It should be simple but your cats flea treatment is actually surprisingly complicated. We can be so cynical about manufactured products, many of us assume all the options are really made of the same ingredients. However modern advances in insecticide safety and innovative new chemicals which affect insect growth hormones or ability to reproduce, have really altered the way flea medicines work. So how do you choose the product best for you and your cat?
The first choice you need to make is what method of treatment you favor? Shampoos, sprays, collars and spot on topical flea treatments are the most widely available options. Within each product range there will be a variety of prices because different products will target different stages of fleas and for a different length of time. Find your preferred method of getting that flea medicine onto your cat first, then look at the options.
Each method of application has its advocates and its problems. Shampoos offer immediate flea relief but only if you have a cat happy to be bathed regularly. Sprays are simple to use but cause stress for some pets. Collars offer long-term protection cheaply but some owners dislike allowing a cat outside wearing a collar due to the risk of injury foradventurous felines. Topical spot on treatments tend to offer the most reliable long-term coverage but do use strong chemicals and can be expensive.
Once you decide how you prefer to get that medicine onto your cat you need to decide what you are hoping to destroy. Different meds will target different stages of adult and juvenile fleas. For cats roaming free in areas with abundant fleas you need to destroy as many fleas of all stages as possible or the infestation will be almost continual. Indoor cats who rarely encounter adult fleas may be easily (and very cheaply) treatable with a one off adult flea killing shampoo followed by a very cheap topical treatment which only destroys flea eggs and larvae.
Do not forget about the other pests attacking your cat. Ticks, mites and worms can all be targeted with a combined flea treatment if necessary. That will cost more money, so if such pests as ticks are few and far between forget about regular medication incorporated with your flea product.
Safety concerns are understandable when putting a pesticide chemical onto our cats. But, be wary of scare stories. The Federal Drug Agency is a good source of information on what chemicals are of current concern and what side affects are possible. Treating a cat for fleas, is always a more sensible option than not, as fleas can cause long-term health problems such asanaemia, tapeworm and dermatitis . The number of cats who do react badly to cat flea treatments is small compared to the number of cats treated. But, any responsible owner should always monitor their cat after using any medication including these.
Perhaps the most widely publicised problem has been with flea and tick collars. But, this is one of the options which should be safest, so long as owners keep an eye on their pets. After all if you see a reaction you can immediately remove the collar to stop the reaction progressing. It is always sensible to check on our pets regularly and take any concerns immediately to the vet.In fact do not forget your vet, they are a great source of information when trying to choose a new cat flea medicine. They see any adverse reactions first hand. Likewise, friends and colleagues who are also cat owners are a good way of choosing the best flea med for your cat. All advice should be considered, but remember each cat is different and the practicalities of the treatment should be your primary concern.