Skip to main content

Best Flea/Tick Preventatives For Cats This Summer

From collars to topicals to chews, here are the flea and tick preventatives we’re giving our cats this summer.

by Avery Felman | expert review by Dr. John Iovino, DVM
July 14, 2022
A white cat in a meadow with flowers and tall grass.
Laura Stolfi / Stocksy

Your pet wants you to read our newsletter. (Then give them a treat.)

Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or an animal novice, there’s a solid chance you’ve thought through the possible inconveniences that pet parenthood could cause — a huge one being the spread, removal, and prevention of fleas and ticks. While most indoor cats tend to be safe from these nuisances (provided that they live in a single pet household or all fellow cat residents are indoor), there’s a huge margin of error when it comes to calculating which pets require preventatives and how often to give them in order to ward off these pests. That’s why we’ve taken it up with the experts to break down what kinds of flea/tick preventatives you should be using, how often, and where to get them. Below, veterinarian and The Wildest Collective member, Dr. John Iovino, and Veterinary Genetics and Technology Manager at Wisdom Panel, Dr. Annette Louviere, give us the inside scoop on the longevity and safety of the best flea/tick preventatives to use this summer (and year round).

Why Giving Your Cat Flea/Tick Preventatives is Important

While chasing your cat around to apply a topical treatment to the tiny patch of skin on their back that their tongue can’t access is not anyone’s favorite pastime, it’s essential for your cat’s health. Though you’ll only need to carefully weigh your options for preventatives if you have an outdoor cat, foster rescues, or have a dog, many cat owners may not be aware of the risk they’re running by not preemptively giving their cat flea/tick medication — it just might be the thing that prevents hefty exterminator and vet bills.

As Dr. Iovino puts it, “I think of a flea as a roach or an ant or anything that would infest your house. They just jump on these animals to feed and then they’re right back off again, so the way that the products work is that they can run as a treatment.” So, if you don’t want to give any members of your household who were skeptical about pet parenthood the opportunity to gripe, it’s best to get ahead of the curve.

Furthermore, starting your cat on a flea/tick preventative can help rule out other health issues and allergies. “I think it’s just really nice to know that if your pet is scratching and you’re on a flea/tick product, at least you know it might not be from fleas,” says Dr. Iovino. “That’s helpful to further investigate other issues by knocking fleas off the table.” Not only is it frustrating to have a household infestation, but it can also be detrimental to your cat’s health. For example, heartworm can be transmitted to cats through mosquitos. Many cats and dogs are allergic to fleas, so they can develop serious skin irritation. Plus, fleas carry diseases that are harmful for both cats and dogs. As we head into summer, with the high seasons for fleas, ticks, and mosquitos being spring through fall, it’s important to protect your pet from diseases these pests can carry.

Why the Right Flea/Tick Preventative is Essential

When it comes to flea and tick preventatives, one size does not fit all. In fact, all those products with cute labels of dogs and cats living together in harmony are not indicators that the product can be used on both cats and dogs. Dr. Iovino clarifies, “It’s really important with cats to use what’s for cats, because there are some dog products that will definitely mess a cat up. You want to check your over the counter labels, check the directions, and check the age at which they can be used before applying the products.” Some common ingredients that are included in flea/tick prophylactics for dogs, like permethrin and organophosphates, are highly toxic to cats, as they cannot metabolize these ingredients, and should be avoided at all costs.

The Best Types of Flea/Tick Preventatives

Though lifestyle, allergies, and personal preferences may dictate which preventatives cat parents opt for, we’ve asked the experts what a good jumping off point is.  While Dr. Iovino encourages a trip to the vet to rule out any allergies, “especially if you can just get an exam done,” rest assured that something you buy over the counter can easily do the trick. “The over the counter products have stood the test of time at this point, so the likelihood of everything going fine is really really high.” The best place to start? Dr. Iovino advises, “The approach should be are you able to get to a vet? And then, are you looking for a collar versus a topical?

Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you can begin to parse through the options available to you. Another thing to keep in mind: according to Dr. Iovino, though there are some “superior cat products available by prescription right now” many prescription products “convert to over the counter products later,” so there are plenty of excellent products on the market.

