With so many products on the market, it can be very difficult to choose which ectoparasite product you want to use for your cat. Below, we will discuss the pros and cons for each type of product. Both methods work well, but figuring out which product works best for both you and your pet is essential in getting optimum use from it.
Advantages of Spot-on Medications
- It is easier to apply but you do need to make sure you get the product onto the skin rather than just the fur. You need the cat to remain still for roughly 15 seconds. This is enough time for you to part the fur and squeeze the product directly onto the skin.
- It is often safer for an owner to apply a spot-on product as there is less risk of getting bitten as you do not need access to your cat’s mouth(!). Cats’ mouths harbour lots of bacteria on their sharp teeth, which means nasty infections can occur following being bitten. If you do get bitten, you should have it checked by a doctor as soon as possible.
Disadvantages of Spot-On Medications
- Spot on products may wash off after application, meaning you do not know exactly how much medication your pet has received.
- The efficiency – and safety – of spot-on products may be limited by grooming. Your pet will groom themselves, brushing their bodies on furniture and other objects which may also stain your items, potentially causing serious damage! In addition, other pets may lick the product from your pet cat which could cause them illness.
- Skin reactions may occur following application of spot-on products. If your pet has a history of skin disease or sensitivity, tablet products may be beneficial.
Advantages of Tablets
- Following giving a tablet, you know your pet has had a specific amount of medication. Knowing your dosing has been correct will help you to monitor whether products are working well for your pet.
- If your cat will eat the tablet voluntarily (and some modern products are designed to be really tasty to cats), it is a LOT easier to dose them than any other method.
Disadvantages of Tablets
- When administering a tablet, you may get bitten. This increases the risk associated with giving a tablet.
- Cats are extremely clever and may spit the tablet out when you are not looking – meaning you think your cat has received the medication but they haven’t actually had it.
- If you break the tablet into food to make it easier to give, your cat may only eat some of it, so you can’t be sure they had the whole dose.
- Even after you manage to get your cat to swallow the tablet, they may vomit the product up. This means you will not know how much product they have absorbed. If you cat goes outdoors, the likelihood of you realising your pet has vomited up the product is low.
There are lots of products available in both tablet and spot on form
All of the flea prevention products that your vet can prescribe have the ability to work, you simply need to find what works best for you and your pet. When choosing a product, it is the active ingredient and the route of administration that matter the most.
Active ingredients are important because…
You need to make sure you are using a product that kills the ectoparasites you are specifically wanting to eliminate e.g. fleas.
The route of administration matters because…
If your cat won’t take the medication, it doesn’t matter how good the active ingredient is!
If you are using products and the fleas are still present…
It may be that the product may not be working, or perhaps it is not being used correctly. Alternatively, it might be working perfectly – but the fleas are being replaced as soon as they are killed.
If your cat has fleas, then so does your house, as the flea life cycle involves eggs and pupae living in the environment. So, we need to be sure household cleaning, such as washing pet bedding at high temperatures, regular and thorough vacuuming are also being carried out, to physically remove eggs and pupae. Household flea sprays may also need to be considered.
Care should be taken not to use two products which control the same parasites, as you may overdose your pet.
To conclude, there is not one application that is better than the other. Working with your vet, you can find out what is best for you and your pet.