Updated On

April 7, 2024

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    Flea collars were once the top choice to when dealing with cats with fleas, until the development of more powerful topical “spot-on” drop treatments.

    Some owners continue to use collars due to their lower cost, or for cats who have allergies or reactions to topical spot-on products. New formulations of flea collars are proving to be just as effective as other treatments and their popularity is growing. Let’s get into how to go about buying these collars.

    If you want to know about how to get rid of fleas overall, check out our other guide here.

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    Dangers of fleas on cats?

    No one likes to see their cat suffering with fleas. The constant biting and scratching is unnerving for anyone.

    Not only are fleas an annoyance, your cat is at risk for serious health issues when these pests take control.

    Fleas are ectoparasites, which means they bite and feed off the blood of their host. If you don’t take the necessary action, your cat can get diseases and parasites such as anemia, tapeworms, cat flu, and flea allergy dermatitis.

    Read Also: How long do fleas live?

    We recommend checking for fleas on your cat on a regular basis so you can stop major outbreaks before they take hold. Cats are excellent groomers and may be able to hide the problem well. You should use a flea comb on your cat’s fur, check for dead fleas in bath water, and pay attention to behavior changes such as excessive licking or biting.

    cat scratching itself

    Adult fleas leave behind small specs of dark-colored digested blood. Brush your cat over a white towel or large piece of paper to look for this “flea dirt.”

    Still unsure? If you add water to the specs, you will notice they turn red.

    It is important that you act quickly once you notice a flea problem on your cat. Flea collars may be a good, relatively low maintenance option for you to treat fleas on your cat, depending on the severity of your flea problem.

    Read Also: How do you know if your cat has fleas?

    How do collars work for cats with fleas?

    The designs of collars vary depending on the formulation of the insecticide used. There are two primary types – solid and liquid.

    • Solid: For the solid type, solid insecticide and resin are mixed so that as the collar wears away from rubbing against your cat’s skin and fur, the insecticide releases over time. Depending on the specific insecticide used, it either disperses across your cat’s skin or absorbs into the top layers. For the dispersion type, the flea only needs to contact the insecticide for it to take effect. For the absorption type, the flea needs to bite the skin.
    • Liquid: The liquid insecticide preparation releases as a gas. These are most effective for repelling fleas, but not killing them.

    Some ingredients, called adulticides, only kill adult fleas. Two examples are imidacloprid and fipronil. Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) are hormones that render adult fleas, eggs, and larvae sterile so they can’t reproduce.

    Two examples of IGRs are pyriproxyfen and S-methoprene. They successfully end the life cycle of the fleas and help to control them over time.

    How effective are flea collars for cats?

    Some products combine adulticides with an IGR to reap the benefits of both – quick relief for your cat from bites and a way to avoid the spread of new fleas. A few flea collars can kill adults within 24 hours and last up to 8 months making them comparable to other flea treatments for cats, like liquid drop treatments, without the mess.

    One thing that can reduce a collar’s efficacy is getting it wet multiple times per week. Most collars are listed as “waterproof” so a monthly bath should be ok, but too many and the insecticide could wear off. If your cat plays in water, you may want to take the collar off, put it in a plastic bag, and replace it once your cat is dry again.

    The effectiveness of a flea collar is limited to your cat – not the eggs, larvae, and pupae in your carpet or in cracks of your wooden floor. IGRs can help some, but it will take a while for those take effect.

    The fleas you see on your cat only account for a small amount of the overall infestation. An adult female flea lays about 50 eggs each day and most of these fall to the ground. Adult fleas represent just 5% of your overall flea population. Another 50% are eggs, 35% are larvae, and 10% are pupae. To eliminate your flea problem completely, you need to focus on treating your home environment as well.

    How to get rid of cat fleas in your house?

    No matter which type of flea collar you choose to use for your cat, it is critical that you use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tactics to eliminate fleas. IPM promotes the use of a variety of approaches to kill or sterilize the fleas and eggs on your cat, in your home, in your yard, and on items such as pet bedding and linens.

    Using IPM requires a thorough understanding of the cat flea life cycle so you know which products to use in different areas. Pay close attention to the labels of products to determine if they work on killing adults, eggs, larvae, and pupae. Products that say “Repels fleas” will most likely not be effective in removing fleas you already have.

    Today’s Homeowner Tips

    Be careful to not combine too many products on your cat or in areas where they live as too many chemicals can be toxic. Check with your veterinarian to determine the best approach for your situation.

    Vacuuming is one of the most advised techniques you can use to stop the spread of fleas. When larvae hatch, they eat eggs and flea dirt.

    Vacuuming at least once per day may help to reduce their food source so they won’t survive. You should also vacuum before you do any home treatments such as spraying or using a fogger.

    Vibrations and heat can cause pupae to hatch, which would leave them more vulnerable to the effects of the chemicals.

    Be sure to empty out the canister or bag away from your home so the fleas don’t jump out. Some people even put cut up pieces of flea collars in their canisters to kill the fleas they catch.

