Kittens are some of the cutest little creatures out there. They’re tiny, cuddly balls of fluff. But finding fleas on kittens is quite a headache. Unfortunately, fleas don’t care about how big or small the cat is before they start biting down.
Even newborn kittens are susceptible to fleas and can get them from the mother cat or their environment.
Fleas can pose serious health risks to young kittens. Your little fluffy friend can develop flea allergy dermatitis, pick up tapeworms from the fleas, or even develop anemia if infested with enough fleas. It’s important to tackle the flea problem before it becomes unmanageable or unhealthy for your kitten.
However, not all flea medications are safe to use on young kittens, and what kind of treatments you can safely use will be dictated by the age and weight of the kitten. So what do you do to get rid of fleas on your precious little furball?
Unfortunately, kittens under 4 weeks of age can’t have any oral or topical flea treatments. The easiest way to get rid of fleas will be to pick off individual fleas.
You can groom them with a flea comb, or pick fleas off with tweezers, just make sure you drop the removed fleas into a glass of soapy water. Vacuum the kitten’s environment to help prevent reinfestation.
At such a young age, the faster you can kill the fleas, the better. Orally administered treatments that contain nitenpyram, like Capstar, are going to be your best bet, as long as your kitten is 4 weeks and weighs at least 2 pounds.
It will start to work almost immediately, but it only lasts for 24 hours. It also only kills adult fleas, so it won’t get rid of eggs and larvae. You’ll need to use a fogger or other rooms spray to get rid of those, in order to prevent reinfestation. You can safely give your kitten another dose every 24 hours.
Once kittens reach this age, there are more options for treating fleas. Nitenpyram (like Capstar) is safe, and you can also use topical treatments as long as the kitten is at least 8 weeks old and weighs at least 2 pounds.
Topical flea treatments only have to be applied once a month, and will kill all flea life stages, including flea eggs and larvae. Popular topical treatments include Advantage II, Frontline Plus, and Revolution, to name a few.
Just be sure that you are buying the correct dosage for your kitten’s weight.
Once kittens are at least 14 weeks old, they can be treated with orally administered nitenpyram and topical flea treatments, but you also now have the option of using a prescription oral flea treatment, like Comfortis. Kittens must weigh over 4 pounds.
Be sure to let your veterinarian know if your kitten is already taking other medications, especially heartworm preventatives that contain ivermectin.