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Home > Cats > How to Prevent Insect Bites on Cats? Facts & FAQ

How to Prevent Insect Bites on Cats? Facts & FAQ

Cat Spray

You may love your cat, but you don’t love sharing your home with pesky bugs like fleas and ticks. Fortunately, there are plenty of feline insect-repellent options. Cat insect repellants can help keep bugs away from your cat and may even prevent a tick or flea infestation. The best cat insect repellant will last all day and not irritate your feline friend’s sensitive skin. Read on to learn more about the types of cat insect repellants available, their pros and cons, and the best ones on the market today.

divider-catWhat Are the Best Insect Repellants for Cats?

There are many different repellants, but not all of them are effective. Before you choose a repellant, you must decide how important effectiveness is to you. Some repellants are only mildly effective, while others are nearly worthless. If you decide to use an insect repellent for your cat, make sure you choose a product with a good track record.

The following list is a good starting point.
  • Flea-and-tick collars: If you have a cat that spends time outside, a flea-and-tick collar may be a good choice. This type of collar is placed around your cat’s neck and releases flea-and-tick-killing chemicals. While not all collars work against ticks, the best ones do. Collars are effective and can last up to 8 months. Seresto Flea & Tick Collar for cats offers protection against both fleas and ticks and starts working within 24 hours.
A flea collar's downside is that it can irritate your cat’s neck and is difficult to remove if your cat gets stuck.
  • Insect deterrent sprays: Sprays are effective and cheap; you can buy a large can for around $10. However, they are only mildly effective and last only 30 minutes to a few hours. Don’t use DEET products designed for humans, as these can poison your pet. Use animal-specific sprays, like Flys-Off Insect Repellent Spray.
  • Essential oils: Essential oils are a natural and effective way to prevent insects from biting. Citronella, eucalyptus, and peppermint are proven to repel insects. Some people even add essential oils to their kitty’s water bowl. Keep in mind that not all essential oils are cat safe, so double-check before using them.
  • Electronic bug repellents: Electronic bug repellents are more effective and last longer than sprays and citronella candles. However, they’re more expensive and could be harmful to your cat.
  • Medications: Talk to your vet about topical medications made specifically for cats to repel insects. Revolution Plus offers protection against fleas, ticks, roundworms, hookworms, and ear mites, but you will need a prescription to get it.

What Doesn’t Work to Repel Insects

Many cat repellants don’t actually work to repel insects. Any product that promises long-lasting protection is probably a scam and a waste of money.

  • Citrus-based sprays: Citrus sprays such as orange and lemon are advertised to repel insects. However, these chemicals attract bugs and don’t repel them.
  • Homemade repellants: While not always, homemade repellants are often ineffective and could put your cat in danger. Be aware that many homemade repellants contain cayenne pepper, which could be harmful to your kitty.
  • Catnip: Some people believe that catnip is a good repellant. However, scientific studies have proven that catnip attracts insects, not repels them.
  • Scented candles: While they could be a nice decoration, they don’t do a great job of repelling insects.

How to Choose the Best Insect Repellant for Your Cat

Before you choose a repellant, you should first decide what kind you are looking for. Consider the price, your cat’s health, and the safety of the repellant. Other things to keep in mind are:

  • Collars are effective against ticks and fleas but not against other insects.
  • Electronic repellants are effective against most insects and last longer than other options.
  • Choose a repellant that is designed specifically for use on cats to ensure that it’s safe for cats.
  • Do not use DEET products.


Cat repellants can help keep insects away from your pet. There are many different types of cat repellants, so there is something for everyone. Before you choose one, decide what kind of repellant you want. You should also consider your cat’s health and ensure that the repellant that you get is safe for them.

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Featured Image Credit: Vaillery, Shutterstock

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