When it comes to the comforts of home and the great outdoors, Erin’s cat Napoleon is used to getting his cake and eating it too…with one major drawback: FLEAS. He’s battled them since he was a kitten. New Orleans is notorious for it–fleas love our humid climate. Even if you have an inside cat, they are susceptible to fleas that can be brought inside from your shoes, feral cats around your house, or other outdoor pets.
There are many different flea prevention strategies. Erin had already ruled out a flea collar for Napoleon, because she didn’t want him exposed to toxic chemicals 24/7. At first she opted for a topical medication*, which in our experience with our cats and and our clients has been successful for indoor cats. The important thing with these flea preventatives is to administer them at the correct intervals. At first Napoleon was on Advantage, which is a liquid topical that it is administered on the skin between his shoulder blades. Erin did not have success with Advantage, so she looked into natural remedies, only to find out that essential oils are very harmful to cats (unlike dogs for whom these oils can act as a flea repellant).
When she told her vet that Advantage did not seem to be working, Napoleon was given Capstar, a pill that kills adult fleas in 24 hrs, and was switched to Revolution, another topical. It is less greasy than Advantage, so it’s easier to administer. Revolution is absorbed through the skin, enters the bloodstream, and is stored in the cat’s glands to protect her or him from fleas through the month. Erin was advised to give her cat Revolution every 21 days instead of every 30 to make sure to prevent any lapses in coverage. However after a few months, she started to see flea scat on Napoleon’s bedding again.
When Erin took Napoleon to another vet for his rabies shot, she explained that if you have to give your cat the topical every 20 days, it has stopped being effective. The vet offered me a sample of Comfortis, an oral medication that actually repels fleas–they crawl to the tips of his fur then fall off! It is administered monthly just like the topicals. Its active ingredient is found in mollusks and is better than the topicals at preventing fleas from laying eggs on the cat–although the vet could not really explain how. Comfortis has been around for dogs for a while and was recently approved for use in cats. She monitored Napoleon closely for lethargy and added water to his wet food to make sure he was hydrated. She was advised to give him half the pill in the AM, half in the PM. What’s the catch? Unlike Advantage and Revolution, Comfortis does not prevent heart worm so you have to purchase a heart worm preventative as well and administer it monthly along with the flea treatment. She has been very pleased so far and relieved to find a flea preventative that works!
*We are not veterinary professionals. Please consult with your vet before making changes to your cat’s health care.