Years ago there were many areas in the Southern United States in which it was basically impossible to effectively protect your pets from fleas and ticks. In these regions, these parasites had grown resistant to the products designed for use on cats. The only effective products were dips or "pour-ons" that were strong, highly concentrated products that were designed strictly for use on cattle. These often made the pets sick and even the owners would often complain of headaches or nausea the first few days following the animal's treatment. Over time, the area containing these more resistant fleas and ticks grew larger, spreading farther north and west.
Even in areas of the U.S. where products manufactured for cats were effective, they were messy and had to be utilized frequently. Examples of such products were dips, sprays, shampoos, powder, plastic collars, and others. Depending on the severity of the problem, pets had to be re-treated every week or two throughout the flea and tick season. It consumed a lot of time and effort on the part of responsible owners.
In the last few years this has all changed for the better. Fleas and ticks have never been easier or safer to control than they are today. We only need to treat our pets once a month and the current products are safe for both the pet and his owner. Most prefer to simply run a tiny amount of a liquid directly on the skin behind the cat's head. These are referred to as topicals (e.g. Advantage, Frontline Plus, Frontline and Bio Spot). A second alternative is a once-a-month pill or oral treat such as
Program. All of these products have several different ingredients that, depending on the product, may kill fleas and/or ticks that are on your pet or in his immediate environment. Additionally, most also contain growth inhibitors that prevent flea eggs from hatching or immature forms from developing into adults.
Our favorite flea control product for cats is
Advantage II for Cats. It is our doctor's recommended once-a-month flea topical for your cat because it stops fleas from biting within 5 minutes, kills 98%-100% of fleas within 12 hours, and is ideal for cats with flea allergy dermatitis. It also helps to prevent tapeworm infection. It comes in an easy-squeeze tube for trouble-free application.
If you have a tick problem in addition to fleas, consider a combination flea and tick control product, such as
Bio Spot Defense SPOT ON®. It provides economical monthly protection from a single application to save you money and save your pet from discomfort. Bio Spot® SPOT ON® kills adult fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and mosquitoes. Simply squeeze the pre-measured tube onto the cat's skin at the base of the cat's skull and reapply monthly - it's that easy.
Wondering what active ingredients are in your topicals? Click
here to see a list of active ingredients in flea and tick control products for cats.