Fleas are pests that can cause lots of health problems for little kittens, including anemia. Unfortunately, there are many topical flea treatments that can't be used on very young kittens or those under a certain weight, which varies by product. How you treat your kitty will depend on these factors.
When it comes to young kittens, the primary restriction of most topical flea medications is their age. Several topical medications like selamectin and fipronil are only safe to use on kittens older than 8 weeks, according to VetInfo. Once your furry friend is older than 2 months, there are special formulations that are designed specifically for kittens under 5 pounds in weight. For kittens of such a small size, you must only use the topical flea-control products that state on the package that they are for use on kittens less than 5 pounds. These formulations contain a lower amount of insecticides that will kill the fleas on your kitty without harming him.
Talking with the Vet
Before using flea products on your kitten, bring him to the vet for a checkup. Topical flea products are only safe to use in healthy kittens and not those who are ill or underweight for their age and size. Your vet can determine if a topical flea product will be safe for your furry friend. She can also prescribe a product to use on him that is considered safe for your little one's age and weight. For kittens under 8 weeks of age, there are certain oral flea-killing medications that can be used instead of topical ones. Most of these products, like nitenpyram, are safe for use in kittens older than 4 weeks of age and weighing more than 2 pounds.
When applying a topical flea medication to your kitten, after determining that it's safe for his size and weight, follow the manufacturer's directions. Apply one dose of a topical product between the shoulder blades of your little kitty. Never use more than one dose on your little one as this can result in a potentially fatal overdose of the active ingredients in your kitten's system. These products are designed to last from four to six weeks on your kitty's skin, so you shouldn't reapply them before this time. Other products like topical flea-control products like sprays and flea shampoos are safe to use on kittens less than 5 pounds, but usually over 8 to 12 weeks old. Use these as directed by the manufacturer.
While you can apply topical flea products to little kitties under 5 pounds in size who are over 8 or 12 weeks of age, for those younger than 8 weeks old, you can't. Instead, you can bathe these little guys in simple dish soap to rid them of pesky fleas. The soap is enough to kill the fleas without causing any toxic reactions in the little kitties. In between baths, use a flea comb, which has tines that are set very close together, to manually remove fleas from the kitty's coat. With tiny kitties, you can also use a pair of blunt-tipped tweezers to pluck fleas away. While these methods don't prevent fleas, they will safely remove them from your kitty. To prevent re-infestation, wash your little one's bedding in hot water and vacuum your carpets.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.