As a cat owner, there are plenty of things you need to be watching out for. Your cat might be an adventurous soul, or a sociable one around other cats in the neighborhood – but it doesn’t need to explore far to be at a risk of getting fleas. As parasites, they cause discomfort, spread fast, and can be an irritant, or even harmful if left untreated. More than this, they are a nuisance, can affect your lifestyle, promote bad hygiene, and can easily spread to other animals – something that no owner will thank you for.
Thankfully, there’s never been a worse time to be a flea. More so than ever, companies are developing treatments that are not only effective, they can be applied at home, are cheap, and usually stress and hassle-free. They range from drops, to flea-resistant collars, to oral flea treatments for cats. In this article, we will be talking about what fleas are, why they require treatment, and assessing the uses of oral flea treatments for cats. We will also consider some of the best products on the market, as well as some alternative treatments.
What are fleas?
As mentioned before, fleas are parasites that live and feed on warm-blooded organisms. They are most commonly associated with dogs and cats, but in truth any animal can become stricken with fleas. They have several stages of their life cycle, and reproduce at an alarming rate, meaning any encounter can quickly become overwhelming. As one site notes:
Adult fleas live permanently on their animal host and the female flea produces eggs at a rate of 50 a day. The eggs fall off the cat and hatch into larvae in 2-16 days. They then change into an immobile pupa in a cocoon. An adult flea develops in the cocoon and awaits signals suggesting the presence of a host, such as heat, carbon dioxide and vibrations.
Once hatched from that cocoon, the fleas are ready to latch on to a new host immediately, but they have known to wait in that cocoon for up to 2 years. Warm, humid conditions expedite the process – which unfortunately means that fleas do best inside centrally-heated homes with carpets.
Owners finding fleas on their cat may choose to use oral flea treatment or any number of other remedies – but other than being an uncomfortable thing to think about, why should you be concerned that your cat has caught fleas?
Why should I be concerned that my cat has fleas?
There are many issues associated with fleas, some worse than others. Obviously the first is that flea bites – when they suck the blood of the cat – are uncomfortable and irritating. Cats will scratch at any bites long after they have first happened. Other than being a nuisance, they have the potential to become infected. Although humans are not hospitable hosts for fleas to live in the long-term, they can bite cat owners and cause irritation.
Fleas transferring from one animal to another risk carrying diseases, and because they leave eggs and droppings in a cat’s coat (the way to diagnose them is by combing your cat regularly to find them) there is also a hygiene concern. Fleas sucking the blood of kittens can cause anaemia.
Oral Flea Treatments
Oral Flea Treatments for Cats tend to come in tablet form. They are ingested in a cats diet, and provide immunity from many parasites including fleas. FleaBites.net notes that the benefits of administering it are thus:
- “Flea pills safely and effectively kills existing fleas and parasites within 30 minutes and prevents new ones
- Long lasting protection for up to 30 days
- Kills fleas on contact and prevents them from laying eggs
- Convenient, chewable form and flavors
- Prevents heartworms, roundworms, whipworms and ear mites as well [note: in some treatments]”
Oral Flea Treatments can also be bought for many more specific stages of a fleas life cycle; some will kill only adult fleas, some are more effective for stopping every process. Given that cats require worming tablets as well, the fact that some oral flea treatments cover all parasites is appealing.
The Best Oral Flea Treatment for Cats Available
PetArmor FastCaps (nitenpyram) Oral Flea Treatment Medication
The FastCaps by PetArmor are so named because they start working within 30 minutes of administering them. Intended as a ‘one pill to kill them all’ treatment, PetArmor recommends that you give it to all the cats living under the same roof to prevent infection of an untreated cat. Users have commented on just how easy it is to apply versus some traditional methods such as using shampoo. Definitely the best oral flea treatment for cats out there!
Novartis Capstar Flea Tablets for Dogs and Cats
Cheaper than the Capstar you might find at the vet, this is also a single-dose variety that can be given without prescription. This product from Novartis is incredibly effective, as many of the consumers using it will attest (as well as how happy their pets are afterwards!). However, it only targets the adult fleas, and will not harm the eggs or the baby fleas, therefore extra care and attention should be taken to remove all of these through other methods.
Obviously, as with all medication, there is a chance that the cat won’t take them. Felines are good at sniffing out foreign substances ‘hidden’ in their food by optimistic owners, and you may find them eating around it. Some tablets (not of the chewable variety) may be administered with specially-designed syringes.
Another thing to note in all cases is that the flea tablets designed specifically for dogs are not suitable for cats, and can be very harmful; they are not a substitute!
Other Forms of Treatment for Fleas in Cats
Oral Flea Treatments for Cats are an effective remedy, but not the only option for owners hoping to rid their pets of these parasites. If you find flea treatments aren’t working out for you, you might try a few of the following:
- Flea Drops, known as ‘spot-on’, are a common and very applicable form of treatment. They are applied directly onto the skin of a cat, affecting the fleas where they live. However, cats may not enjoy the sensation, and may attempt to rub the residue off at the first possible instant (negating the effect entirely).
- Flea Shampoo: Anybody who has ever tried to wash their pet cat will appreciate that this is no walk in the park, cats being notoriously hard to settle in one place against their will and incredibly unhappy being wet. However, a full body wash with an effective shampoo can make sure no strand of fur is left unturned in the fight against tenacious fleas.
- Collars: Flea collars are a great option as well, and reduce discomfort due to the fact that most cats wear collars anyway. They present risks, such as choking, or could even fall off and thus are rendered useless. Despite those inherent risks (not very likely to happen), we can only recommend those collars as they have proven extremely effective on our little Yoda.
- For the house: Preventing re-infection and promoting good hygiene should be as important as treating your cat – therefore sprays (for the carpet) can kill fleas and their eggs that have departed your pet’s coat. Regular vacuuming will also get rid of lingering parasites.
Final thoughts: the best oral flea treatment for cats
Fleas can be extremely disturbing for your household. This is the reason why, we, at Fluffy Kitty take this matter very seriously. We know what it takes because we’ve been there and we had to learn about it the hard way as we were in Nepal at the time and did not have access to the proper medication for our beast. We recommend that after using an oral flea treatment, you make sure to clean your house and protect your cat from future “attacks” by purchasing a good anti flea collar. It worked for us, I’m sure it will work for you too! Thanks for reading and see you next time.