The Best Flea Treatments for Cats

Fleas are certainly annoying for your pet, causing persistent itchiness and irritation, but they can also be dangerous for your pet’s health. Fleas can transfer parasites like tapeworms (requiring a cat dewormer to treat), cause a reaction like flea allergy dermatitis, or lead to anemia. They can even transmit bacterial infections like Bartonella (Cat Scratch Fever) and Yersinia pestis (the Plague) which your cat can then pass on to you and other members of your household.

To avoid all of this, using a good flea treatment for cats is essential. We reviewed dozens of flea treatments for cats to identify the best of the best. We considered features like how quickly the product takes effect, how it’s applied, how long the treatment lasts, what ingredients are included, and the degree of protection, all to help you pinpoint the best flea treatment for your cat. To start with, we’ll go over our top five choices, then move on to 20 other excellent options to help you make your decision.

Top Pick
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Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats

This waterproof topical flea treatment kills adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs for complete protection.

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$58.99 USD

Our top pick is Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats. It was the obvious winner due to benefits like elimination of fleas across the flea life cycle, once monthly application, a waterproof topical formula, and quickly taking effect.

The 5 Top-Rated Flea Treatments for Cats

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallBayer Advantage II for Large Cats4.3
Runner UpVectra for Cats4.3
Best Budget BuyPet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick Spray4.2
Best Flea Treatment Tablets for CatsSentry Capguard Oral Flea Control Medication3.9
Best Topical Flea Treatment for CatsElanco Animal Health Cheristin for Cats4.2

*Ratings are from Amazon at the time of publication and can change

Our Top Pick: Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats

Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats is a quick and effective topical flea treatment. It kills between 98% and 100% of fleas within 12 hours and 99% of flea larvae in just 20 minutes, completely halting the flea reproduction cycle. And it works through contact, so no biting is necessary. Bayer Advantage II is waterproof and lasts for four weeks; any new fleas that land on your cat in that period are killed within two hours.

Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats is safe for cats that weigh more than nine pounds, but you can also get the same effectiveness in dosages that are more suitable for smaller cats. For cats the weigh between five and nine pounds you should go with Bayer Advantage II for Small Cats, and for cats that weigh between two and five pounds you can use Bayer Advantage II for Kittens. None of these products, however, should be used on cats less than eight weeks old.

Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats Key Features:

  • Stops flea life cycle within 12 hours
  • Waterproof
  • Versions for cats across a variety of weights
  • No biting required to kill fleas
  • Primary active ingredient is imidacloprid
  • Also contains pyriproxyfen

Our Runner Up Pick: Vectra for Cats

Runner Up
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Vectra for Cats

This topical flea treatment starts killing fleas in just six hours!

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$55.69 USD

Vectra for Cats is another great flea treatment option and our runner-up pick. Like Advantage II, Vectra is a monthly topical flea treatment that kills fleas across all life stages and is effective at both eliminating existing flea infestations and preventing future infestations. Vectra also doesn’t require fleas to bite to be effective. However, unlike Advantage II, Vectra kills fleas within just six hours.

So why is it our runner-up pick? Well, for one, Vectra isn’t waterproof, so you’ll have to make sure the product thoroughly dries before allowing your cat to groom itself, go outside, or get in any other situation that could cause the flea treatment to come off. Fortunately, Vectra has a quick drying, non-greasy formula. Vectra is also a little bit more expensive than Advantage II.

Vectra for Cats Key Features:

  • Stops flea life cycle within six hours
  • Package includes six one month doses
  • No biting required to kill fleas
  • Suitable for cats eight weeks old and older
  • Primary active ingredient is dinotefuran
  • Also includes pyriproxyfen.

Best Budget Pick: Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick Spray

Best for Budget
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Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick Spray

This flea spray is an affordable way to repel fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and flies.

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$13.39 USD

Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick Spray is a great choice for flea treatment on a budget. It repels not just fleas, but also ticks, mosquitoes, and flies using natural ingredients to mask your pet’s scent. It’s safe for both dogs and cats, even as kittens and puppies, and can be used to treat bedding, collars, and grooming tools as well as pets. Unlike many other flea treatment sprays, this one has a very pleasant scent and doesn’t feel sticky once dried.

However, it doesn’t kill parasites, it only repels them, so if your pet already has a flea infestation, you’ll need to either carefully remove the fleas yourself using a flea comb and tweezers, or use a flea treatment that kills fleas.

