Flea treatment for kittens: all your questions answered

If you’ve just welcomed a furry addition to your family, you probably have some questions about flea treatment for kittens. From “What age should kittens have flea treatment?” to “What’s the best flea treatment for kittens?”, our veterinary experts can give you the answers. Here’s their advice on keeping your kitten happy, healthy and free of parasites.

At what age should kittens have flea treatment?

Young kittens can be very delicate, so most flea treatments can only be given to a kitten aged 8 weeks or more. However, some flea treatments are only suitable for kittens aged at least 12 weeks. As a new pet parent, you’ll probably be bringing your kitten home when it’s around 8 to 12 weeks old – reputable breeders won’t separate them from their mother before this – so it’s important to check that the product you’re using is suitable for your kitten.

As well as age, weight can also be a factor when it comes to flea treatments for kittens: many products are made for cats over a certain size. If your kitten is especially small, you might have to wait a little longer. Both FRONTLINE® SPOT ON and FRONTLINE PLUS® are suitable flea treatments for kittens aged 8 weeks and over, as long as they weigh at least 1 kg.


Why do I need to use a flea treatment on my kitten?

Fleas can make life miserable for cats, often causing scratching and skin damage. And some cats are especially sensitive to flea bites, which can cause flea allergy dermatitis. However, fleas can be much more dangerous for younger cats, making it very important to treat them from a young age.

Unlike adult cats, kittens are less able to properly groom themselves and remove fleas on their own. Fleas suck blood from under an animal’s skin, but kittens are so small they don’t have a lot of blood to spare. This means flea bites can lead to anaemia, a condition caused by a lack of red blood cells. Anaemia is serious and can be fatal without a blood transfusion. If your kitten is showing signs of anaemia, such as pale gums, call your vet straight away.

What’s the best flea treatment for kittens?

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With so many different flea treatments for kittens available, it can be hard to know which is best for yours. First of all, it’s important you only use a flea treatment for kittens and cats, and never products that have been designed for dogs. The active ingredient in many flea treatments for dogs can be toxic to your kitten.

Although flea collars may seem like an easy solution, they aren’t always the best flea treatment for kittens. If they grow faster than expected and require a new one, it can interrupt the treatment. What’s worse, a flea collar could be dangerous if it gets caught on something while your kitten is exploring or playing – unless it has a quick-release mechanism, your kitten could become stuck. Flea collars can also appear unsightly, especially compared to other flea treatments for kittens that are invisible once they’ve been applied.

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Many new pet parents are also tempted by herbal remedies that are marketed as flea treatments for kittens. But these have not been through the same extensive level of testing that veterinary products go through to check they are safe and effective before being sold. Some of these treatments contain essential oils, such as tea tree oil, which are toxic to cats. So, we would recommend only using a flea treatment that has been thoroughly tested.

Many owners prefer to use vet-strength, spot-on products that are safe, effective and easy to use. FRONTLINE® SPOT ON, our original flea and tick spot-on formula, will protect your pet from fleas, ticks and lice. And our advanced formula in FRONTLINE PLUS® not only kills fleas and ticks, but also stops their eggs from hatching and infesting your home. Both are suitable flea treatments for kittens that are 8 weeks and over and weigh at least 1 kg.

How do I use a flea treatment for kittens?

FRONTLINE® SPOT ON and FRONTLINE PLUS® are easy to use, even on the wriggliest and most rambunctious of kittens! Just remove a pipette from the pack, hold it upright and snap off the tip. Then part your kitten’s fur at the base of their neck and apply the treatment on their skin.

Once applied, the treatment will be stored in the sebaceous glands in your kitten’s skin and will naturally spread over their whole body with their natural oils. Fleas and ticks will be killed after they make contact with your kitten’s skin and coat – meaning they don’t have to bite your kitten to be killed, which is the way some other products work. Don’t stroke or cuddle your kitten or let children play with them until the application site is dry. To make sure the treatment is as effective as possible, don’t bathe your kitten and keep them out of the rain for the next 48 hours.


What if my kitten’s too young for flea treatments?

