Fleas and ticks affect cats of all ages, including young kittens. The best prevention is to keep your kitten inside, away from the pests. But if your young feline friend gets fleas or ticks, it's important to know which products you can use safely.
Capstar: The Internal Flea Bomb
One of the safest products available for kittens to get rid of fleas is Capstar. This oral medication contains a chemical called nitenpyram, which begins to kill adult fleas in as little as 30 minutes. It only works for 24 hours and is easy for a kitten's body to process and eliminate from her system. The manufacturer's website lists Capstar as safe for kittens as young as 4 weeks old and weighing only 2 pounds. Many vets will cut the dose is half and use for kittens even smaller than 2 pounds, although be sure to talk to your vet before using Capstar for kittens under the recommended weight. Unfortunately, Capstar doesn't kill ticks, but it is one of the most effective and safest ways to get rid of fleas on kittens.
Program Oral Flea Control
Program is an oral flea control that is safe for kittens at least 6 weeks old. The medication keeps flea eggs from developing, but it doesn't kill any adult fleas already on your kitten or in the environment. Program works well in conjunction with Capstar to control fleas, especially for young kittens. Unfortunately, Program doesn't control or kill ticks.
Topical Flea and Tick Control Products
The most popular flea and tick control products are topical medications that are given once a month. The most common topical flea medications, including Advantage, Revolution and Frontline, can safely be given to cats as young as 8 weeks old. Revolution and Frontline also control ticks, although Advantage doesn't. Be sure to follow the dosage directions carefully, as too much topical flea and tick medication can cause some side effects in young kittens. Don't use flea and tick medication that is available at grocery or discount stores. Many of these products contain harmful pesticides that are dangerous for young kits.
The Pros and Cons of Baths for Kittens
Bathing a kitten can be an effective way to get rid of fleas and ticks on a kitten. Natural flea and tick shampoos and Dawn dishwashing liquid are good choices for a kitten bath. However, you have to be careful when you bathe your young feline friend. Kittens generally don't have a lot of body fat, so they can get cold easily. If you choose to do a bath, use warm water and a gentle shampoo. Have a towel, heating pad or heater ready to keep your kitten warm afterwards.
Diatomaceous Earth for Natural Flea and Tick Control
One of the safest flea and tick products for pets is diatomaceous earth. This natural product is made from fossilized algae and is used extensively in organic farming. Diatomaceous earth coats the fleas and ticks and dehydrates them. If your kitten ingests some of the diatomaceous earth, it will work as a natural dewormer, too. If you choose to use diatomaceous earth, be sure you are using food-grade quality. The pool-grade diatomaceous earth is not safe to use on pets.