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Understanding how flea collars work for cats

 cat with flea collar

Thing of the past?

The use of flea collars in cats used to be the most popular and accessible flea control option, however, since the newer spot-ons that proved to be safer and more effective were developed, it's evident that the original velvety collars could become a thing of the past. Some owners may continue to choose a flea collar for flea control for several reasons, including their lower cost, ease of use (as many cats seem to resent spot-on applications), and habit.

However, many flea collars can irritate the cat's neck, even causing fur loss and skin damage. Furthermore, flea collars are often made without any elastic in them, making it impossible for cats to disentangle themselves if the collar becomes caught on something such as a tree branch. Cats have been known to choke to death in such situations, so it's important to make sure that any collar is one your cat can free itself of in an emergency. If the collar is applied too loosely, they can get their leg stuck in it, causing the collar to cut through the delicate skin under the forelimb. Some collars made especially for cats have special quick release catches and others have elastic built into the straps. It is essential to check that this is the case before purchase.

How do flea collars work?

The way that flea collars work is either to emit a toxic gas that kills or repels fleas or to release a substance that dissolves and spreads throughout the fatty layers of the animal’s skin so fleas are killed anywhere on the animal’s body. As you can imagine, the first way can be very ineffective as only fleas in close proximity to the collar are affected. This is usually how the cheaper collars work. Some contain active ingredients that can be toxic to some animals, for example, some dog flea collars can cause illness or death in cats that come into contact with the collar. The second way is much more effective and contains safer ingredients.

A new revolution in the world of flea and tick control has now been introduced to pet owners. A non-prescription treatment (previously only available from the vet) 'Seresto® flea and tick control collar' is available for cats & dogs. Seresto keeps your pet protected for up to eight months at a time, which is certainly something to consider when purchasing your next flea and tick treatment. For further information please contact one of our qualified SQP's on 0203 6750870.

Seresto flea and tick control collars are able to kill ticks and fleas through contact - so they don't have to bite your pet to become infected. This means reduced irritation and also reduced risk of these parasites transmitting diseases, which gives you peace of mind that your furry friend is well protected.

What alternatives are available?

Spot-on Flea Treatments - Spot-on flea products are applied to the pet. The liquid is applied to the scruff of the neck, directly on the skin with the fur parted. Most spot-on products contain adulticides designed to eliminate adult fleas from the pet within 24 hours of application.

Frontline Spot On

Frontline Spot-On For Cats

  • Kills fleas within 24 hours and ticks within 48
  • Protects from flea re-infestation for up to 5 weeks in cats (apply every 4 weeks during peak season)
  • Prevents re-infestation of ticks for 1 month
  • Can be used during pregnancy and lactation
  • Suitable for Kittens 8 weeks old and over,  weighing 1kg +



Advantage For Cats, Dog & Rabbits

  • Rapid Onset  - Stops flea biting within 5 minutes around the application area
  • Quick  - Knock out adult fleas within one hour after application
  • Durable - Up to a month of reliable flea control and protection
  • Safe for use in kittens/puppies over 8 weeks old, safe during lactation & pregnancy
  • Advance Formulation - Waterfast or Water Proof


Oral Flea Treatments - there is an increasing number of oral flea treatments for cats that kill the adult fleas on your pet.


Capstar Flea Treatment For Cats & Dogs

  • Orally administered treatment
  • Adult fleas begin to be killed after just 15 minutes
  • 100% of fleas removed from a pet in 24 hours
  • Safe to give more than one treatment, but not on the same day


Insect Growth Regulators - When a pet is treated with an oral insect growth regulator, it circulates in the animal's bloodstream. Then, if a flea bites the pet, it ingests the insect growth regulator and passes it on to its eggs, rendering them unable to hatch.  They are given in food once a month.

Program Suspension 

Program Suspension for cats

  • Program is for the prevention and lasting control of flea infestations
  • Available as an easy to give suspension.
  • Works by preventing flea eggs from developing and hatching. This breaks the life cycle and prevents a flea infestation in your home. 


Integrated Flea Control - uses a combination of 2 different types of insecticide which target the different stages of the flea life cycle: an adulticide to kill the adult fleas you can see on the pet, and an insect growth regulator to deal with the eggs they lay around your house.

Frontline Plus For Cats

Frontline Plus for Cat 

  • Kills fleas on your pet within 24 hours, prevents reinfestation for 8 weeks
  • Kills ticks on your pet within 48 hours, prevents reinfestation for 4 weeks
  • Kills biting lice
  • Inhibits the development of eggs and larvae
  • Protects your pet and the home

Injectable Flea Control
 - An injectable flea control product is available for cats. It contains an insect growth regulator which prevents fleas from being able to lay viable eggs around your home for a full six months.

  • This product must be administered by a veterinary surgeon.

If you treat the pets correctly, you are less likely to need to spray the house because all fleas will jump on your cat or dog as part of their life cycle. So if you have treated the cat or dog, the fleas will die out when they come into contact with the animal.

Home Management

Indorex Defence Spray

Hoovering the carpets and furniture will pick up eggs, this is especially important if your pets are allowed to sleep or climb on sofa, bed, etc. Cleaning the area where the pet’s favourite sleeping place is will remove significant numbers of eggs and larvae, if you use a basket any bedding should be washed in the washing machine (eggs, larvae and adults will not survive this).

It is possible especially when the infestation is light, for do it yourself pest control to be effective. Many products can be used to spray your house against fleas. Products have been designed to allow a low concentration of insecticide to be used by untrained homeowners in their own homes. In light infestation type situations these can be quite effective. Most of these products have a low concentration of insecticide and in some cases a growth regulator. As with all products of this type, you must adhere to the direction as to its use, especially in relation to application rates.

It is advisable to seek advice from your vet or one of our SQP's in regards to your situation to determine the best option for your pet.

It is essential to remember that in all cases prevention is better than cure, so treatment should be carried out regularly all year round.