How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Pet My Cat?

By Phil / February 28, 2020
How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Pet My Cat

If you use flea treatments on your cats you’ll know how toxic these treatments are to us. The last thing you want is for the treatment to come into contact with your skin.

If you’re wondering, how long after flea treatment can I pet my cat without getting the treatment on my hands or spreading it more – I can help.

Basically, you need to be 100% sure that the treatment has completely dried. Here are some of the things you need to be aware of for post-flea treatment kitty care:

How Long Does Flea Medicine Take to Dry on Cats?

Just so we’re both talking about the same thing here, I’m talking about the pipette treatments.

Frontline and Advantage are two of the most popular brands, and they come with pipettes as it’s easy to apply the treatment this way.

All you have to do is snap or release the top, then spread a bit of fur on the back of your cat’s neck and squeeze out the liquid.

I’ve been using flea treatments for years on my cats, and I’ve monitored how long it takes to dry on a few occasions.

The best answer is that it typically takes around 45 minutes for flea treatment to be touch dry.

This doesn’t mean you can pet and stroke your cat on the area that was treated though. You should wait at least 24 hours before petting them to ensure the treatment is completely dry.

The general rule is that it’s better to err on the side of caution. Flea treatments are toxic if it comes into contact with our skin, and worse if it comes into contact with any sensitive areas.

Petting Cat After Flea Treatment: The Do’s and Don’ts

How Long Does It Take for Flea Medicine to Dry on Cats

Reading the FAQ section on Frontline’s website, they say to wait until the treatment is dry before petting your cat.

They don’t give any indication on how long that’ll take, though. Which is why I wait at least 24 hours. Here are some other things to keep in mind after applying flea treatment:

  • Make sure children stay well away from your cat for at least 24 hours
  • Stop your cat from rubbing the treated area on furniture or coming into contact with blankets, clothes, etc
  • Don’t allow other pets in the home to come into contact with the treatment
  • Don’t touch the area for at least 24 hours
  • Don’t bathe your cat for at least 48 hours (usually not an issue for cat owners!)

I’ve never had a problem with my cats trying to rub the treatment off, but I have heard of some cats reacting this way.

Just keep an eye on them for the first 45 minutes or so if you can. This is when it’s wet and easier for them to transfer to other surfaces.

If you notice they’ve wiped it anywhere, wash the area thoroughly. Treatments can cause some serious irritation and sensitivity when touched.

How Long After Flea Treatment Before I Can Bath Cat?

It’s best to check the information leaflet that comes with your treatment as the answer can vary slightly.

As a general rule, however, you should wait at least 48 hours before bathing your cat after applying a treatment. If you wait a little longer, even better.

It’s important to wait at least 48 hours for the treatment to work properly. So, even if your cat is a bit dirty, I wouldn’t bathe them before waiting at least this long.

If you’re faced with the worst-case scenario – something smelly on your cat – use a pet wipe and avoid wiping the area where you used the treatment.

How Long to Keep Cats Apart After Flea Treatment?

What is the Difference Between Stray and Feral Cats

You should keep cats, dogs, and any other animals apart for 24 hours after applying a topical flea treatment.

This is because you don’t want the treatment to come into contact with any sensitive areas on your other pets. Such as the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth.

I have to make sure I separate my cats and dogs. The smell always attracts them to investigate what they’ve just had applied, and they end up rolling around and rubbing on everything.

In Summary

I hope this information has helped you better understand how long you need to leave your cat alone after applying a topical flea treatment.

If your cats are anything like mine, they always seem to want to curl up next to me and roll about within an hour or so of being treated.

I always have to separate them and put them somewhere where they won’t rub any of the treatment off within the first couple of hours. I then don’t pet or fuss them for around 24 hours as I explained above.

It’s easy to forget though, I know that. If you do run your hand over their neck or see them rubbing the area on any clothes or furniture within a few hours, disinfect the area and wash your hands thoroughly with soap.

If you have any questions or concerns, especially about the health of your cat, I suggest you call your veterinarian. It’s always better to pick up the phone and make a quick call than wait and see if anything worsens.

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