9 Best Flea and Tick Cat Shampoos in 2020

Where there’s one flea, there’s likely to be more and it doesn’t take long for a few fleas to turn into a full-blown infestation. Fleas may not carry disease, but they can become quite a nuisance and there’s always the risk that your cat could have a negative reaction or develop a secondary infection.

Ticks are another issue entirely. They do have the potential to carry disease and that puts both you and your cat at risk. Either way, it’s important to make sure your cat is properly protected from fleas and ticks but you may still want to keep some flea and tick cat shampoo on hand just in case.

In this article, we’ll cover the subject of fleas and ticks on cats including the potential dangers. We’ll talk about what to look for in a good flea and tick shampoo as well and provide you with our recommendations for some of the best options.

The Dangers of Fleas and Ticks


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Fleas are tiny little insects only about as big as a sesame seed. Small as they may be, however, they can become quite a nuisance. A few fleas may only cause minor itching, but a serious infestation can lead to severe scratching that could end up damaging your cat’s skin and coat. Breaking the skin with intense scratching may then open your cat up to secondary infections and a whole host of other problems. Suffice it to say that while fleas may be small, their potential to cause problems is much larger.

Ticks are much larger than fleas, though still small compared to your cat’s size. The thing to remember is that while fleas don’t carry disease that can be transmitted to cats and humans, ticks do.

Over 800 species of ticks have been identified around the world, but only about a dozen of them have been associated with feline disease. Lyme disease, though a serious concern for humans, is less of a concern for cats because they seem to be highly resistant. Diseases that are more likely to be transmitted by ticks to cats in the United States include hemobartonellosis, tularemia, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and cytauxzoonosis.

What to Look for in Flea and Tick Shampoo

The best way to protect your cat from fleas and ticks is to use a monthly topical preventive or a longer lasting flea collar. Flea and tick shampoo can be used as an additional layer of protection or to kill fleas and ticks from an existing infestation. It’s important to shop carefully for these products, however, because many contain ingredients that have the potential to do more harm than good.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for the best flea shampoo for cats:

  • Most flea and tick products contain pesticides, so be careful to read the instructions and follow them carefully to avoid damaging your cat’s skin.
  • Check for insect growth regulators – these will help prevent flea eggs from hatching and developing, providing longer-lasting protection than just killing adult fleas.
  • Know that most flea shampoos need to be left on your cat for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing for them to be effective.
  • Most flea and tick shampoos require weekly treatments to be effective – some are safe to use more often than that.
  • Many flea and tick shampoos are not recommended for kittens under 6 months – you’ll need to shop specifically for flea shampoo for kittens or use an alternative method.
No matter what product you choose, it’s important to read the information on the label. Pay attention to the warnings about kittens and smaller cats then only use the product as directed. If you’re not sure whether a product is safe for your cat, avoid it or talk to your veterinarian.

The 9 Best Flea and Tick Shampoo for Cats

All flea and tick shampoos are not created equal. Whether you’re looking for a natural flea shampoo to help repel fleas or something to kill an existing infestation, we’ve assembled a list of options for you to consider. The best flea shampoo for cats will depend on your cat’s situation, so talk to your veterinarian about the best option before you start shopping.

Here are our top picks for the best cat shampoo for fleas and ticks:

Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo with Precor

If you’re looking for a highly effective product that delivers long-lasting results, try Adams flea shampoo for cats. This formula kills fleas, ticks, and lice as well as flea eggs and larvae. It is formulated for cats and kittens as well as dogs and puppies, plus it protects against reinfestation for up to 28 days. This additional benefit comes from the inclusion of Precor, an insect growth regulator (IGR) that prevents flea eggs and larvae from developing into egg-laying adults. In addition to offering 28 days of protection, this flea shampoo contains soothing natural ingredients like aloe, coconut extract, and oatmeal to make it safer for sensitive skin. It is approved for pets 12 weeks and older.

Pros: Kills fleas and ticks including eggs and larvae, offers 28 days of protection, contains soothing ingredients for sensitive skin

Cons: Not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

Veterinary Formula Clinical Care Flea & Tick Shampoo

For fast-acting flea and tick control, try this veterinary formula. It contains 15% pyrethrins along with moisturizing natural ingredients to kill pests while soothing and hydrating your cat’s skin. This formula works on contact to kill both fleas and ticks, leaving your cat’s coat smelling fresh and clean. It is safe for use on kittens over 12 weeks of age and should be reapplied as needed once a week.

Pros: Kills fleas and ticks on contact, contains 15% pyrethrin ingredients for efficacy, contains ingredients to soothe and hydrate the skin

Cons: Not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

Natural Chemistry Natural Flea Shampoo for Cats

Many flea and tick control products contain harsh chemical ingredients. If you’re looking for a natural flea shampoo for cats that also helps repel ticks, consider Natural Chemistry. This flea and tick shampoo features natural plant-based ingredients including clove, cedar, and cinnamon essential oils. Without the use of harsh chemicals, this formula kills fleas and ticks to keep your cat safe. This formula won’t interfere with spot-on flea and tick treatments and will work for up to 7 days. It also helps repel black flies and mosquitos for an extra layer of protection.

Pros: Made with plant-based natural oils, kills and repels fleas and ticks, doesn’t interfere with spot-on treatments, no harmful chemicals

Cons: Shouldn’t be reapplied before 7 days, some cats find the scent too strong

Zodiac Flea & Tick Shampoo for Cats

When it comes to the best flea shampoo for cats, you want something that gets the job done without negative affecting your cat’s skin and coat. This Zodiac flea and tick shampoo kills fleas and ticks on contact, but it also contains coconut conditioners to help soothe your cat’s dry, itchy skin at the same time. All you need is 1 ½ tablespoons of shampoo per 5 pounds of bodyweight, so the entire bottle should last you quite a while. Simply apply once a week to control fleas and ticks. The insecticidal ingredients are highly effective in killing adult fleas and ticks.

