You know the feeling: from the corner of your eye, you see a little speck jumping on your cat, and the dread starts. Fleas are more than a nuisance. They carry disease, cause pain and itchiness, and negatively impact both you and your cat’s quality of life.
The most definitive way to avoid dealing with fleas is regular prevention, especially if your cat likes to venture outdoors. Many vets recommend oral and topical treatments as the surefire way to go. Bravecto stands out as a potent topical solution that lasts nearly three months, making flea and tick prevention less of an ordeal. For a pill option, we like Comfortis chewable tablets, which have proven effective in severe cases.
However, oral and topical choices aren’t right for everyone. Many cats fight the application of topical solutions or refuse to eat tablets and pills no matter what tasty treat you disguise them with. If you find yourself battling your cat every month or so over flea and tick treatment, flea collars are an attractive alternative. They don’t require a prescription, provide long-lasting prevention, and are easy to apply. As a bonus, they tend to be very affordable!
Why bother with anything but the collar, then? They’re not the first choice for all vets, for reasons you’ll discover below. After our research, we’ve concluded that there are a few great options on the market and many to avoid. Use this guide to find the safest and best cat flea and tick collars out there.
How Flea Collars Work
There are two main methods flea collars employ. Some older models work by emitting gasses that are toxic to insects. It’s pretty localized, but still, the thought of purposely inviting noxious gas into your home isn’t very appealing. On top of that, these types of collars are really only effective around the neck and head, and fleas tend to prefer the back end of their host.
That’s why most newer collars use technology that slowly releases their active ingredients into the fat layer of your cat’s skin. This timed-release method minimizes your household’s contact with the flea-fighting ingredients. The formula also spreads over your cat’s whole body and keeps releasing over time, meaning your cat is better-protected for longer.
Some collars use chemicals, and some use natural repellants, normally in the form of herb-based oils. It’s important to note that natural options will repel any new fleas or ticks but won’t kill them. If you have an existing infestation, always contact your vet.
Concerns and How to Address Them
Some veterinarians and environmental organizations have raised concerns about flea collar safety. It’s important to educate yourself about these concerns to determine the best flea collar for cats, taking into account both efficacy and safety.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the nation’s top environmental advocacy groups, warns against over-the-counter collars that use the active ingredients tetrachlorvinphos or propoxur. They consider these chemicals toxic, especially to young children. The NRDC has been in and out of litigation with the EPA over this issue for the last decade.
Unfortunately, we noted that most chemical-based flea collars on the market, even from respected brands like Hartz and Adams, primarily use tetrachlorvinphos. So it’s important to read those ingredient labels carefully.
Luckily, we already did that for you! Below you’ll find our picks for the best cat flea collars on the market.
Our Top Picks: Best Flea Collar for Cats
Here are our top four favorite flea collars for keeping your feline friends safe and protected.
- Best Natural: ShengKou Flea and Tick Collar. If you’re keeping it all-natural, Shengkou’s customers swear by this formula, which uses only essential oils.
- Best Natural Runner-Up: Dr. Mercola Herbal Repellent Collar. Dr. Mercola’s collar also uses only essential oils to keep those insects off.
- Best Tag: Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Tag. And now for a totally different approach! This tag causes vibrations that keep away pests.
2. ShengKou Flea and Tick Collar
The best natural flea collar for cats
Brand: ShengKou | Active Ingredients: Citronella, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Garlic, and Thyme Oils | Duration: 12 Months | Age: 12 Weeks and Older | Price: 💰
More and more cat owners are looking for natural options these days. Please note that herbal formulas will not kill existing infestations, but they will repel fleas, ticks, and even mosquitoes.
We found reviewers were impressed with the strength of ShengKou’s repelling formula. Many noted that Shengkou gives excellent protection at a fraction of the cost of chemical formulas.
- Great value
- Also repels mosquitos
- Won’t kill existing infestations
- Some cats had an allergic reaction
3. Dr. Mercola Herbal Repellent Collar
The best natural flea collar for cats runner-up
Brand: Dr. Mercola | Active Ingredients: Geraniol, Wintergreen and Almond Oils | Duration: 3-4 Months | Age: 4 Months and Older | Price: 💰💰
Like ShengKou, Dr. Mercola’s collar uses geraniol, wintergreen oil, and almond oil to repel pesky insects.
Geraniol, derived from geranium oil, is also the primary ingredient in citronella. So, as a bonus, this collar will repel mosquitoes as well.
- Fresh scent
- Also repels mosquitos
- Some cats dislike the smell
- Won’t kill existing infestations
4. Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Tag
The best tag for flea and tick prevention in cats
Brand: Only Natural Pet | Active Ingredients: Silicon Dioxide Particles | Duration: 12 months | Age: Any | Price: 💰💰
Get ready for some science. Only Natural Pet’s tag uses silicon dioxide particles that cause the tag to emit a frequency that is disturbing to insects. It won’t be noticeable to you or your cat, but it will drive bugs crazy — and away from your cat’s skin.
Like other natural options, this tag won’t kill existing fleas. But it’s a great natural alternative, especially for those sensitive kitties who may have reactions to essential oils.
- Easy to use
- Not everyone found effective
- Rings aren’t sturdy enough and can be lost
Red Flags to Watch Out for in Flea Collars for Cats
We found some products out there we wouldn’t trust alongside the excellent options listed above during our search for the best flea and tick collar for cats. Watch out for these pitfalls:
- Dangerous ingredients. Again, the NDRC and EPA recommend you stay away from products using tetrachlorvinphos or propoxur as active ingredients, especially if you have children at home.
- Unlisted ingredients. We found some highly-rated products that claimed to be all-natural but had no ingredients listed at all. If you see a collar that simply says “allowed by EPA,” for example, that’s not a good sign. It’s best to know exactly what you’re bringing into your house and onto your pet.
- Suspicious reviews. We also noted that some of the best-rated flea collars for cats were padded with reviews for entirely different products or were otherwise suspicious.
Tips for a Happily Flea Collared Cat
For some cats, administering oral and topical treatments can be as much pain as the fleas themselves. If that sounds like yours, flea collars could be an excellent alternative for you both.
For best results, we also recommend keeping bedding extra clean, treating all animals in the house, and investing in a flea comb (like Safari’s excellent and affordable one).
Always follow the instructions carefully, and never use a flea collar designed for dogs on your cat. And ask your vet before you combine a flea collar with any other flea and tick treatment you may already be using.
Whatever you decide, we feel confident we’ve brought you the safest and best flea and tick collars to keep your cat happy and healthy.
For this guide on flea collars for cats, our team spent 3 hours researching the most popular options from over 15 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred and fifty user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each collar. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 4 flea collars for cats on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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