Part your kitty's fur and you may see a flea scurry for deeper cover. It's annoying, but flea infestation is something pet owners face. A number of flea products work, but oral flea formulas for cats serve specific needs to help end the dreaded flea cycle.
Just one adult, female flea can lay 20 to 30 eggs each day while living on your kitty. She will feed on your pet's blood for two to three times a day. During the several weeks she lives on your pet, she has the ability to lay several hundred eggs. The eggs fall off your pet into the grass, bedding, carpet and wherever your kitty lies. The eggs hatch into larvae and then into pupa, protected by a cocoon. They emerge from the cocoon when they detect heat, moisture, carbon dioxide and vibrations. They immediately jump onto their host and the cycle begins again. The total time for a flea cycle is approximately two weeks. It doesn't take long before one flea has created a flea infestation.
Capstar (nytenpyram) Oral Tablets
Capstar is the brand name of a flea treatment for cats and kittens that weigh at least two pounds and are at least 4 weeks of age. It begins killing fleas within 30 minutes of ingestion and will kill more than 90 percent of the fleas in four hours. It is effective up to 48 hours after treatment, according to the Department of Entomology at the University of California. It's purpose is to kill the fleas quickly while another prevention has a chance to kick in. The treatment is available through your veterinarian and at your local pet store.
Program (lufenuron) Flea Control
Program is the brand name of an oral suspension flea control for cats. It contains lufenuron, an insect development inhibitor. The adult flea is not killed by the lufenuron, but it does prevent the eggs from hatching. Therefore, it breaks up the flea cycle. Because it does not kill the flea, the saliva still can cause an allergic reaction in those animals that are allergic to flea saliva. As a monthly dosage, it is given to the cat through an ampule or vial. It also can be given as an injectable suspension every six months. Lufenuron is a prescription drug.
If you have more than one pet, you will need to treat all the animals. To control the flea population, you also must treat the outdoors and inside the home. The outdoors can be treated with chemicals. Even if your kitty is an inside cat, fleas can enter the house on you. Treating the inside of the house includes washing all bedding, vacuuming all surfaces and using a chemical treatment, such as sprays and foggers.
Besides oral flea treatments, topical treatments are effective alternatives. Some topical treatments repel ticks as well as fleas. Your veterinarian can advise you on the best course of action.
- U.S. National Library of Medicine: Efficacy and Longevity of Nitenpyram Against Adult Cat Fleas (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae); M. K. Rust, M. M. Waggoner, N. C. Hinkle, D. Stansford and S. Barnett
- Federal Drug Administration: Capstar (nitenpyram) Tablets
- Novartis Animal Health: Program Oral Suspension (Lufenuron)
- Maybeck Animal Hospital: Canine and Feline Fleas -- Treatments and Prevention
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.