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Can you bathe your cat after flea treatment?

Just as vinegar and water do not mix well, neither do cats and water. Most cats hate water and do put up a fight if you try to bathe them. The select few cats that enjoy a good bath or at least tolerate you giving them a bath are few and far between. I hated to see any of my cats upset to the point that they began to pant, claw, and fight. A bath can make a cat do this because they become frightened. I never thought it was worth it to upset my fur babies like this unless there was no other option. 

Cats are one of the cleanest animals on earth, but sometimes cats have circumstances that necessitate you to give them a bath. These circumstances could be, 

  • The cat has a flea infestation.
  • Your cat is ill and needs gentle cleansing. 
  • Your cat got into something they should not, such as mud, and the mess proves too much for them to clean up on their own.
  • Your cat is old and can no longer keep itself clean. 
  • An injury prevents your cat from grooming.
  • A surgical procedure prevents your cat from grooming.
  • Your cat is obese and cannot do personal hygiene to keep itself clean. 

At these times, your little furry friend requires some hygiene help from you. Cats are not like dogs, who mostly enjoy a good bath. Some vet hospitals provide cat baths for their clients. Most vets initiate a gentle sedative to help calm the cat before bathing and doing personal cat hygiene, such as trimming nails and cleaning ears. Some vets refuse to do personal cat hygiene or as little as possible.

Can You Bathe Your Cat After Flea Treatment? 

While some flea treatments say that it does not matter if you bathe your cat after applying a flea treatment, other brands say to wait for a short time before giving your cat a bath. Some flea solution treatments claim to be waterproof. Waiting times for bathing your cat can vary, which is why it is critical to read the directions carefully before applying any flea treatment to your cat or kitten and use the recommended dosage as per the weight of your pet. 

*Never use a dog’s flea treatment on your cat or kitten as an added note of caution. This can be fatal to your cat or kitten. 

The Ten Top Leading Brands of Flea Prevention for Cats

If you have a cat or kitten, it is only wise to consider using one of the top ten flea treatments on the marketplace that carries excellent, verifiable reviews from pet owners. When searching for a cat flea prevention program, it is good to choose a brand that kills ear mites, ticks, and worms. Know that some cats may react negatively after you apply a flea preventative. Read the directions carefully. This side effect may last a few minutes. However, call your veterinarian immediately if you are uncomfortable with how your cat reacts. 

While side effects are common in cats, I did not like to see this happen after applying a flea preventative to my cats and always felt there had to be a better way. Three side effects I noticed were,

  • My cat would run around the house like it was going crazy. The treatment seems to make my cat hyper for a few hours.
  • The flea solution caused my cat to drool severely, which can be a bit scary. You must apply the flea solution directly to the middle of the cat’s shoulders where they cannot reach the area to lick it off, otherwise, the solution causes this severe drooling.
  • Some flea treatments caused my cats to have eye sensitivity for a few hours, and I did not like to see this happen. 

When your cat starts to show side effects, you may want to bathe your cat and get the solution off of them. It takes only a matter of seconds for a flea treatment solution to get into the cat’s body, so giving the cat a bath is not going to help. Some cats show no side effects. All cats are different. 

I found that the one flea treatment that showed no side effects ever on any of my cats was Prevention Flea Treatment for Cats. However, the Prevention brand of flea treatment may be more expensive than other options. I could never afford to use this treatment year-round. I use Prevention when the weather starts getting hot and humid.

The following is a list of the top ten flea treatments. You must carefully read the instructions first regarding bathing your cat before or after treatment. 

  • Prevention Plus Flea, Tick, Worm (including tapeworm), Eggs, Larvae, and Ear Mites, Prevention
  • Prevention Flea, Tick, Worm, Eggs, and Larvae without Tapeworm Protection
  • Frontline Plus Flea & Tick Treatment
  • Bayer Animal Health Advantage II
  • Bayer Seresto Flea and Tick Collar
  • Cheristin Topical Flea Prevention for Cats
  • TevraPet Actispot II for Medium Cats
  • TervraPet Actispot II for Large Cats
  • Capstar Fast-Acting Oral flea Treatment
  • PetArmor Plus for Cats Flea and Tick

Every brand of cat flea preventive lasts for approximately 30 days until you need to apply the next dose. Never use flea treatment any sooner than every 30 days. It takes at least three months to rid your cat of all fleas, eggs, and larvae. Veterinarians recommend using cat flea prevention year-round. 

