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Best topical flea treatment for cats: Keep your cat free of critters

flea treatment for cats
(Image credit: Getty)

It really does pay to find the right flea treatment for cats. While there are countless upsides to having a pet cat treating them for fleas is sadly a major, yet inevitable, part of the responsibility. If you have a multi-pet household then this will be futile if you're not treating other pets too, so be sure to take a look at our guide to the best flea treatment for dogs too.

Fleas are no fun for cats in particular. They can cause irritation and make your cat scratch, and can carry tapeworms and disease. They can also cause anaemia due to the amount of blood a cat can lose to parasites, and can even, in some cases, be fatal. 

Using good, trusted flea treatments are the only way to ensure your cat stays flea-free. One of the most popular types of flea treatments are spot on products, where a small pipette of liquid I applied to the back of the cat’s neck. They work in different ways and have different active ingredients but, along with flea collars for cats, they’re one of the best ways to ensure your kitty stays free of critters.

There are a lot of spot on flea treatments on the market, so here’s a simple breakdown of some of the best. Remember, it’s always best to speak to your vet about which products are safe to use for your cat in particular, and to read the label carefully before treating your cat.

PetsRadar's pick of the best topical flea treatments for cats

Best topical flea treatment

(Image credit: Getty)

Frontline Spot On Flea & Tick Treatment for Cats

The best overall flea treatment for cats

Kills: Fleas, ticks and lice | Formula: Vet-approved | Works: Within 48 hours | Suitable for: Pregnant cats

Very popular formula 
Long-lasting protection 
On the pricey side

The Frontline spot-on treatment is an extremely popular topical flea treatment. Its ‘vet-strength’ formula is safe, fast-working and easy to apply. 

Once treatment is applied, any fleas that dare to jump onto your cat will be killed within 24 hours, and ticks will be killed within 48 hours, which will prevent infestations. It also kills lice, which live and feed on a cat’s skin. 

Like all spot on treatment, the formula is applied with a pipette, which makes it a bit easier for jumpy and restless cats who don’t like to make these sorts of things easy. Simply empty the contents of the pipette onto your cat’s skin at the back of their neck, so they don’t lick it off, and it will spread itself around. 

The treatment comes in one, three and six-dose packs. One three-dose pack will provide your cat with three months of protection.

The formula can be safely used on kittens weighing more than one kg, from eight weeks old, including cats that are pregnant. 

And as long as you don’t bathe your cat more than once a week, nothing should affect the efficacy of this popular product.

Best topical flea treatment

(Image credit: Getty)

Beaphar Fiprotec Spot On solution

The best budget flea treatment for cats

Kills: Fleas and ticks | Works for: Five weeks | Active ingredient: Fipronil | Formula: Vet-approved

Good value for money  
Only works for five weeks 
Slower formula

Beaphar Fiprotec Spot On solution is one of the better value options for flea treatments available on shelves and online today. It kills fleas and ticks on your cat as you apply it and for up to five weeks after that – although, it’s recommended you reapply the solution every four weeks, just to be safe. 

The active ingredient in this formula is fipronil, which concentrates in the sebaceous glands on your cat, located at the base of the hair follicles, where it can constantly replenish the skin. The sebaceous glands store fipronil, which allows it to stay active for five weeks. But because of the nature of fipronil, it can take up to 24 hours for fleas and up to 48 hours for ticks to die. 

This treatment contains six pipettes alongside an easy instructions guide, and is licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate. It is suitable for all cats over eight weeks old, and who weight more than 1kg. 

Best topical flea treatment

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Bob Martin Clear Spot On

The best pesticide-free flea treatment for cats

Free from: Pesticides | Active Ingredient: Margosa | Kills fleas: Within 24 hours

Fast-working formula
Easy to use
Only removes adult fleas
Only works for four weeks

If you’re looking for a pesticide-free way to save your cat from fleas, Bob Martin Clear Spot On is one of the most popular products of its kind on the shelves.

Instead of using a pesticide, the active ingredient in this flea treatment is margosa, an oil with a strong smell and taste that’s been used across Asia as a natural medicine for centuries.

The formula starts to kill fleas within 15 minutes of application, and promises to kill all the fleas hitching a ride on your cat within 24 hours. However, the treatment will only kill adult fleas that have settled on your cat, so it’s recommended you also apply it to your cat’s bed and around the home to prevent another outbreak. 

Each pack contains six applications, and will protect your cat for up to four weeks, after which time you’re advised to reapply to ensure continuous protection. Although – you’ll have to reapply it sooner if your cat gets excessively wet. 

Best topical flea treatment

(Image credit: Getty)

RSPCA FleaAway Spot On Solution for Cats

The best flea treatment with donation

Works for: Eight weeks | Contains: Fipronil | Kills: Ticks and fleas

Easy to use application
All profits go to the RSPCA
Not suitable for pregnant or nursing cats

The RSCPA is a much-loved institution in the UK, helping to rescue and protect animals in need. Its FleaAway Spot On Solution works to control fleas for eight weeks after application, and ticks for up to four weeks. 

The formula’s active ingredient is fipronil, a widely used broad-spectrum insecticide that disrupts the flea's central nervous system. However, fipronil doesn’t kill the eggs or larvae left behind in your home, so you may need to spray your house with a flea spray

Each product contains three treatments, alongside an easy-to-use pipette for straightforward application. It isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing cats, and is suitable for kittens over the age of eight weeks and weighing more than 2kg.

As a nice bonus, 100% of the profits go to the RSPCA.

flea treatment for cats

(Image credit: Frontline)

Frontline Plus Spot On Cat Flea Treatment

The best flea treatment for the home

Kills: Fleas, eggs and larvae | Lasts: Four weeks

Kills eggs and larvae
Stops flea eggs from hatching

If you’re looking for a flea treatment that really means business, you might want to try Frontline Plus spot on cat flea treatment

The formula has to potent ingredients: fipronil and (S)-methoprene to ensure the life cycle of your cat’s flea infestation is truly broken. Unlike most other cat flea treatment on the market, (S)-methoprene specifically targets flea eggs and larvae.

The formula also contains insect growth regulator technology, which also interrupts the flea cycle by stopping eggs from hatching in the home. The vast majority of flea infestations start from flea eggs, larvae and cocoons in your cat’s everyday environment. However, it’s still recommended you use this in conjunction with a flea spray for the home. 

Each treatment lasts for four weeks, preventing and treating flea infestations. It’s suitable for cats over the age of eight weeks. 

There are numerous flea treatments for cats on the market, with a range of prices, active ingredients and ways of working. Making the right purchase for your cat is only half the job – the other half is ensuring you apply it correctly, of course. 

From potent to pesticide-free products, our guide will hopefully equip you with the basics to make the right decision for your cat, so they can enjoy a flea-free life.