Fight Cat Fleas and Ticks Safely

Applying medication properly to cats to keep them healthy and free from fleas and ticks.

As temperatures increase, fleas and ticks grow in numbers. Fight itchy bites and potential Lyme disease in your cats by properly applying flea and tick medicine, consumer watchdog groups urge cat owners. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently reported that flea and tick products can cause harmful reactions to cats if given improperly. Small dogs and cats seem particularly vulnerable, especially if given products meant for larger animals.

Consumer Reports offers these tips for using flea and tick treatments:

    * Use gloves when applying the medicine to cats and read the label. If you don’t understand it, ask your veterinarian or call the manufacturer.

    * If the product is for dogs, don’t use it on cats or other pets. Follow weight requirements for cats, too.

    * Watch for side effects. Symptoms like poor appetite, depression, vomiting, diarrhea or excessive salivation in cats are signs of poisoning.

    * If your cat has a bad reaction, immediately give her a bath using mild soap and lots of water. Then call the vet.

    * Keep cats separated from one another after applying a product, until it has time to dry. You don’t want cats to ingest the topical treatment when grooming each other.

    * If your cat is older, medicated, weak, sick, pregnant or nursing, talk to your vet before using a flea and tick product.

    * Don’t apply a product on kittens or puppies unless the label allows for it. For pets too young for flea and tick products, use a flea comb to pick up fleas, flea eggs, and ticks.

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