Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds
Looking for the best way to protect your cat from fleas, ticks and worms? From spot-on treatments and sprays, tablets to collars and shampoos or powders, there are plenty of options out there from brands like Frontline and Stronghold. Read on to find the best flea and worm treatment for your cat.
- Spot on and spray treatments for cats
- Flea, tick, lice and mite collars for cats
- Worming treatment for cats
- Flea and worm tablets for cats
- Flea, tick and lice shampoo for cats
- Flea, tick and lice powder for cats
Preventative treatment: an essential precaution
Treating your cat against fleas and all other parasites is essential for their physical and mental well-being. In addition to causing serious skin issues, fleas can trigger stress from scratching and can lead to the development of other conditions.
Some types of skin and intestinal parasites can also be passed on to humans so it's well worth carrying out a preventative treatment.
Spot-on and spray treatments for cats
Spot-on treatments for cats must be administered every month. They are designed to be applied behind the neck to prevent the cat from licking the treatment off while cleaning. The most well-known spot-on treatment is Frontline, which contains an insecticide called Fipronil. However, this alone is not always effective at eliminating fleas. This is why Fipronil is usually replaced by or used in combination with other active ingredients (Sarolaner, Fluralaner).
Spot on treatments must be applied directly to the skin. You will have to hold your cat still in order to move the fur aside and squeeze the contents of the pipette onto the neck.
Some cats with a very sensitive digestive system or skin may have an allergic reaction to this type of treatment. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include excessive itching or hair loss in any area that has come into contact with the product. The only solution is to wash your cat and, if your vet advises, to use an anti-inflammatory until the skin has healed.
Flea, tick, lice and mite collars for cats
Flea collars for cats are designed to spread a steady flow of insecticide. Their aim is to kill any fleas on your cat and to repel ticks. To do so, these collars contain active ingredients. You should bear in mind that these ingredients could come into contact with children or the environment. However, flea collars do provide protection for a minimum of 4 months. Seresto collars, for example, can protect your cat for around 7 to 8 months.
This type of product should be odourless, water-resistant and should fit your cat's neck perfectly. Some cats will have a skin reaction to flea collars (redness, spots scratching, rashes); this indicates that the collar is not a suitable solution for your pet.
Additionally, a collar can cause injuries among outdoor cats. In this case, it's best to go for a spot-on or tablet treatment.
Worming treatment for cats
Cat worm treatments are designed to eliminate any intestinal parasites, such as roundworms, tapeworms and hookworms. A cat that has worms can suffer from severe diarrhoea (putting them at risk of dehydration), anaemia, weight loss and, in serious cases, even intestinal perforation. Cats can also pass worms onto any animals or humans they are in contact with; in the latter case, this is known zoonosis. As the lifespan of the eggs can be very long, the treatment must be repeated regularly. Some vets will recommend worming your cat every month, others will suggest every few months.
Please note that kittens must be wormed every month up to the age of 6 months.
Indoor cats should also be wormed 3 or 4 times a year to prevent roundworms and tapeworms. Your home can still become infested via other animals or even through the soles of your shoes.
And contrary to popular belief, grass is not a natural wormer! The best option is to worm your pet regularly using a method that suits them. If you like, you can use a natural plant-based option like lavender or thyme alongside the treatment.
Flea and worm tablets for cats
Flea or worm tablets are recommended for cats that have reactive or sensitive skin. They work to kill internal or external parasites, as well as any eggs.
To encourage your cat to swallow these pills, they can be cut up into small pieces and mixed in with food. Alternatively, if the tablet is small enough, you can place it in your cat's mouth, close their mouth and massage their throat to encourage them to swallow.
If you choose to go for flea and worm treatments in tablet form, make sure to leave a few days between the pills and to start with the flea treatment.
Flea, tick and lice shampoo for cats
Flea shampoos are used for cats that are already infested with fleas, lice or mites. They work to kill the fleas, eggs and any other parasites that may be hidden and stuck in your pet's fur.
Medicated shampoo will clean your cat (skin, fur and undercoat) and help to relieve any skin irritation caused by fleas, such as flea allergy dermatitis. If your cat is suffering from severe itching, your vet can help you to recommend a treatment to use alongside a shampoo.
Several applications may be required to tackle parasites.
Some plant-based shampoos that work as a repellent can be a good preventative option.
A word of warning: never use a flea shampoo designed for dogs on a cat as dog shampoos often contain permethrin which is toxic to cats.
Struggling to get your cat into the shower? Try using one grooming glove to shampoo and another to rinse!
Flea, tick and lice powder for cats
Many cats do not like water, so using a shampoo is simply out of the question. If your cat is flea-ridden, a flea powder can be a good alternative to other external flea treatments. These powders are designed to kill fleas, eggs and larvae. A powder containing Tetramethrin will act as an insecticide against ticks as well as fleas.
How do you apply a flea powder to a cat?
- Spread the powder over the fur avoiding the eye area and mouth.
- Massage the product in against the fur.
- Brush carefully.
You will have to reapply the treatment up to 3 times a week. If this doesn't work, you will have to find an alternative treatment. Powders do sometimes have a repellent effect meaning they can also be used as a preventative treatment. Flea powders can be applied from the age of 2 months.
Flea and worm treatment for kittens
Kittens are tiny creatures that are still developing. It is therefore necessary to protect them from all types of parasites. Kittens are commonly affected by fleas and worms. It is absolutely essential to treat them quickly and carefully in order to allow them to grow up in the best condition. Kittens can be treated against fleas from 1 kg onwards.
Brushing is also a useful way to get your kitten used to being handled and to remove any fleas or larvae.
Stronghold spot-on treatment is commonly recommended as it tackles fleas at every stage of their lives (adults, larvae and eggs).
There are special worming tablets designed for kittens (such as Milbemax). It's important to note that only a wide-spectrum worm treatment can tackle all the different types of intestinal parasites. As worming treatment is calculated by weight, it is essential to ask your vet for advice – especially if your kitten suffers from any parasites early on in their life.
For any flea or worm treatment, choose high-quality products out of respect to your pet and to guarantee effectiveness. Remember to check how often you need to administer treatment. Finally, if your cat is suffering from fleas, you will also have to treat your home using a special spray or another type of insecticide.
Guide written by:
Pauline, Self-taught handyman, Leeds, 97 guides
With a handyman-father, I grew up with the soft sound of the sander and hammer on weekends. I am both manual and cerebral (yes, it is possible.), I learned the basics of DIY and the customization of furniture because I was passionate. The salvage mentality is a true way of life that allowed me to know how to use all the tools and products needed to give something a second life, from sander to varnish. I have two favorite activities: the transformation of old furniture and decoration tips. I am always ready to lend a helping hand to revamp a table or to restore a mirror that was intended for the trash that will become a friend’s centerpiece. I’m convinced that it’s possible to reinvent an interior by small, regular modifications, I constantly research low-cost, test ideas.