If you're tired of holding your kitty still each month to apply topical flea control or force a pill down his throat, there's another option. Flea preventives containing the insecticide spinosad come in chewable tablets that your cat should actually like to eat.
If you've ever had fleas on your pets and infesting your house, you don't want to repeat that experience. Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea, lives on its victim, breeding and laying eggs. Females lay as many as 50 eggs daily. These eggs fall onto your carpeting and furniture, where they hatch several days later. Fleas live on the cat for between a month and six weeks. These nasty parasites also can infest your cat with tapeworm.
In addition to causing misery for your cat, fleas also bite people, causing itchy, red welts.
Feline chewable flea control is marketed under brand names such as Comfortis and AcuGuard. The active ingredient is spinosad, part of an anti-parasitic group known as spinosyns. The medication attacks the pests' central nervous system. You can literally see fleas falling off your infested cat within a half hour of his eating the tablet. Nearly 100 percent of fleas die within four hours.
To control fleas, every dog and cat in your household must receive a flea preventive. Spinosad is available only by veterinary prescription.
Give your cat a beef-flavored chewable tablet once a month. For best results, give your cat spinosad either year-round or at least one month before active flea season begins in your area. Continue monthly doses until the end of the flea season. In addition to ease of administration, you don't have to worry about allergic skin reactions that can occur with topical flea products.
Most cats tolerate spinosad well, but side effects can occur. The most common is vomiting, but your cat also might develop diarrhea or lose his appetite. Long-term use can cause weight loss. Spinosad makes some cats lethargic. Avoid giving this medication to pregnant or nursing cats. Cats receiving spinosad must be at least 14 weeks old and weigh 2 pounds.
If your cat vomits up the medication within one hour of eating it, you can give him another dose, according to Comfortis.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.