It’s important to keep using a flea treatment on your cat if she’s pregnant or has had a litter, as it’ll reduce the chance of her kittens coming into contact with fleas. FRONTLINE PLUS® can be used on pregnant cats, and FRONTLINE® SPOT ON is suitable for both pregnant and lactating cats. Pets are most likely to pick up fleas outdoors in their environment, so if your cat gives birth outdoors – say, in a shed or outhouse – it’s safer to bring her and her kittens inside. It’ll also make it easier for you to keep them warm and make sure they’re doing well.

Some flea treatments are only suitable for kittens over 8 weeks of age. Before this, you can physically remove fleas with a flea comb. Young kittens are at a higher risk of developing anaemia from flea bites, so speak to your vet for help and advice.

I can’t see any fleas – should I still use a flea treatment on my kitten?

It’s much easier to prevent fleas than it is to deal with an infestation. Your kitten can pick up fleas anywhere – they can be wherever untreated pets and wildlife have been, lying dormant in cocoons until the presence of an animal stimulates them to hatch. Fleas are particularly active in the warmer months (March to October), but the risk is year-round. In the colder months, fleas can still climb onto your pet and reproduce inside your warm home.

Once they’re on your kitten, fleas will start feeding and breeding right away, often before you’ve even noticed they’re there. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day, which then fall off your kitten inside your home. The only way to prevent a flea infestation is by using a suitable flea treatment for kittens regularly and with no gaps between treatments.

What if my kitten isn’t going outside yet?

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It’s not safe for your kitten to go outside until they’ve had their initial vaccinations, when they’re around 13-14 weeks old. To prevent unwanted pregnancies, they shouldn’t be free to roam outdoors until they’ve been neutered – usually around four months of age, after they’ve had their vaccinations. They should be microchipped, too, to give you the peace of mind that it’ll be easier to reunite you if they do wander too far and become lost.

Even if your kitten isn’t going outside yet, they can be exposed to fleas if you bring in flea eggs or cocoons on your clothing or shoes, or if an untreated pet visits your home. It’s safest to give them an appropriate flea treatment for kittens to protect them and your home from fleas.

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How can I tell if my kitten has fleas?

If your kitten is scratching or grooming themselves much more than usual, it could be a sign they have fleas. But fleas can be tricky to spot, especially if your kitten has dark, long or thick fur. The easiest way to check for fleas is to comb your kitten’s fur, looking for black specks around the roots of the hairs. These might just be dirt particles, but they could be flea dirt – your kitten’s blood partially digested by fleas. To find out, comb the specks onto a damp tissue: a reddish halo will appear around flea dirt.

What should I do if my kitten has fleas?

If you can spot fleas, a flea treatment for your kitten isn’t always enough to deal with an infestation fast, if they have become established in your home. 95% of a flea problem lies in your home in the form of flea eggs, larvae and pupae. Also, because of the complex flea life cycle, it can take three months or more to properly deal with an infestation.

A flea infestation can be very unpleasant for everyone in your home.

Here’s how you can tackle it:

  • Use a flea treatment on your kitten; one that kills fleas and ticks and prevents flea eggs from hatching, such as FRONTLINE PLUS®, is recommended.

  • Treat any other cats and dogs you have with a suitable flea treatment: even if you’ve not seen fleas on them.

  • Vacuum your carpets and furnishings every day: you’ll pick up flea eggs, and the vibrations will encourage any pupae to hatch.

  • Wash your kitten’s bedding at 60°C: this will help remove any flea eggs.

  • Treat your home with FRONTLINE HOMEGARD®: its fast-acting formula kills fleas and larvae in the home and prevents flea eggs from hatching for up to 6 months. Vacuum your home thoroughly, then remove your kitten and any children before spraying FRONTLINE HOMEGARD®. After 60 minutes, open your doors and windows to air the room. For the next 7-10 days, vacuum your home every day.

  • Keep regularly using a flea treatment on your kitten: FRONTLINE PLUS® works best when you use it every 4 weeks.

We hope our advice has helped you feel more confident about protecting your kitten and your home from fleas. We have more tips about kittens to help you enjoy a pawfect, flea-free time together!

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