Is Cat Flea Control Necessary? Why You Should be Aware of Flea Protection

Is Cat Flea Control Necessary?
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Flea control for cats is just as important as it is for dogs. Learn the importance of making sure your feline is protected throughout the year, not just during flea and tick season.

Is flea control necessary for cats? The short answer โ€“ yes. Cats benefit from flea and tick preventatives just like dogs.

Surprised? Turns out you're not alone. Most people associate flea problems with Fido the family dog but scruffy canines aren't the only ones susceptible to infestation. Our feline friends are just as much at risk for picking up pests, especially outdoor cats or cats exposed to dogs who spend time outside.

It may seem that the battle against fleas and ticks is never-ending, that fleas and ticks are inevitable nuisances and even dangers. But a little prevention goes a long way. Think of flea and tick problems like a sunburn: If you go out in the sun, you might get burned, depending on your skin, where you live, and so on. If you wear sunscreen you are protected, from sunburn and worse! Similarly, when dogs and cats spend time outside in the warmer months, that's when fleas and ticks are active. Protect them with preventative medication like spot-on treatments.

Flea and Tick 101

Fleas are small wingless parasitic insects that live off the blood of mammals and birds. Unfortunately, fleas tend to bother our furry friends more frequently. If you have a strictly indoor cat, you may not need to be as stringent when it comes to tick prevention--ticks don't track inside from other animals and spread as fleas do. If you have an outdoor cat, both flea and tick prevention is a no-brainer. If you have an indoor cat, consider warm weather flea treatment at a minimum.

What is the best treatment option for your cat?

Since there are so many options out there, every cat parent should compare flea treatments for cats. Spot-on treatments, like Advantage II for Cats, are one of the most effective methods of keeping your cat flea-free. Most spot-on products need to be applied once a month, are waterproof, and begin working after just 12 hours. Other methods include oral medicine, shampoo, sprays, and collars. One of the safest and most hassle-free prevention methods is flea and tick collars. Collars can provide protection for up to eight months by emitting medication into the skin in order to paralyze pests so they fall off and die. Do not use canine flea and tick medicine on felines and vice versa. All the above flea and tick treatment options are effective, yet each method can have mild side effects. Use what works best for your pet and talk to your vet if you have any questions.

Can Cats Take Flea and Tick Medication for Dogs? 

No, cats cannot safely take flea and tick medication meant for dogs.

Step away from the one-step. Using canine products to treat a cat problem such as fleas is a common, but incredibly dangerous practice when it comes to preventative pet care. While both animals fall under the furry friend umbrella, cats and dogs are in the separate but equal category wherever health is concerned.  

Most common canine flea and tick prevention medicines are in fact toxic to cats. Advantix, for example, contains the ingredient permethrin, which can cause feline fatalities if ingested. Products containing permethrin or any product labeled โ€˜for dogs onlyโ€™ should never be used on cats, plain and simple. Even allowing your cat in a close or enclosed area with a dog that has been recently treated with flea and tick medicine can have serious health-related consequences if accidentally ingested. As a rule of thumb, it is best to keep your dog and cat separated for the first 12-24 hours after using any spot-on products or environmental preventatives.

Why Can't Dogs and Cats Take the Same Medicine?

Simply put, cats and dogs need different medicines because they have very unique metabolic systems. They digest and metabolize everything differently, from food to medicine and everything in between. For example, it is a known fact that dogs can become seriously ill from ingesting chocolate. Meanwhile, cats, who are known to have a more sensitive stomach, can enjoy the sweet treat without any side effects. 

While cats cannot take dog flea and tick products, there are a few products that are made specifically for cats and dogs. When applicable, this information will be prominently displayed on the label. Always make sure your product says it is safe for cats and check with your vet if you are at all uncertain.

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis, or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.

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