Bayer has an important bonus. In addition to being an effective flea, tick, and lice treatment for your cat (just spritz it on like dry shampoo), it’s an effective ally for pet owners struggling with a flea infestation in their household. Since it’s a spray, Bayer Advantage can be used to kill fleas in bedding, upholstery and even the cracks between cabinets. This makes it a valuable addition to your complete tick and flea control program. And a must-have for households that typically battle these pesky critters.
Use it on pet bedding and even outdoors to fully safeguard your home against a flea invasion. Reviewers say the smell of the product isn’t great, but it reliably kills fleas on contact, and isn't that all you really want done when fleas strike?Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Best Fast-Acting: Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets
Need to get rid of a bad case of fleas—fast? Novartis Capstar flea tablets are our top pick for a fast-acting product, with a single dose killing the fleas on your cat in approximately six hours. While it’s not a replacement for long-acting treatment, it’s a good way to bridge the gap and make your pet more comfortable in the short term.
Reviewers recommend pairing Capstar with long-acting treatments like Frontline for both short- and long-term results. However, it’s acceptable to give your cat Capstar once a day. Bear in mind that the product only kills adult fleas. Your cat will also have to take this orally so if you've had trouble with medicine in the past you might want to try another form of treatment. This comes in a version for cats and dogs under 25 pounds or one over 25 pounds. Keep this on hand if you have a household with multiple types of pets and want to act fast.
06 of 08
Best Treatment: Bayer Advantage II Flea Prevention for Cats
Bayer Advantage II is one of the go-to flea treatments for cats. It’s a set-and-forget solution, effective against fleas for four weeks and starts working in 12 hours. Simply applying the product to your cat’s neck kills fleas upon contact, without requiring them to bite the skin. It’s also fragrance-free, waterproof and kills larvae and flea eggs as well as adults.
While the product is on the expensive side, customers say it’s worth it—and much cheaper than a trip to the vet. Be sure to buy the correct formula based on the weight of your cat.
07 of 08
Best Comb: Safari Flea Comb for Cats
If you’re in the midst of an epic battle against fleas in your household, this Safari flea comb is your new best friend. While topical treatments and other approaches are an important piece of the puzzle, owners will still want to brush their pets down to ensure they get every flea off of their feline. This comb performs the task beautifully, pulling adult fleas out of your pet’s fur without causing discomfort.
While combing, focus on the areas around the ears, the nape of the neck and base of the tail. Some reviewers recommend dunking the brush in hot water the moment it catches a flea, in order to kill the insect and dispose of properly. In the words of one customer, “I could cry from gratitude from how well this works.”
08 of 08
Best Yard Treatment: Vet's Best Flea & Tick Yard & Kennel Spray
Your flea control plan isn’t complete if you aren’t considering the outdoor parts of your property. This product from Vet’s Best does a stellar job of fighting flea, ticks, and mosquitos on your turf, so not only will your cat benefit but you'll reap the rewards as well. Simply connect the bottle to your garden hose and treat up to 4,500 square feet of yard space for bugs in one fell swoop. Trust us: Your cat will thank you.
Formulated with essential oils and plant-based ingredients, this spray is safe to use around your family and won’t harm trees, shrubs, or flowers. Customers say it’s especially effective against ticks, which are a scourge in certain parts of the country and pose as much of a risk to people as they do to pets. So if you have outdoor cats it might be worth it to treat your yard with this for piece of mind. Many note this has a strong peppermint smell so be aware.