Cat Flea Collars – How Safe Are They?
Anyone with a cat will know that fleas are nasty bugs to get rid of. The dreaded moment you see a flea on your beloved cat sends shivers down your spine as you hastily start scratching, convinced that they’re on you too.
How do cat flea collars work?
Cat flea collars are worn by a cat around their necks and contain insecticides that kill fleas and prevent them from reproducing. Thus, reducing the number of fleas your cat has and, eventually, expelling them altogether. There are three types of flea collar available: high frequency, gas based and absorption based.
High frequency flea collars send out ultra-sonic waves that keep fleas at bay. Gas based collars repel fleas with the gas contained within them. However, if the fleas aren’t close to the collar around the cat’s neck, then they won’t be affected by the gas, therefore rendering the collar useless. Absorption based collars contain insecticide that is absorbed into the skin. When a flea starts to bite your cat, the poison in the skin kills them.
Why do people use flea collars on their cats?
Some cats are particularly difficult to give flea treatments to. Many will fight and scratch their owners when they attempt to put flea treatments such as a spot-on on the back of their neck. Therefore, the idea of a flea collar that simply clicks around a cat’s neck is an appealing proposition to an owner.
Flea collars pose many health risks to our cats due to the insecticides they contain. One of the biggest concerns is the risk of poisoning to both the cat and the cats owner. Cats naturally lick and groom themselves, meaning there is a high risk of them ingesting the chemicals from the insecticides.
Flea collars are known to be poisonous to both cats and dogs if too much of the active ingredient in these products is ingested by the animal. Worryingly, the poisoning can be life-threatening to our beloved pets. Signs that your pet is suffering from poisoning include: lethargy, walking drunk, dilated pupils, seizures, coma, drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, reduced heart rate, collapsing and hypertension. If your cat shows any of these signs of poisoning, remove the flea collar and seek immediate veterinary assistance.
Owners are also at risk from cat flea collars. Naturally a cat owner will stroke, pick up, cuddle and share a bed with their cat. However this poses a great risk to owners, with children substantially at risk. The toxic substances released by flea collars is easily ingested and transferred to the skin during interaction with your pet. Children are particularly vulnerable as they frequently put their hands and toys in their mouth and young children will often eat with their fingers.
Cats are at risk of getting trapped whilst wearing a flea collar or any other collar as they tend to climb fences, trees and hide in bushes. They also have a propensity to get into fights with neighbouring cats. In these instances, it’s easy for a cat to get caught or tangled up. When this is the case they will struggle to free themselves, which can result in them severely injuring their selves by getting their limbs caught under the band of the collar.
Alternative flea treatments
Natural flea collars are available on the market. These products don’t contain ingredients known to cause health risks, however they are typically unregulated products which haven’t been tested, therefore it is not recommended that you use them on your cat.
The safest flea collar alternative is to use readily available flea treatments which can typically be purchased from pet stores and veterinarians. Spot on treatments are one of the most common flea treatments available, with veterinary prescribed products usually more effective than over the counter products. Oral treatments and flea shampoos are other options that are also available.