Best Flea/Tick Preventatives

Btw, our editors (and their pets) picked out these products. They’re always in stock at the time we publish, but there’s a chance they’ll sell out. If you do buy through our links, we may earn a commission. (We’ve got a lot of toys to buy over here, you know?)

Best All Inclusive

revolution plus flea and tick prod

While we may not be quite as jazzed about all inclusive hotel packages (who needs that much shrimp?), there’s no better way to get as much bang for your buck without any added legwork as a full spectrum protectant. Dr. Louviere had deemed this Revolution Plus topical treatment her “​​top recommendation” for clients due to its “great spectrum of parasite control: flea, tick, ear mites, certain intestinal parasites, and heartworms.” Topicals are notoriously better received by finicky cats than tablets or pills, so veterinarians agree that it’s a great place to start when it comes to preventatives. However, Dr. Iovino does have one call out: “The only issue with topicals in cats is that they’re really good groomers and they’re pretty flexible. A lot of those topicals are going to have a label that says apply directly to the shoulder blades, and I find some cats can lick their shoulder blades. So with cats, just keep in mind that you can apply that more towards the back of the neck — they can’t really lick the back of their heads.”

$130 at Chewy
revolution plus flea and tick prod

While we may not be quite as jazzed about all inclusive hotel packages (who needs that much shrimp?), there’s no better way to get as much bang for your buck without any added legwork as a full spectrum protectant. Dr. Louviere had deemed this Revolution Plus topical treatment her “​​top recommendation” for clients due to its “great spectrum of parasite control: flea, tick, ear mites, certain intestinal parasites, and heartworms.” Topicals are notoriously better received by finicky cats than tablets or pills, so veterinarians agree that it’s a great place to start when it comes to preventatives. However, Dr. Iovino does have one call out: “The only issue with topicals in cats is that theyre really good groomers and they’re pretty flexible. A lot of those topicals are going to have a label that says apply directly to the shoulder blades and I find some cats can lick their shoulder blades. So with cats, just keep in mind that you can apply that more towards the back of the neck — they cant really lick the back of their heads.”

$71 at Walmart

Best Flea Specific

the advantage flea treatment

Most cats will have no issue adjusting to a full spectrum flea and tick product, but those with sensitive skin or allergies may require more specialty products. If you don’t live in a region where ticks are an issue, your cat lives indoors, or your cat tends to react to new products, this flea-specific treatment comes highly recommended. Dr Iovino assures, “There’s a ton of products on the market available to try besides that one that may cause an issue, especially if you’re in a really horrible flea area.” While it may be tempting to forgo any treatment at all if your cat is likely to suffer an allergic reaction to new ingredients, Dr. Iovino cautions against that option. “I think it’s worth the chance of finding a second product rather than running the risk of not doing anything and having fleas crawling everywhere.”

$16 at Amazon
the advantage flea treatment

Most cats will have no issue adjusting to a full spectrum flea and tick product, but those with sensitive skin or allergies may require more specialty products. If you don’t live in a region where ticks are an issue, your cat lives indoors, or tends to react to new products, this flea-specific treatment comes highly recommended. Dr Iovino assures, “Theres a ton of products on the market available to try, besides that one that may cause an issue, especially if youre in a really horrible flea area.” While it may be tempting to forgo any treatment at all if your cat is likely to suffer an allergic reaction to new ingredients, Dr Iovino cautions against that option. “I think its worth the chance of finding a second product rather than running the risk of not doing anything and having fleas crawling everywhere.”

$20 at Walmart

Best for Household Prevention

wondercide spray in white

Unless you live in a high risk area for fleas and ticks or have an outdoor cat, a natural product may be the way to go. Wondercide’s lemongrass-scented flea, tick, and mosquito spray is the ideal natural alternative to treat and prevent pests for cats, dogs, and in the home. Give your cat a spritz before they head on their merry way to nibble on your hydrangeas or use it as a quick fix for a pet suffering from fleas. However, if you have an adventure cat, foster pets, or a dog that you take hiking through tick-infested woods before they plop down on the bed both humans and animals sleep in, it’s best to use the heavy duty stuff.