This flea treatment also isn’t waterproof, so you’ll need to re-apply it if your cat gets wet. Fortunately, the spray on application is quick and easy. Just spray your cat’s coat thoroughly and use a cloth to apply the product to their face.

Pet Naturals of Vermont Flea + Tick Spray Key Features:

  • Uses natural ingredients like lemongrass oil, cinnamon oil, sesame oil, and castor oil
  • Smells great
  • Non-toxic to pets, even when ingested
  • Safe to treat pet’s environment
  • Repels ticks, mosquitoes, and flies as well as fleas

Best Flea Treatment Tablets for Cats: Sentry Capguard Oral Flea Control Medication

Best Flea Treatment Tablets for Cats
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Sentry Capguard Oral Flea Control Medication

These flea treatment tablets are a great way to provide flea protection to cats that can be difficult to treat topically.

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$42.92 USD

Many cat owners find their cat to be too wiggly or stubborn for topical flea treatment application. In these cases, Sentry Capguard Oral Flea Control Medication is the way to go. Just slip the tablet in a Pill Pocket or your cat’s food and the treatment will start killing adult within about 30 minutes of ingestion. And oral dosage means that there’s no sticky residue left on your pet and no risk of accidentally rubbing or washing the treatment off.

Sentry Capguard continues to kill fleas for 24 hours, so it’s not a long-term flea preventative. If your cat goes outside or comes in contact with other animals that do, then you’ll need to combine Sentry Capguard with a preventative. On the other hand, if you have a new cat with fleas or your cat got fleas from some freak occurrence so you don’t need long-lasting protection, then Sentry Capguard should do the job.

One advantage of this short effectiveness period is that you can safely re-treat your pet at any time after that 24 hour period is up. Since Sentry Capguard only kills adult fleas, you may want to re-treat your cat a few times following the initial treatment to make sure that you’ve thoroughly broken the flea life cycle. Since the length of the flea life cycle varies based on a variety of factors, talk to your vet about how frequently to re-treat your cat.

Sentry Capguard Oral Flea Control Medication Key Features: 

  • Kills adult fleas
  • Convenient oral dosage
  • Includes six doses
  • Suitable for cats and dogs 2-25 pounds
  • Active ingredient is nitenprayam

Best Topical Flea Treatment for Cats: Elanco Animal Health Cheristin for Cats

Best Topical Flea Treatment for Cats
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Elanco Animal Health Cheristin for Cats

This topical flea treatment provides protection from fleas for a month after application.

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$65.99 USD

Elanco Animal Health Cheristin for Cats is another great topical flea treatment for cats. It starts killing adult fleas in less than 30 minutes and kills up to 98% to 100% of fleas within 12 hours. Protection continues for up to six weeks after application, though monthly application is recommended.

Cheristin’s one size fits all dosage is suitable for cats eight weeks old and older and at least 1.8 pounds in weight. This makes it great for multi-cat homes where there are cats of a variety of sizes, since the same treatment can be used on almost all cats.

Cheristin only kills adult fleas, but since it offers continuous protection, it kills fleas as they reach maturity, before they lay eggs, so it still effectively prevents fleas from reproducing and halts the flea life cycle.

Elanco Animal Health Cheristin for Cats Key Features:

  • Easy to apply
  • Offers protection for up to six weeks
  • Great for multi-cat households
  • Package includes three doses
  • Active ingredient is spinetoram

Who Should Buy a Flea Treatment for Cats

All cat owners should regularly treat their cat for fleas, but flea protection is especially important for cats that go outside, cats in homes where other pets (whether cats, dogs, or some other type of pet) go outside, and cats with flea allergies. Vets suggest taking even indoor cats outside to explore, albeit with the protection of a cat stroller or cat harness, since it stimulates their natural instincts, but adequate flea prevention is essential.

Fleas can cause tapeworm and bacterial infections, including mycoplasma haemofelis, and flea allergy dermatitis can lead to hair loss and sores on cats with flea allergies. If a severe infestation is left untreated, it can even result in anemia from the loss of blood.

Fleas can be particularly dangerous for kittens. They are especially sensitive to anemia because of their small bodies, but they also don’t have the strong immune systems that adult cats do, so they are also at higher risk from the other potential health concerns. However, you should always discuss flea treatments with your vet before applying them to kittens to avoid overdosing.

Top Pick
Buy Now
Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats

This waterproof topical flea treatment kills adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs for complete protection.