Pros: Insecticidal ingredients are highly effective, coconut conditioners improve coat, kills adult fleas and ticks on contact

Cons: Not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

Advantage Flea & Tick Treatment Shampoo

If you’re looking for a brand you can trust for flea and tick control, you might consider this shampoo from the maker of spot-on flea and tick treatments. Advantage flea and tick shampoo kills adult pests on contact, offering high-quality pest control when used once a week. This formula works into a rich lather for head-to-toe protection but doesn’t contain any fragrances which makes it great for cats with sensitive skin. Plus, it’s safe for cats and kittens over 12 weeks of age.

Pros: Kills fleas and ticks on contact, unscented formula great for cats with sensitive skin, lathers well to provide complete protection

Cons: Not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

Sentry Purrscriptions Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo

Many flea control products smell like chemicals, so if you’re looking for something different try this Sentry PurrScriptions Plus formula. This flea and tick shampoo has a spring freesia fragrance that will leave your cat’s coat smelling fresh and clean. It cleans, deodorizes, and conditions your cat’s coat all while controlling fleas and ticks. This shampoo features pyrethrins to kill adult fleas and ticks along with Nylar which sterilizes larvae and kills eggs, providing up to 4 weeks of protection.

Pros: Kills adult fleas and ticks on contact, prevents eggs from hatching for 4 weeks, cleans and deodorizes the coat

Cons: Should not be used more often than every 30 days, contains chemical ingredients

Oster Flea & Tick Dog & Cat Shampoo

If you’re worried about drying out your cat’s skin when removing fleas and ticks, this Oster flea and tick shampoo for cats is perfect. Made with oatmeal and other soothing natural ingredients, this formula will hydrate and soften your cat’s skin while killing pests. Formulated to kill fleas and ticks on contact, this shampoo comes in a pH-balanced formula made without dyes, artificial colors, alcohol, and parabens.

Pros: Made oatmeal to soothe and hydrate skin, pH-balanced formula gentle on skin, kills fleas and ticks

Cons: Fragrance may bother some cats, not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

PetAg Fresh ‘N Clean Flea & Tick Conditioning Shampoo

This conditioning shampoo does more than just kill fleas and ticks – it also leaves your cat’s coat feeling soft and smooth. Made with powerful pyrethrins, this formula kills fleas and ticks on contact, but it also contains nourishing coconut oil to soften and moisturize your cat’s skin and coat. It leaves your cat smelling fresh and clean for up to 2 weeks and it is safe for kittens as young as 12 weeks.

Pros: Kills fleas and ticks on contact, contains nourishing coconut extract to hydrate skin, leaves cat smelling fresh for 2 weeks

Cons: Fragrance may bother some cats, not recommended for kittens under 12 weeks, contains chemical ingredients

Paws & Pals Dog & Cat Flea & Tick Scrub

If your cat is already protected by a spot-on flea treatment or collar, you may be more worried about simply removing pests from his coat. This flea and tick scrub is the perfect product to give your cat a bath after he comes inside, just to make sure he hasn’t picked up any hitchhikers. Made with all-natural ingredients including oatmeal, aloe vera, and jojoba oil, this shampoo is gentle on your cat’s skin.

Pros: Made with all-natural ingredients, helps remove fleas and eggs from coat, gentle on sensitive skin

Cons: Not designed to kill fleas and ticks

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How can you tell if your cat has fleas? Occasional scratching is normal but if your cat is scratching frequently or severely, it could be fleas. Other signs include biting or chewing the skin and body, excessive grooming, patches of hair loss, and restless behavior. If you suspect fleas, part the hair at the base of your cat’s neck and tail to look for pepper-like specks of flea dirt or adult fleas.
  2. Can your cat get fleas and ticks in the winter? Yes, your cat can technically get fleas or ticks all year round. These problems are most common in the summer and fall, but it can happen any time of year.
  3. What is the best flea and tick control for cats? The two most effective options in flea and tick control for cats are monthly topical preventives and flea/tick collars. Topical treatments need to be applied every 30 days while flea collars may last as long as 8 months. Talk to your veterinarian about the best option for your cat.
  4. Will flea shampoo wash off my cat’s treatment? It’s important to read the information on the package but most shampoos intended for fleas and ticks do not have a negative impact on preventive treatments. If you’re using a flea and tick collar, you can simply remove the collar during bathing and put it back on after.
  5. Does flea and tick shampoo prevent fleas and ticks? You’ll need to read the label for the specific product you’re using. Some flea shampoos for cats only kill adult fleas while others may contain an insect growth regulator that stops flea eggs from hatching. Other shampoos contain essential oils and certain ingredients that help repel fleas, but for the most part flea and tick shampoos are less effective than topical preventives.

If your cat already has an issue with fleas and ticks, you may not be able to rely on shampoo as the only treatment. Ticks can generally be removed by hand and then prevented with a monthly topical treatment or collar, but fleas can be more difficult to eradicate. You’ll need to do a thorough cleaning of your house while taking steps to prevent reinfestation.

Whether you’re dealing with an active infestation or simply looking to protect your pet, the flea and tick shampoos for cats reviewed above are a great place to start. Try one and see how you like it!

 

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