Surely cat flea collars are the simplest way of ridding cats of fleas; just fasten the collar around your pet's neck, what could be easier?
No complicated costly treatment, these collars are simple and inexpensive.
Job done. . .
. . . or is it?
Flea collars must have seemed to be the perfect answer when they first came on the market.
Just place a little collar around your cat’s neck and the flea problem is taken care of, an almost instant fix it solution.
If only it was that simple.
It would be wrong to say that cat flea collars do not work at all; some folks claim they work perfectly well and successfully keep fleas and ticks off their cats.
Others have said that after giving these collars a fair trial, they did not help one bit with the flea problem.
It seems however, that by far the largest section of people who have tried flea and tick collars on their cats report they do a reasonable job of killing the parasites on the cat’s head and neck, but have scant effect upon the parasites on the back and rear end of the animal.
The most common type of flea and tick collar works by continuously releasing a pesticide, in the form of a vapor or a powder for the active life of the product, usually three to eight months.
The collar is usually only effective in repelling and killing fleas around the cat’s head.
Another type of collar slowly discharges a pesticide that is absorbed into the animal’s subcutaneous fat, (a layer of fat found just beneath the surface of the skin.)
Again these collars work better on the front end of the cat than they do on the rear end.
Yet another kind does not use chemicals or pesticides to eliminate the parasites, instead they use “natural repellants” in the form of oils.
When the effectiveness starts to fade the collar can be “recharged” by applying more oil to the woven cloth.
Finally, there are electronic flea collars that transmit ultrasonic sound waves that supposedly drive off fleas and ticks, but are not heard by cats or their humans. Often these are in the form of a tag that is hung from the cat’s existing collar.
We have arrived at the opinion that flea collars are a poor choice for ridding your cat of fleas and for keeping them off of your cat.
You may know someone who says they have used collars for years and they have always worked for their cat.
That probably is very true for them; after all they would be unlikely to have any incentive to claim that flea control method worked for them if it didn’t.
However, we think you will find that more of the people that you ask will say they were dissatisfied, saying the collars either did not work at all or worked very poorly.
Of course it could be that some failed to use the collar in the way recommended by the manufacturer, although in most cases it is meant to be a simple case of fastening the product around the cat’s neck and letting it work its supposed magic!
Inexpensive they may be, simple they may be, but effective? We don’t think so.
Something else to keep in mind, even if cat flea collars successfully keep fleas off of your cat, they are not going to help at all to purge your home of the fleas and their eggs, and their larvae, and their pupae.
If the fleas remain in your home, it is not going to be long at all before they are back on your cat.
If you have found evidence of fleas on your cat then almost certainly there will be fleas, in their various stages of development, in your home.
You can understand that whatever method you use to remove the parasites from your cat – and there are more successful and probably safer, methods than flea collars – you will be fighting a losing battle all the time the pests are in your home. Learn how to Remove Fleas from your Home and your Cat.
Aside from many folks that have tried cat flea collars and have been disappointed with their effectiveness, you will find many who have stopped using the collars because they became very concerned about the health and safety of their pet.
You may hear or read reports of cats becoming seriously ill through wearing a flea collar, becoming lethargic, having high temperature or having extreme bouts of vomiting.
By far the most frequent complaint seems to be that the collar caused hair loss or burnt the skin around the cat’s neck.
Could a collar designed to kill and discourage fleas really be a danger to cats?
It could be that in some cases the product was not used strictly in accordance with the instructions.
Perhaps in some instances another flea eradication product was used at the same time as the collar and the combination of the two caused the poor cat to become ill.
Nevertheless it is not hard to imagine that pesticide seeped on to a cat’s skin, or continuously released as a vapor can harm the animal.
Manufacturers claim that the active ingredient (pesticide) is released in such small quantities that it is toxic to the parasites but harmless to the cat and any other pets or humans nearby.
If that is the case then why so many reports of cats becoming ill apparently through the use of flea collars?
Many of these products come with a warning to wash your hands after fitting it on your pet’s neck. Common sense advice but it does show these collars are toxic.
For balance, there are also people who say their cats have been using these collars for years with no apparent ill effects.
In view of the potential harm that cat flea collars can cause, and their apparently poor effectiveness, we suggest trying some other, safer method of getting fleas off your cat.
Caution is advised even when considering ‘natural’ flea repellent collars. We have seen some employing garlic and pennyroyal, both of which are toxic to cats.
There does not seem to be any reports that electronic flea collars are dangerous, but there is little indication of their effectiveness.
This page is informational only and was not written by a veterinarian.
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