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$58.99 USD

Important Features to Consider

A flea treatment should do several things well. Here’s what to consider when selecting a flea treatment for your cat:

  • Protection across flea life cycle. A flea treatment only needs to kill adult fleas, but it will kill an infestation much faster if it kills fleas across the entire life cycle. Plus, flea treatments that only kill adult fleas often require additional treatments to kill fleas as they grow up.
  • Application method. Flea treatments are generally applied as a topical spot-on, spray, shampoo, or oral tablet, but other application methods like wipes and powders also exist. Which is best just depends on what works for you and your cat. For example, shampoos are very effective, but bathing most cats is stressful for both the feline and the owner. Sprays and spot-on treatments are easier, but may not be waterproof and may carry a risk of accidental ingestion. Oral tablets are usually easy to give to your pet (though some cats will refuse to eat them), but usually don’t offer long term protection.
  • Required application frequency. Similar to the application method, there’s no “best” frequency: it just depends on what works for you and your cat. Long term protection is usually more convenient but also makes it easier to forget to follow up. Some treatments don’t have a fixed application frequency because they aren’t waterproof and must be reapplied if the cat gets wet, or because they only kill adult fleas and will need to be applied based on the timeline of the flea lifecycle under your particular conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of fleas on my cat?

There are several different ways to get rid of a flea infestation on your cat. You can use a flea comb dipped in a mixture of dish soap and water to kill and remove fleas by hand, bathe your cat using a flea shampoo, or treat your cat using a topical, oral, or spray flea treatment. Treat any other animals in the home as well to avoid fleas jumping from one to the other. For particularly persistent flea infestations, you’ll also want to treat your home and yard to kill any fleas lurking in those places.

Is flea treatment harmful to cats?

As long as you use a flea treatment formulated for use on cats and follow the directions on the packaging, flea treatments are generally completely safe. Never use a canine flea treatments on your cat and never give higher or more frequent doses than the packaging recommends.

However, even with safe doses, allergic reactions can occur. If your cat shows symptoms like skin reactions, especially near the application site, or respiratory distress, consult a veterinarian immediately. Always retain the packaging of your flea treatment so that you can show it to your veterinarian if a reaction occurs.

Can you overdose a cat with flea medicine?

If you give your cat flea medication that is not intended for use on cats or if you give your cat dosages that are larger or more frequent than what the packaging recommends, you risk overdosing your cat. Symptoms like twitching, muscle tremors, depression, excessive salivation, in-coordination, vomiting, and diarrhea indicate an overdose. If your cat shows any of these symptoms, contact a veterinarian immediately.

How long do fleas live in your house?

An adult flea can only live for about 12 hours without a host, but remember that fleas have a four stage life cycle: egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. Eggs, larvae, and pupae don’t require a host to survive, so they’ll continue along their life cycle to adulthood if there’s no intervention. From the time an egg is produced, the flea usually takes anywhere from a just a few weeks to about six months to reach adulthood.

Other Flea Treatments for Cats We Reviewed

Top Pick
Buy Now
Bayer Advantage II for Large Cats

This waterproof topical flea treatment kills adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs for complete protection.

buy now
$58.99 USD

We looked at 20 other flea treatments for cats. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best flea treatments list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your cat. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

 

Flea Shampoos for Cats

Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo

Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo-min

Since Adams Flea and Tick Cleansing Shampoo kills fleas, flea eggs, ticks, and lice, it’s a versatile and effective method for treating your home’s pets.

Key Features:

  • Disrupts flea life cycle
  • Cleans and deodorizes
  • Can be used on puppies, kittens, and adult dogs and cats

Cost: $10

Fresh’n Clean Flea and Tick Conditioning Shampoo

Fresh'n Clean Flea and Tick Conditioning Shampoo (1)-min

This shampoo uses natural pyrethrin to kill fleas and ticks.

Key Features:

  • Conditions coat
  • Pleasant scent
  • Safe for dogs and cats older than 12 weeks

Cost: $35

Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo

Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo-min

Vet-Kem Ovitrol Plus Flea and Tick Shampoo kills adult fleas, ticks, and lice and stops flea eggs from hatching for 28 days.

Key Features:

  • Disrupts flea life cycle
  • Fresh scent
  • Cleans and conditions

Cost: $15

Flea Sprays for Cats

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray

Adams Plus Flea and Tick Spray-min

This flea spray not only kills fleas and other parasites, it also soothes your cat’s skin.

