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How to Treat Fleas in Kittens


Fleas are ectoparasites (external body parasites) that often cause skin irritation to those they bite.

In cats, flea bites can cause flea allergy dermatitis, and severe flea infestation causes blood loss anemia. Fleas can carry infectious agents, including tapeworms, feline hemotropic mycoplasmas, and Bartonella species bacteria, the causative agents of cat scratch fever. Flea bites are itchy and uncomfortable, and fleas can even bite humans.

You can learn more about fleas and flea control in cats here: "Flea Control for Cats."

Flea Control in Kittens Can Be Challenging

Flea control in pregnant and lactating animals and very young kittens can be challenging because many products can't be used on young kittens. However, good flea treatment and control is still possible with the current arsenal of available products.

There are a large number of available topical medications, pills, and sprays to control fleas that are licensed for use in cats and kittens. Several (Frontline Plus®, Frontline Top Spot®, Revolution®, Program®, and Capstar®) are approved for use in pregnant and lactating female cats.

However, most products are restricted to kittens eight weeks of age and older and are not helpful in very young animals. The exceptions are Capstar® (at least four weeks of age and two pounds body weight) and Program® (at least six weeks of age).

How Can You Control Fleas in Kittens?

It is extremely important to consult a veterinarian to discuss specific options for each pet in your home if you are battling fleas.

It is absolutely imperative to assess each case of flea infestation individually. All pets in your home will need to be on an appropriate flea preventative, and your home may also need to be treated. There is no "one size fits all" way to resolve every flea problem.

Some veterinarians will recommend the use of extremely mild soap (without any flea products in it) to gently bathe the kittens, catching and killing any fleas that run away from the water and up to the head, but please do not do this without the advice of your veterinarian.

You may wish to confine your kitten to a small, easy to clean area until the fleas are under control. Wash the bedding often, and vaccum the area daily if possible. Use a vacuum with a bag that can be thrown out every day.

A couple of other important points: NEVER use a dog flea and tick control product on a cat, EVER. This can be extremely toxic in some instances. Also, do not use a natural or homeopathic flea and tick control product on your cat without consulting your veterinarian. Many of these can also be toxic to cats. Lastly, do not use over-the-counter products in general on your cat without approval from your veterinarian.

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Tips for Finding Fleas on Your Cat: VIDEO

Kitten Birth to Weaning

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Early Neutering for Kittens

Why Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?

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