Can You Use a Flea Collar for Kittens Under 12 Weeks of Age?

Nothing is worse to a pet owner than a flea infestation.

Fleas may be tiny but they can cause a major problem when it comes to your kitten’s health and it's probably true that where there is one flea, there are many.

If you want to protect your kitten from fleas, you might be considering a flea collar.

But unless your kitten is more than 12 weeks old, this could be a dangerous choice. Keep reading to learn more.

What are the Dangers of Fleas for Kittens?

Fleas are a type of insect parasite that feed on the blood of their hosts. These annoying insects tend to target cats and dogs, though they can affect any animal with hair – even humans.

As small as a flea is, the bite might not seem very dangerous but a flea infestation could expose your pet to hundreds or thousands of bites per day.

Many pets develop an allergic reaction to the bites and, in some cases, may develop anemia related to blood loss.

Fleas also come with the risk of transmitting other parasites like tapeworms which can grow inside your pet and cause problems of their own.

Can You Use a Flea Collar for Kittens?

Though there are flea collars out there that are marketed for cats as well as kittens, you need to be extremely careful about using such a product on your kitten.

Flea collars can be very dangerous for kittens under the age of 12 weeks and for any cat, if they are used incorrectly.

Flea collars contain an active ingredient known as pyrethrin which is very effective in killing fleas but is toxic to cats.

If your cat chews on the collar or otherwise ingests this active ingredient, it could lead to gastrointestinal upset and may even damage your kitten’s central nervous system or his heart.

Symptoms of pyrethrin toxicity in cats may include diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, lethargy, dilated pupils, seizures, slowed heart rate, and abnormal blood pressure.

If your kitten is older than 12 weeks, you can use a flea collar but you need to exercise caution.

When choosing a flea collar for your kitten, be sure to read the warning label and follow all instructions. Look for a collar that is made with a breakaway buckle so it will break if your kitten happens to catch it on something – collars that don’t break away pose a choking hazard.

You also want to make sure that you choose a flea collar that is formulated specifically for cats, not for dogs. Flea collars for dogs have higher levels of pyrethrin which could increase the risk of toxicity for your kitten.

Tips for Preventing Fleas Without a Collar

While the active ingredient in flea collars is very effective at killing fleas, exposing your kitten to this toxin may not be worth the risk.

In fact, many flea collars contain a low dose of pyrethrin to reduce the risk for poisoning which, in turn, also reduces the efficiency of the collar.

If you are looking for a safer alternative flea treatment for kittens under 12 weeks, here are some products you might try instead:

1. Dawn Soap - Flea Shampoo

Though commonly used to wash dishes, you can use dawn soap as a flea shampoo for kitten under 12 weeks of age.

Dawn soap is made with gentle cleaners and no chemical ingredients so it is safe for young kittens.

To use this soap to kill fleas, bathe your kitten and work a small amount of the soap into a lather all over the body, avoiding the face. Rinse well then dry with a clean towel. Repeat as needed.

Watch this video and learn how to wash your kitten without scaring him.

2. Safari Flea Comb

After you’ve treated your kitten with a flea shampoo or powder, you want to go over his coat with a flea comb to remove fleas.

Flea shampoos and powders help to kill adult fleas and to prevent eggs and larvae from developing, but a flea comb is necessary to actually remove the fleas.

The Safari Flea Comb for Cats is one of the top recommended kitten flea comb options that is safe to use on adult cats as well as kittens - it is also recommended by professional groomers.

Watch this video on how to use a flea comb.

3. Zodiac Flea and Tick Powder

A great alternative to flea shampoo, the Zodiac Flea and Tick Powder helps to kill fleas, ticks, and lice on adult cats and kittens.

This powder kills fleas fast and offers lasting control benefits. It is easy to apply and it is safe for kittens over 12 weeks of age, though some veterinarians say that it is safe to use flea powders on kittens as young as 8 weeks.

Solving Your Kitten Flea Problem

Flea infestations can be dangerous for kittens and they can be a hassle for you, so do yourself a favor and take steps to prevent fleas while your kitten is still young.

It is not recommended that you use a flea collar for kittens under 12 weeks of age, but the products above are both safe and effective for preventing fleas.