Key Features:

  • Kills adult fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, and ticks
  • Repels mosquitoes
  • Effective for up to two months

Cost: $15

Dr. GreenPet Flea and Tick Prevention Spray

Dr. GreenPet Flea and Tick Prevention Spray-min

This flea spray is an all-natural flea preventative.

Key Features:

  • Repels fleas and ticks
  • Made from essential oils and botanical extracts
  • Fresh scent

Cost: $15

Frontline Flea & Tick Spray

Frontline Flea & Tick Spray-min

Unlike many flea sprays, this one is waterproof for long-lasting protection.

Key Features:

  • Controls and prevents fleas, ticks, and lice
  • Suitable for cats and dogs eight weeks and older
  • Disrupts flea life cycle

Cost: $30

Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray

Natural Care Flea and Tick Spray-min

This natural flea spray can be used to treat not just your pet, but also the soft surfaces around your home where fleas may be lurking.

Key Features:

  • Made from essential oils and botanical extracts
  • Kills fleas, flea eggs, and ticks
  • Repels mosquitoes

Cost: $10

Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray

Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray-min

Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray conditions your pet’s coat while it works.

Key Features:

  • Kills and repels fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes
  • 100% naturally derived
  • Available in several fresh scents

Cost: $25

Topical Flea Treatments for Cats

Adventure Plus for Cats

Adventure Plus for Cats-min

This topical flea treatment kills fleas before they bite.

Key Features:

  • Kills fleas across the life cycle
  • Waterproof
  • Month-long protection

Cost: $30

Catego Flea and Tick Control

Catego Flea and Tick Control-min

This flea treatment uses a blend of three active ingredients for maximum effectiveness.

Key Features:

  • Kills fleas across the life cycle
  • Also kills ticks and lice
  • Safe for use on cats as small as 1.5 lbs.

Cost: $20

Combiva II for Cats

Combiva II for Cats-min

Combiva II kills fleas of all ages and prevents reinfestation.

Key Features:

  • Monthly protection
  • Waterproof
  • Kills new fleas within two hours

Cost: $15

CrossBlock II Flea Preventative

CrossBlock II Flea Preventative-min

CrossBlock II breaks the flea life cycle and prevents reinfestation.

Key Features:

  • Monthly protection
  • Waterproof
  • Safe for cats eight weeks and older

Cost: $20

Frontline Gold for Cats

Frontline Gold for Cats

Frontline Gold starts killing fleas in just 30 minutes.

Key Features:

  • Kills fleas, flea eggs, flea larvae, ticks, and lice
  • Safe for cats at least 3 lbs and 8 weeks old
  • Triple action formula

Cost: $80

Frontline Plus for Cats

Frontline Plus for Cats

Frontline Plus is even safe for pregnant and lactating females.

Key Features:

  • Kills 98-100% of fleas within 24 hours
  • Also effective against lice
  • Waterproof

Cost: $130

Pet Armor For Cats

Pet Armor For Cats

Pet Armor protects your cat against fleas, ticks, and lice for 30 days.

Key Features:

  • Waterproof
  • Fast acting
  • Monthly protection

Cost: $15

PetAction Plus for Cats

PetAction Plus for Cats-min

PetAction Plus for Cats offers complete, month-long protection for your cat.

Key Features:

  • Disrupts flea life cycle
  • Also kills ticks and lice
  • Waterproof

Cost: $40

PetArmor Plus for Cats

PetArmor Plus for Cats-min

PetArmor Plus provides protection against fleas, ticks, and lice.

Key Features:

  • Interrupts the flea life cycle
  • Waterproof
  • Monthly protection

Cost: $45

Other Flea Treatments for Cats

Capstar Flea Tablets

Capstar Flea Tablets-min

This oral flea treatment can be given to your pet once every 24 hours until the infestation is gone.

Key Features:

  • Convenient oral dosage
  • Starts killing fleas within 30 minutes
  • For dogs and cats 2-25 pounds

Cost: $25

Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Wipes

Vet's Best Flea and Tick Wipes-min

These wipes allow for controlled, precise application.

Key Features:

  • Plant-based ingredients
  • Kills fleas across the life cycle
  • Repels mosquitoes

Cost: $5

Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder

Zodiac Flea & Tick Powder-min

This powder can be used to treat both your pet and your soft surfaces for fleas.

Key Features:

  • Citrus scent
  • Kills fleas, ticks, and lice
  • Shaker top for convenient application

Cost: $5

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