Cat flea collars use some form of insecticide to either scare away, deter, or kill fleas. Collars are often used in conjunction with spot-on treatments or independently, although owners do need to ensure that the collar they buy fits snugly without being too tight and that the collar is not at risk of getting caught on branches or other protrusions.
Generally, cat flea collars are considered safe for pregnant cats, but you should check the packaging and material to ensure this is the case. In fact, it is often advised that a pregnant cat undergo flea treatment or they will pass the fleas on to their newborn kittens, and fleas can prove deadly to very young kittens. You can also consult your veterinarian, which is especially important if your cat has other underlying health conditions or allergies that might also affect the wearing of a cat collar.
How Do Cat Flea Collars Work?
All flea collars work in the same basic way. They contain a substance to get rid of fleas. This substance is released slowly onto the cat’s skin and into its coat, around the neck area.
This area is where a lot of fleas congregate and when your cat grooms and scratches, it spreads the substance around the body. Depending on the type of flea collar used, the substance may directly kill the fleas, kill their eggs, or it might emit a smell that repels fleas.
The collar will continue to work until the substance dried up, usually within 6 months.
Are Cat Flea Collars Safe for Pregnant Cats?
Because flea collars use some form of insecticide to get rid of fleas, it is understandable that some owners might be reluctant to put them on pregnant cats. However, most are safe for use on pregnant and lactating mothers.
The chemical used shouldn’t cause any harm to the unborn kitten or the mother and might actually be beneficial for both. Fleas can be especially dangerous for kittens, and because the mother will come into regular, close contact with the kitten, she will pass any fleas on to her young. By getting rid of a flea infestation before the kitten is born, it is possible to protect the kitten.
However, you should check the packaging of any cat flea collar you buy. Some may recommend that they are not used on pregnant cats. Similarly, if you are in any doubt, you can also ask your vet. They will be able to recommend whether the collar is safe to use and they will be able to provide you with alternatives, where required.
Are Cat Flea Collars Safe for Kittens?
It is generally recommended that kittens under the age of 12 weeks are not given cat flea collars. For a start, your kitten is still growing very quickly at this age, which means that while the collar might be loose enough when you fit it, it will only take a couple of days before it might be too tight. The chemicals used, although safe for older cats, can also be harmful to very young kittens.
Alternatives to Flea Collars
Different types of flea treatment can be used on cats, including on pregnant cats. Whether you are considering tablets, spray, or spot treatments, though, always check the packaging and safety material to determine whether the treatment should be used on pregnant cats or kittens.
Arguably the safest method of flea control is to use a flea comb. A flea comb is a fine metal comb. As you comb from the skin outwards, it will pick up flea eggs that you can get rid of. However, as safe as a flea comb is, it is arguably the least effective and highest maintenance method of flea control.
Signs Your Cat Has Fleas
Cat fleas are irritating and can cause serious health problems, especially in very young very old cats as well as those with weakened immune systems and that have adverse reactions to flea bites.
However, despite the trouble they cause, they are very small and this may mean that by the time you spot the fleas, your cat and your home could already be infected. Below are five signs of cat fleas you should keep an eye out for:
- Cat Scratching – When a flea bites, it leaves saliva in the bite wound which passes into the bloodstream. The body treats this as an allergen and produces histamine to combat what it views as an allergic reaction. It is this histamine that causes flea bites to itch and can leave the bite area red and swollen. The bites will irritate your cat and they will scratch and bite at the area to try and relieve the itching sensation.
- Cat Hair Loss – Typically, hair loss occurs as a result of your cat scratching at the already-irritated area. This scratching can cause lesions and cuts in the skin and it can result in the hair being pulled out. If you notice small bald patches on your cat, you should investigate to determine the cause.
- Lethargy – If your cat has a serious flea infestation and it is left untreated, the fleas can seriously deplete your cat’s blood level. With blood loss comes anemia and some of the primary symptoms of cat flea anemia are lethargy and pale gums.
- Black Spots in The Cat’s Fur or Bedding – Black spots in your cat’s bedding or even in their fur might be what is known as flea dirt, which is feces from the fleas. You can try squashing the black spots in tissue and if they leave a red or brown smudge, they are likely to be flea dirt and a sign that your cat does have fleas.
- Bites on People – Cat fleas don’t just bite cats. They will climb off your cat onto carpets, bedding, and other surfaces, before transferring onto you and other people. Fleas don’t discriminate and they will bite people in order to feed off their blood, so if you have small bites on your skin that are red, inflamed, and itchy, it could be a sign of cat fleas.
Cat fleas are a nuisance and, in extreme circumstances, can cause really bad reactions in cats. Even a small number of fleas can lead to excessive scratching and biting which, in turn, can cause bald spots and other problems.
A severe reaction might lead to anemia, and treating cats to get rid of fleas is important. It is especially important with pregnant cats or they will pass the fleas onto their kittens when they are born.
Cat flea collars are usually safe for pregnant cats but you should check the packaging of any collar before using it. If in any doubt, ask your vet for their opinion on the best product and the best way to treat the flea problem.
Related Read: Can You Use Dog Flea Collars on Cats? (Vet Answer)
Featured Image Credit: Gagarin Iurii, Shutterstock