How Soon Can You Bathe A Cat After Flea Treatment? 

You must decide which cat flea treatment you want to use on your cat or kitten and apply this treatment strictly according to your cat’s weight. I want to repeat, (Never use a dog’s flea treatment on your cat!) Be sure to read the directions for the cat flea treatment you wish to use. Recommendations regarding bathing your cat after a flea treatment can vary from brand to brand. The general rule of thumb is to wait at least 24-48 hours before bathing your cat after applying flea prevention. Waiting 48 hours is advisable and provides the treatment’s necessary time to work successfully. 

Bathing your cat too soon after using a flea preventive will not harm your cat. However, it does reduce the effectiveness of the solution. There may or may not be a couple of side effects of bathing your pet too soon. These side effects are not severe; however, they can drive your cat crazy.

  • Dry skin
  • Skin irritation

Should I Bathe My Cat Before Flea Treatment? 

I have bathed a select few cats throughout the years due to illness or age only, but not due to any flea treatment I used. In the case of our first cat rescue and its flea infestation, it was a flea shampoo bath we used. This kitty needed three flea baths to rid her of all the fleas she had on her poor body. Nowadays, there are more effective and accessible ways to get rid of fleas that do not involve bathing your cat before or after topical flea treatment. It is not necessary to give your cat a bath before or after flea treatment. 

Over the last several years, researchers have developed many different types of flea prevention programs geared to all kinds of budgets. Research continues to improve and bring to the market new flea treatment options. The flea treatments of today work quickly and more effectively than flea baths of yesteryear ever did. 

200 Fleas Later!

Our first cat rescue was by my daughter, who lived at home. I did not want any pets, but my daughter, 19 years old at the time and still living at home, had graduated and was working a full-time job. She rescued a small white fur baby who lived in our neighbor’s garden next door. She begged us to please adopt this cat and I did not want pets, but I finally gave in to her begging. It was not soon after that I grew to love and adore this pure white fur baby whom my daughter named, “Baby.”

To make my story short, Baby had a flea infestation. My daughter bought a flea treatment shampoo and I remember her telling me, “Baby needed three of these shampoos to eliminate all the fleas on her body.” It would have been much easier to apply a topical flea treatment had such a thing been around at the time. Also, she had no idea what she was doing. I divorced myself from the situation and figured she was wise and intelligent and would figure it out, and she did.

Baby aka, Beebe, aka Mama Beebe, aka Grandma Beebe was this kitty’s name throughout her time with us. Yes, I realize this is a lot of aka, but this was the life of Beebe over the next 19 years of flea-free living in our home. Beebe put me on the road to cat rescue for over 30 years. Beebe was a star and an award-winning mother and grandmother with a fantastic story all her own that keeps going. 

I am trying to make the point that, in the beginning, Beebe tolerated her three baths. I do not remember her having any more baths after that first time. We never bathed her before or after using topical flea treatment solutions and she did well. 

I believe that Mama Beebe suffered from “Lick-itis” if such a thing existed. Every day she took care of herself first, then she ran from kid to kid giving them baths, licking their ears, paws, hinnies, and everywhere in-between. These cats were more pristine in the personal hygiene department than many people we know. We never bathed these cats, flea treatment or not. Beebe was meticulous in her hygiene to the day she died. Beebe not only kept herself clean, but she was also meticulous in keeping her four children and six grandchildren clean. She kept grooming them every day even after they were adults and twice as big as her. 

A Soothing Bath May Be What the Doctor Orders

Some cats have very sensitive skin, bad flea infestations, and flea allergies, leading to a possible skin infection, as Beebe had in 1991. A soothing bath may be beneficial to the cat. The best person to direct and guide you to the perfect flea treatment or medicated bath is your veterinarian.