What are the best flea collars for cats? (2018 Edition)

best flea collar for cats

You and I both know how difficult it can be to give a cat a bath...

We endure multiple escape attempts, flying water bombs, and the wrath of claws and teeth.

Bad stuff.

Bathing your cat regularly is one of the most recommended tips to get rid of fleas.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always practical or possible for me and my water-hating cat. A few cat owners are lucky to have cats who love water, and to them we say, “No fair!” for we have had to turn to other, more aggressive flea control methods.

Enter cat flea collars.

Flea collars were once the top choice to when dealing with cats with fleas, until the development of more powerful topical “spot-on” drop treatments.

Some owners continue to use collars due to their lower cost, or for cats who have allergies or reactions to topical spot-on products. New formulations of flea collars are proving to be just as effective as other treatments and their popularity is growing.

That being said... let's get into how to go about buying these collars.

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your flea problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area. Takes about 30 seconds, and it'll likely save you time, stress, and money. Give it a look!

Our Top Flea Collar for Cats (2018)

Short on time? Check out below our top Flea Collar for Cats of 2017. Continue reading if you want to learn more!

Dangers of cat fleas

No one likes to see their cat suffering with fleas. The constant biting and scratching is unnerving for anyone. Not only are fleas an annoyance, your cat is at risk for serious health issues when these pests take control. Fleas are ectoparasites, which means they bite and feed off the blood of their host. If you don’t take the necessary action, your cat can get diseases and parasites such as anemia, tapeworms, cat flu, and flea allergy dermatitis.

cat with fleas

​We recommend checking for fleas on your cat on a regular basis so you can stop major outbreaks before they take hold. Cats are excellent groomers and may be able to hide the problem well. You should use a flea comb on your cat’s fur, check for dead fleas in bath water, and pay attention to behavior changes such as excessive licking or biting.

Adult fleas leave behind small specs of dark-colored digested blood. Brush your cat over a white towel or large piece of paper to look for this “flea dirt.” Still unsure? If you add water to the specs, you will notice they turn red. It is important that you act quickly once you notice a flea problem on your cat. Flea collars may be a good, relatively low maintenance option for you to treat fleas on your cat, depending on the severity of your flea problem.​

How flea collars work for cats

Designs

The designs of flea collars vary depending on the formulation of the insecticide used. There are two primary types – solid and liquid.

  • Solid: For the solid type, solid insecticide and resin are mixed so that as the collar wears away from rubbing against your cat’s skin and fur, the insecticide releases over time. Depending on the specific insecticide used, it either disperses across your cat’s skin or absorbs into the top layers. For the dispersion type, the flea only needs to contact the insecticide for it to take effect. For the absorption type, the flea needs to bite the skin.
  • Liquid: The liquid insecticide preparation releases as a gas. These are most effective for repelling fleas, but not killing them.

Insecticides on Flea Collars

Some ingredients, called adulticides, only kill adult fleas. Two examples are imidacloprid and fipronil. Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) are hormones that render adult fleas, eggs, and larvae sterile so they can’t reproduce. Two examples of IGRs are pyriproxyfen and S-methoprene. They successfully end the life cycle of the fleas and help to control them over time.

How Effective are Flea Collars for Cats?

Some products combine adulticides with an IGR to reap the benefits of both – quick relief for your cat from bites and a way to avoid the spread of new fleas. A few flea collars can kill adults within 24 hours and last up to 8 months making them comparable to liquid drop treatments without the mess.

One thing that can reduce a collar’s efficacy is getting it wet multiple times per week. Most collars are listed as “waterproof” so a monthly bath should be ok, but too many and the insecticide could wear off. If your cat plays in water, you may want to take the collar off, put it in a plastic bag, and replace it once your cat is dry again.

The effectiveness of a flea collar is limited to your cat – not the eggs, larvae, and pupae in your carpet or in cracks of your wooden floor. IGRs can help some, but it will take a while for those take effect.

The fleas you see on your cat only account for a small amount of the overall infestation. An adult female flea lays about 50 eggs each day and most of these fall to the ground. Adult fleas represent just 5% of your overall flea population. Another 50% are eggs, 35% are larvae, and 10% are pupae. To eliminate your flea problem completely, you need to focus on treating your home environment as well.​

How to get rid of cat fleas in the house

No matter which type of flea collar you choose to use for your cat, it is critical that you use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) tactics to eliminate fleas. IPM promotes the use of a variety of approaches to kill or sterilize the fleas and eggs on your cat, in your home, in your yard, and on items such as pet bedding and linens.

Using IPM requires a thorough understanding of the cat flea life cycle so you know which products to use in different areas. Pay close attention to the labels of products to determine if they work on killing adults, eggs, larvae, and pupae. Products that say “Repels fleas” will most likely not be effective in removing fleas you already have.​

cat with fleas

Be careful to not combine too many products on your cat or in areas where they live as too many chemicals can be toxic. Check with your veterinarian to determine the best approach for your situation.​

Vacuuming is one of the most advised techniques you can use to stop the spread of fleas. When larvae hatch, they eat eggs and flea dirt. Vacuuming at least once per day may help to reduce their food source so they won’t survive. You should also vacuum before you do any home treatments such as spraying or using a fogger. Vibrations and heat can cause pupae to hatch, which would leave them more vulnerable to the effects of the chemicals. Be sure to empty out the canister or bag away from your home so the fleas don’t jump out. Some people even put cut up pieces of flea collars in their canisters to kill the fleas they catch.​

Want to skip all this research and just hire a decent exterminator for your flea problem?

