As the warm weather is here, so is the worry of protecting our cats from fleas and ticks. If your cats are going outside on a catio, it’s important to find suitable treatments. Let us help you understand your available options as you begin your search.
Remember: Consult your veterinarian about your options. Always do your own research, be sure to look up adverse reactions and effects, and read customer experiences.
Formats of Flea & Tick Prevention:
Registrations for Flea & Tick Prevention for Cats:
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) - regulates parasiticide, requires veterinarian’s prescription.
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) - regulates pesticides, does not require a prescription and can be purchased at pet stores.
FDA or EPA- regulated treatments have different active ingredients, strengths, and abilities. Some only target fleas, while others prevent ticks and other types of parasites. Each will have a different period for how frequently they must be redosed. Follow instructions carefully.
These products contain chemicals that contain toxins that are harmful to cats. When searching for a chemical option, read labels carefully and look for less toxic ingredients like s-methoprene or pyriproxyfen.
FleasGone Tag - a non-toxic antiparasitic collar tag!
Natural/holistic remedies (store-bought or homemade)
Food grade diatomaceous earth - made from fossilized remains of diatoms (small, aquatic organisms).
Plants - place in your garden or Catio to ward off unwanted pests.
Beneficial nematodes - put these worms in the soil of your yard to eat flea larvae (purchased from garden supply stores).
As cat parents are doing more research on certain products, many are searching for natural/holistic alternatives. Although these do not contain the use of chemicals, research is still necessary, as some may contain ingredients that are still toxic to cats in large quantities or with prolonged use.
Cautions to not take lightly:
Pet store options are less regulated vet options.
Essential oils are toxic to cats, and even small amounts that are diluted can cause complications.
Cats groom themselves - consider placement of preventatives and if they can or cannot be ingested.
Cats are not dogs! Dog-specific flea and tick treatments cannot be used on your cat!
Each cat’s needs differ based on size, breed, age, and health status of your cat.
Read and follow labels and directions meticulously.
Chemical treatments have the potential to cause moderate-severe adverse reactions, such as temperament change (reactive or skiddish), localized irritation (red skin, loss of fur), seizures, and could lead to death.
Natural remedies have the potential to not be as effective or consistent, and dosing can be harder to control/pinpoint.
Flea and tick prevention is a difficult task to find the best solution for, but don’t get discouraged in your hunt. Keep a flea comb and tick remover in your home and do regular head to tail checks on your cat to ensure the treatment is working.
What experiences do you have with different flea and tick preventions? Which methods have worked for you? Share your stories below to help a fellow cat parent!