    Are Flea collars safe for cats and humans?

    Flea collars are generally considered safe for cats and humans, but you should take some precautions. Most flea collar labels clearly state “Do Not Allow Children to Play with Collar.” Some insecticides are more toxic to humans than others. If you handle a collar, you should wash your hands.

    cat wearing a flea collar

    You don’t need to be concerned with petting your cat while they are wearing a collar, just wash your hands after. Even if you were to ingest some of the insecticide, it would take a much larger amount to do any harm.

    To be on the safe side, just use some common sense. Flea and tick collars for dogs can be toxic to cats and should never be used treat fleas on cats.

    As with any product, even those considered safe, some cats will experience a negative reaction. If your cat has hair loss, sores, or redness around the neck, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian. There may be some discomfort in the first few hours as the fleas go through the dying process. Unfortunately, the fleas can still bite for a short time while the chemicals take effect.

    Another concern with collars is the possibility of strangulation. Make sure you select a collar with a safety release mechanism that opens once the pressure goes over the limit.

    Top 5 Best Cat Flea Collars

    Using flea collars can be a good strategy for getting rid of fleas on cats. Here are a few of the top choices available on the market right now.

    1. Bayer Seresto Collar (the best of the best)
    2. Primova Flea And Tick Collar For Cats
    3. MONIPGU Collar For Cats
    4. Rolf Club Flea Collar for Cats
    5. Hartz Ultraguard Flea and Tick Collar For Cats

    Bayer Seresto Collar

    This product is one of the main reasons flea collars are making a comeback.

    The broad insecticides imidacloprid and flumethrin kill current fleas within 24 hours and kill any new fleas who try to jump on within 2 hours.

    We like it because it is simple – no vials, no drops, and no wet messy blobs of fur on your cat.

    Other collars tend to lean on essential oils, which can be toxic to some cats in the wrong doses.

    Very easy to use- just size the collar, put it on, and you’re good to go
    Slow release of chemicals allows the collar to last up to 8 months
    Quick release safety latch to prevent choking
    Not oily or greasy
    Comparable to “spot on” treatments
    Not an all-natural option
    Some may find this collar to be expensive

    Primova Flea And Tick Collar For Cats

    Most cats have sensitive skin which requires a degree of caution when using flea collars with chemicals to ensure safety. This flea collar is packed with 5 different essential oils that actively repel fleas and their larvae and eggs.

    The essential oils release slowly throughout the day to establish a thin but firm coat along with the upper layer of skin. The collar remains active for up to 8 months and is waterproof.

    As an added bonus, this collar also comes with a flea comb, which can be run along the coat of your cat to remove dormant eggs or fleas that may be hiding on fur that isn’t coated with the oils.

    Going natural may only repel the fleas, but this is sometimes the best option to take to prevent painful skin irritations on your cat.

    Lasts up to 8 months
    100% natural
    Flea comb included
    Provides protection 24/7
    The collar does not kill fleas or eggs
    Some users report problems adjusting the collar

    MONIPGU Collar For Cats

    This vet-recommended flea collar for cats is safe and effective for most breeds, and it offers up to eight months of protection. And it uses all-natural essential oil ingredients instead of harsh chemicals.

    The collar is fully waterproof, and it even works after bathing or playing during heavy rain.

    The MONIPGU Flea Collar for cats is adjustable to almost any size. It comes with an emergency breakaway feature, and a 100 percent money-back guarantee backs it.

    Safe and effective
    One size fits all
    Tends to expand after a few days, altering the fit

    Rolf Club Flea Collar for Cats

    Rolf Club now offers an advanced flea collar for cats that fits both large and medium sizes, and it’s safe and effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas.

    You get a full eight months of flea protection for your cat in a sturdy collar that’s guaranteed not to stretch. In addition, you’ll start to see results in just a few hours.

    The Rolf Club Flea Collar for Cats is non-toxic and contains natural materials. And it contains no chemical odors or strong smells.

    Fits both large and medium-sized cats
    Quick knockdown of fleas and ticks
    Lasts up to eight months
    Contains no odors or fumes
    Does not work as well when wet

    Hartz Ultraguard Flea and Tick Collar For Cats

    Natural flea collars are great for cats with sensitive skin, but they only repel fleas; they do not kill them. If you live in an area with large flea populations, you may find that chemical flea collars work best.

    This collar uses a chemical called tetrachlorvinphos, which is approved by the EPA to be used in flea collars for pets. This chemical attacks the central nervous system of pests and can also destroy flea eggs.

    The collar is adjustable to your cat’s neck and the chemical provides protection to the cat’s coat for up to 7 months. If your cat ever gets irritated by the collar, it also features a safety feature where the collar can be easily snapped off.

    When all else fails, chemical collars are the best option and this collar gets the flea-killing job done.

    Provides 7 months of flea killing protection
    Infused with an effective flea killing pesticide
    Safe if applied correctly
    Kills all life stages of fleas and ticks
    Can cause skin irritation
    May cause allergic reactions
    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

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