How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Pet My Cat?

how long after flea treatment can i pet cat

Fleas are a major nuisance for cat and dog owners alike. These little pests can multiply at astoundingly fast rates, they can invade many spaces, and they bite and cause horrible itchiness.

One week you don’t notice anything at all, or maybe a couple of fleas and your cat itching itself frequently, and then the next week, when you step on a carpet, you notice dozens or hundreds of fleas jumping around with each step you take.

No, it’s not fun for cats to have fleas and it can be a nightmare for humans too. Due to fleas, you have had to take steps to get rid of them, which with cats usually involves a basic flea treatment option. So, how long after flea treatment can I pet my cat?

Cats and Flea Treatments – An Important Note

Before we talk about touching and petting your cat after a flea treatment, it is important to note that most flea treatments are not overly safe. Many cats may suffer from adverse side effects from flea treatments.

Some of these side effects may include headaches, nausea, dizziness, upset stomach, and other related symptoms. Remember that flea treatments usually always contain harsh chemicals which are designed to kill and/or repel fleas.

If you notice your cat has side effects from one particular flea treatment, you will want to discontinue use, wait for a couple of weeks, and then try a different product, preferably one with different ingredients/chemicals.

There are a variety of available options, mainly sprays, drops, and collars, and each is a bit different, particularly when it comes to touching or petting your cat afterwards. Keep in mind that most flea treatments for cats cannot be used on kittens, as the chemicals are too strong for young cats to handle.

Applying the Flea Treatment

One thing to keep in mind as well is that it is always recommended to wear gloves when applying any sort of flea treatment to cats. Once again, these flea treatments contain harsh chemicals which should not come in contact with human skin. So, always wear gloves and wash your hands thoroughly after each application.

Touching and Petting Your Cat After Flea Treatment

What is recommended is that you wait until the flea treatment has dried after applying it. If you used simple flea drops, these should dry within about 15 to 20 minutes, at which point it should be safe to touch the cat.

Remember, not only do you not want to touch the cat right after applying a flea treatment to avoid contact with it, but also to prevent you from removing it by accident.

When it is still wet, and you touch the flea treatment liquid, it will adhere to your hands and come off the cat, therefore rendering it ineffective. Also, keep in mind that sprays will take longer to dry than simple drops.

Flea Collars

This situation is a bit different with flea collars, because of course, unlike drops or sprays, flea collars are a constant application and release method; they don’t come off your cat.

Although most people are not going to bother with this, if your cat wears a flea collar, it is recommended that you wash your hands every time after you touch or pet the cat.

Yes, this can be annoying, but the tradeoff is that flea collars tend to be a bit more effective than drops or sprays.


Having to use flea treatments may be inconvenient, but it may be necessary. The most important takeaway is that you always need to follow the exact instructions on any and every flea treatment product you buy.

Related Posts

how do i bathe cat

How Do I Bathe a Cat?

how to stop cat from peeing on the couch

How to Stop a Cat From Peeing on the Couch?