$100 at Amazon
the spray preventative

Unless you live in a high risk area for fleas and ticks or have an outdoor cat, a natural product may be the way to go. Wondercide’s lemongrass scented flea, tick, and mosquito spray is the ideal natural alternative to treat and prevent pests for cats, dogs, and in the home. Give your cat a spritz before they head on their merry way to nibble on your hydrangeas or use it as a quick fix for a pet suffering from fleas. However, if you have an adventure cat, foster pets, or a dog that you take hiking through tick-infested woods before they plop down on the bed both humans and animals sleep in, it’s best to use the heavy duty stuff.

$50 at Walmart

Best for Flea-prone Climates

the bravecto container

Bravecto provides eight weeks of protection against Lone Star ticks, which are most commonly found in the south, midwest, and northeastern parts of the US. If you live in any of these regions, consider using this topical treatment, especially if your cat goes outdoors or you live near a wooded area. When it comes to types of treatments, Dr. Iovino says, “I think it’s important to know what the product’s actually doing,” noting that “some of the products over the counter might only work for a day.” Though they’re a bit more costly, it’ll pay off financially and in terms of your time and aggravation to opt for a longer term preventative when dosing your cat. “Try to look for a preventative product that’s going to last a month or two and you don’t have to re-dose it, rather than just doing these one time flea shampoo dips.” It’s Bravecto’s time to shine.

$57 at Chewy
the bravecto container

Bravecto provides eight weeks of protection against Lone Star ticks, which are most commonly found in the south, midwest, and northeastern parts of the US. If you live in any of these regions, consider using this topical treatment, especially if your cat goes outdoors or you live near a wooded area. When it comes to types of treatments, Dr. Iovino says, “I think its important to know what the products actually doing,” noting that “some of the products over the counter might only work for a day.” Though they’re a bit more costly, it’ll pay off financially and in terms of your time and aggravation when dosing your cat to opt for a longer term preventative. “Try to look for a preventative product thats going to last a month or two and you dont have to re-dose it, rather than just doing these one time flea shampoo dips or whatever.” It’s Bravecto’s time to shine.

$57 at Walmart

Best Collar

cat collar in round container

If there’s a cult favorite of flea/tick products, it’s the Seresto collar. Some products just work and gain reputations for being highly effective — Seresto has done exactly that. “The Seresto collar is not like those powdery kinds; they’re very new age, they’re very sleek, they look great, and they’re safe,” says Dr. Iovino. Plus, you only have to apply it once every eight months, which is a huge win for both cat and human kind. “I think sometimes people get tripped up with Seresto being a little bit more expensive, but it lasts eight months, so you’re paying for eight months worth of protection.” However, in recent years there have been reports of people selling counterfeit Seresto collars on Amazon, which Dr. Iovino cautions about. “Things are sneaky out there. I think if you’re going to buy online it’s important to use some sort of reputable pharmacy. I think to avoid those risks, I would just buy straight from the company itself.”

$48 at Amazon
cat collar in round container

If there’s a cult favorite of flea/tick products it’s the Seresto collar. Some products just work and gain reputations for being highly effective — Seresto has earned that title. “The Seresto collar is not like those powdery kinds, theyre very new age, theyre very sleek, they look great, theyre safe,” says Dr. Iovino. Plus, you only have to apply it once every eight months, which is a huge win for both cat and human kind. “I think sometimes people get tripped up with Seresto being a little bit more expensive, but it lasts eight months so youre paying for eight months worth of protection.” However, in recent years there have been reports of people selling counterfeit Seresto collars on Amazon, which Dr. Iovino cautions about. “Things are sneaky out there. I think if youre going to buy online its important to use some sort of reputable pharmacy. I think to avoid those risks, I would just buy straight from the company itself.”

$63 at Walmart

Related articles

Avery, editor at The Wildest, and her cat, Chicken

Avery Felman

Avery is an editor at The Wildest. She has written for numerous publications, including Refinery29, BuzzFeed, and V Magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her fiancé and cat, Chicken, and has high hopes that one of them will let her adopt a dog.