In most cases, veterinarians recommend using spot-on treatments, which you apply to the base of your cat's neck, to prevent and treat flea infestations. But while applying such a treatment to a friendly cat each month is easy, you can't always catch and treat a feral cat in this manner. If you have a cat you can't catch, but who is in need of flea treatments, here are a few options to consider.

Nitenpyram Pills

Nitenpyram is a flea medication that you can feed cats in the form of a pill. You can crush the pill, add it to some wet cat food, and then feed it to the feral cats. Nitenpyram kills adult fleas, and it does it almost instantly. Within an hour or so of the cat consuming the medication, adult fleas will start dying and falling off of the cat. The downside to nitenpyam pills is that the medication does not kill flea eggs. The new eggs can hatch, and the new adult fleas can re-infect the cat. So, this treatment is best used as a temporary solution until you can trap the cat and get it to the vet (who can apply a more permanent medication). 

Lufenuron Pills

Lufeneron is another oral flea medication that you can add to the food of the feral cats. Unlike nitenpyam, it offers longer-term protection against fleas. It essentially makes the eggs they lay sterile, which interrupts the fleas' lifecycle. When you feed the cat lufenuron, the results won't be instant -- but over time, the flea load should become less and less. Generally, you need to administer the medication once a month for lasting effectiveness. The downside to this medication, in addition to the fact that it does not offer instant relief, is that it can be quite expensive. Also, the taste can be offputting to some cats, so you may have a hard time convincing the feral cats to eat it. 


If you would rather rely on natural products, you can try adding powdered garlic to the feral cat's food. Garlic makes the cat's blood less appealing to fleas, so it should help cut back on the flea infestation. Only use a small sprinkle per day, as too much garlic can cause stomach upset in cats. Never feed cats onions or onion powder along with the garlic, as onions are also harmful to cats. Your vet may also recommend an appropriate garlic supplement, made just for cats, to add to the feral cat's food.

Contact an animal hospital, like Berlin Township Animal Hospital, for more help.