As a responsible pet owner, you want to protect your cat from fleas. With the many brands and forms of flea control available, selecting the right one for your cat's age and lifestyle can be a challenge. There are actually two types of Advantage for cats: Advantage and Advantage Multi.
Advantage for cats is a topical solution that kills fleas only. It does not kill ticks. The active ingredient, imidacloprid, stops fleas from biting in three to five minutes, starts killing adult fleas within the first hour, kills 98 to 100 percent of them within 12 hours, and kills flea larvae in less than 20 minutes. It is also waterproof, allowing it to remain effective for a full 30 days even if your cat gets wet. Advantage is in the form of a liquid contained in a small tube. The tip of the open tube is placed against the skin on the back of your cat's neck, at the base of the skull. It is repeated once a month.
Advantage Multi for cats not only controls fleas, but also prevents heartworms and treats and controls roundworms, hookworms and ear mites. It too contains imidacloprid, but also contains the parasiticide moxidectin. This ingredient is what controls the other parasites. Advantage Multi is also a topical, once-monthly treatment and is applied in the same manner as Advantage.
Size, Age and Health Considerations
Advantage is for cats 8 weeks old or older. You should consult your veterinarian before using it on cats who are debilitated, elderly, pregnant, nursing, medicated or being treated with any other pesticide. Advantage Multi is for cats at least 9 weeks old and weighing at least 2 lbs. There are varying levels of dosage appropriate for varying weight scales: 2 to 5 lbs., 5.1 to 9 lbs. and 9.1 to 18 lbs. The same health precautions apply, as well as a warning against applying it to underweight cats.
Precautions Following Application
After applying Advantage Multi, do not allow any animal to lick the area to which it was applied. Cats in multiple-cat homes often groom each other, so it may be necessary to separate them for a while after application. If your cat licks the application site, "serious adverse effects may occur including depression, salivation, incoordination, panting and tremors." Also, according to 1-800-PetMeds, "children should not come into contact with the application site for 30 minutes after application." If you get Advantage on your own skin while applying it, wash with soap and water.
Individual sensitivities to Advantage are rare, but if you notice illness or unusual behavior in your cat after applying it, see your veterinarian. Contact your veterinarian if your cat shows any signs of allergic reaction to Advantage Multi. These include facial swelling, hives, scratching, sudden diarrhea, vomiting, shock, seizures, pale gums, cold limbs or coma. Further symptoms requiring veterinary attention are lethargy, behavior changes such as agitation, excessive grooming, hiding or pacing, rubbing or scratching at the application site, increased salivation within an hour of treatment, increased drinking and coughing.