Click here to check out our exterminator search tool where we send you free quotes from trusted (and thoroughly vetted) exterminators in your local area. Takes about 30 seconds, and it'll likely save you time, stress, and money. Give it a look!

Is a flea collar safe for cats and humans?

Flea collars are generally considered safe for cats and humans, but you should take some precautions. Most flea collar labels clearly state “Do Not Allow Children to Play with Collar.” Some insecticides are more toxic to humans than others. If you handle a collar, you should wash your hands. You don’t need to be concerned with petting your cat while they are wearing a collar, just wash your hands after. Even if you were to ingest some of the insecticide, it would take a much larger amount to do any harm. To be on the safe side, just use some common sense.

As with any product, even those considered safe, some cats will experience a negative reaction. If your cat has hair loss, sores, or redness around the neck, discontinue use and consult your veterinarian. There may be some discomfort in the first few hours as the fleas go through the dying process. Unfortunately, the fleas can still bite for a short time while the chemicals take effect.

Another concern with collars is the possibility of strangulation. Make sure you select a collar with a safety release mechanism that opens once the pressure goes over the limit.​

Product Reviews

Using flea collars can be a good strategy for getting rid of fleas on cats. Here are a few of the top choices available on the market right now.

Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar

This product is one of the main reasons flea collars are making a comeback. The broad insecticides imidacloprid and flumethrin kill current fleas within 24 hours and kill any new fleas who try to jump on within 2 hours.

I like it because it is simple - no vials, no drops, and no wet messy blobs of fur on my cat.

Pros

  • Very easy to use – just size the collar, put it on and you’re finished
  • Slow release of chemicals allows the collar to last up to 8 months
  • Quick release safety latch to prevent choking
  • Not oily or greasy
  • Comparable to “spot-on” treatments

Cons

  • This is not an all-natural option
  • Some may find it expensive

Top Guard Flea and Tick Collar

This flea collar appears is a new addition to our list as it is gaining popularity as a cheaper alternative to the Seresto flea collar.

It's made in Germany with its main ingredients being: 

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lemon Eucalyptus
  • Lavender oil
  • Linaloe

Pros

  • Has a nice smell from the oils used in the collar
  • 8 months of protection
  • Non-toxic alternative to Seresto
  • Hypoallergenic

Cons

  • Relatively new and un-proven brand
  • Ingredients are non-toxic, which is good, but they may be less effective compared to other collars

Hartz UltraGuard Plus Flea and Tick Cat Collar

This Hartz brand is well-recognized in the pet industry. The active ingredient for this collar is Tetrachlorvinphos which is one of the more controversial insecticides.

The EPA states it is safe if you follow the label instructions.

Pros

  • Kills and repels fleas and ticks
  • Has an IGR to sterilize eggs and larvae
  • Lasts up to 7 months
  • Water resistant
  • Has a “break-away” collar

Cons

  • Some cats could experience itching and hair loss at the site of the collar for a few weeks due to the harsh insecticide
  • Must wash hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling
  • If you have children, you need to be extra vigilant in making sure they don’t handle this collar

Only Natural Pet EasyDefense Flea & Tick Cat Collar

This all-natural option is good if you want to avoid chemicals. I would choose this collar if I or my cat had skin sensitivities or if I wanted a non-toxic alternative.

You will definitely need other products to get rid of a flea infestation, but it is a good option for prevention.

Pros

  • Repels fleas and ticks
  • All-natural ingredients such as Geraniol, citronella, citronella oil, and cinnamon oil
  • Water resistant
  • Lasts up to 3 months
  • 100% guaranteed

Cons

  • Even natural ingredients can still cause harmful reactions for some pets
  • Strong scent that may bother some cats
  • Doesn’t kill fleas so do not choose if you already have an infestation

Pet Gallo Flea & Tick Cat Collar

This collar is similar to the Hartz collar with the same insecticide at a slightly larger amount. The cost is higher though and it doesn’t come with a safety release.

This collar will work, but between the two, I would probably choose the Hartz.

Pros

  • Kills and repels fleas and sterilizes eggs and larvae
  • Money back guarantee
  • Fragrant scent
  • Water resistant
  • Lasts 6 months

Cons

  • Made in China
  • Does not have a safety release collar
  • Strong chemical insecticide

Our Top Cat Flea Collar Pick

While there are several products available that are effective in killing fleas on cats, Bayer’s Seresto flea collar is my top pick for a flea collar and may be my top pick of any topical product. The choice between spot-on treatment or the Bayer Seresto collar comes down to personal preference, and is not so much based on which one is more effective anymore.

This flea collar may be the better option for cats who don’t tolerate drops well, or who spend too much time trying to lick the solution. The Bayer Seresto collar has at least brought flea collars back into the mix as a strong option for quick flea elimination and long-term flea control.

Alternatively, we also recommend checking out our trusted exterminator search tool. You enter in your location details and get a couple free quotes to knock our your problem quickly. 

Fleas aren't something to mess around with.

If you feel the least bit uncomfortable handling pesticides and/or other chemicals around your pets, our recommendation is to use the tool, find a couple exterminators (they're all pre-qualified) and ask them your questions.

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