Since all cats are unique, “one size fits all” doesn’t apply when it comes to parasite prevention. To help you choose a safe & effective safe parasite protection program for your individual cat, the four main factors you need to consider includes - your cat’s age, lifestyle, weight and the treatment type.
Your Cat's Age
When choosing a parasite protection product for your cat, it’s important to consider their age, as this will affect the products you choose and the treatment frequency.
Kitten (under 6 months): Because they’re only small, and their immune systems aren’t as strong as an adult cat, taking a proactive approach to your kitten’s parasite protection is the best way to ensure they stay healthy.
- Fleas: For most kittens, the first flea treatment can occur once they are six to eight weeks old - depending on the type of flea treatment chosen and the weight of your kitten. This could be in the form of a monthly tablet or topical (spot-on) treatment that you apply between their shoulder blades.
- Worms: Since kittens are susceptible to intestinal worms (which can all cause serious illness), they should be treated for worms from 3-4 weeks of age; every two weeks until three months-old, then monthly until they’re six months old.
Adult (over 6 months): At this point, you’ll choose a flea and worming product they can take into adulthood – the frequency will depend on product you choose, based on their lifestyle factors.
When choosing a parasite protection treatment, ensure that your kitten fits within the minimum age and weight restrictions on the packet before administering any parasite protection. If you are unsure which product would best suit your cat or kitten, just chat with your local Animates team member, who can help you find the right one.
Your Cat’s Lifestyle
Your pet’s daily activities and exposure to the outdoors will often dictate which parasites they are most at risk from, and will determine how frequently you will need to treat your pet. Additionally, the presence of children, elderly or a family member with reduced immunity in the household are important things to consider when choosing your cat’s parasite protection program.
Questions you can ask yourself to determine if your cat needs monthly flea & worming treatment:
Does your cat…
- Go outside?
- Eat raw food?
- Have contact with young children, elderly (or reduced immunity)?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, your cat should be having a year-round monthly flea & worming treatment.
If you answered “no” to all these questions, you can give your cat a year-round monthly flea treatment - plus a worm pill every three months (at a minimum).
Did you know? Wormicides will kill adult worms in your pet at time of treatment, but within a few days your pet can be reinfected. That is why regular worming is important for at-risk pets.
Your Cat's Weight
To make sure your cat receives the correct dosage; select a parasite protection treatment suited for your feline friend’s current weight. We recommend that you carefully check your cat’s weight before purchasing a flea or worming product (don’t just guess their weight), to ensure you administer the correct dosage for complete protection.
Important: Use the full dose as recommended on the label – do not split products, do not use dog products on cats (or cat products on dogs). Some flea and tick preventives that are formulated for dogs contain an ingredient that is toxic to cats. It can cause very severe reactions in cats, which require immediate veterinary care. Be sure to use products only as intended for your pet’s safety.
There are several parasite prevention treatment types available for cats, including tablets, spot-ons, flea collars, flea shampoos and sprays. When selecting a treatment type, your choice will depend on a number of considerations including: your preferences, your cat’s preferences and lifestyle.
Spot-ons: Spot-on treatments are applied to your cat's skin between their shoulder blades on the back of their neck. These products are an easy way to protect your pet against flea infestations as they do not require your pet to swallow tablets. Spot-on treatments contain ingredients that kill fleas, and can work in a variety of ways – some products stay on the skin, others are absorbed internally.
Although once applied, spot-on products may take several hours to dry. During this time, it may rinse off in water, and the residue may transfer to other pets, furniture or humans - so this may not be the best option if you bathe your pet, or if your cat likes to get swim/spend time in the rain.
Some spot-on treatments such as Broadline combine a flea, tick & worm (including tapeworm) treatment all-in-one which is very convenient.
Flea collars: If your cat doesn’t like the smell of topical treatments, a flea collar might be the best option. There are new technologies for flea collars such as Seresto Flea Collar for Cats, which can provide up to eight months of flea and tick protection, and is water resistant and completely odour free.
While flea collars are an effective solution for fleas & ticks, they do not protect against worms. In the case, your cat will require separate worming tablets to ensure they’re fully protected.
Tablets: If your cat isn’t too keen on the smell or application process of spot-on products, or won’t tolerate a collar, an oral flea treatment may be the best option.
Flea shampoos & sprays: If your cat will tolerate it, flea shampoos and sprays can be an effective way to deal an existing flea infestation – where there are lots of fleas visible on your pet's body. While flea shampoos and sprays kill fleas immediately, shampoos are not intended for lasting control. We recommend you use flea shampoo in conjunction with another form of flea treatment for long-term protection.
Note: If you’ve recently bathed your pet, it’s recommended you wait at least two days before treating them with a spot-on treatment. Additionally, it’s recommended that you avoid bathing your pet (or letting them swim) for at least three days after treatment, as this reduces its effectiveness.
Oral paste: An oral worming paste is a convenient and palatable paste for the treatment and prevention of roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm. This is a great option for cat’s that don’t like taking tablets.
Regularly treating your cat for parasites is essential to help them lead a happy & healthy life, but it can be hard to know which treatments are best for your feline friend. The good news is that our store teams are experts in parasite prevention and are up-to-date with the latest products – so you'll find treatments to protect cats of all sizes and ages from these parasites.
Please note, some parasite protection products have registered claims for use in pregnant or lactating cats.
If your cat is pregnant, lactating or has any medical conditions that may prevent you from using certain treatments and medications, we recommend you speak to the knowledgeable team at your local store or book an appointment at your local Animates Vetcare clinic for product recommendations.