How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Pet My Cat?

How Long After Flea Treatment Can I Pet My Cat?

Flea treatments for our pets are toxic to us, as well as to our cats. You should avoid touching the solution and keep your cat from ingesting it.

Make sure that you choose the right treatment for the age and size of your cat. For example, a flea and tick collar is not appropriate for a kitten that is less than 12 weeks old.

In this article we will discuss why it is necessary for your and your cat’s safety to follow these instructions regarding your cat’s post-flea treatment care.

How long does flea medication take to dry on cats?

The short answer is to wait for it to be completely dry before giving your cat their much-deserved pets.

This is specific to pipette treatments like Frontline and Advantage. These kinds of flea treatments are easy to apply. All you have to do is snap the top and squeeze the contents onto the back of your cat’s neck and spread it a bit. 

Be sure to wear a pair of gloves when applying the treatment so you can help spread the solution better on the skin between the shoulders. Make sure that you wash your hands after applying the medication, even if you wore gloves. 

It usually takes this kind of treatment at least 45 minutes to become dry to the touch. But even though it’s dry, don’t touch it. You need to wait 24 hours before petting your cat.

To be even more cautious, wait more than 24 hours before touching your cat. It’s better to be sure than to risk irritating your skin from the chemicals. Waiting also lessens the possibility of you touching sensitive areas on your body after touching the medication.

Do’s and Don’ts of petting your cat after flea treatment

The Advantage and Frontline websites state that you have to wait until the treatment is completely dry before touching your pet. But they did not specify how long that typically takes, so just wait for 24 hours. It could be overkill, but better to overshoot than to come up short.

Watch your cat closely for any side effects or adverse reactions to the medication. They can happen immediately while some signs may take hours before they appear. So, keep your eyes glued on your cat for the next 24 hours. If you notice these reactions, bring your cat into the vet because it might be a serious issue.

Keep your cat away from any children in the house. They might not be aware of the chemicals on the cat. So, be sure to instruct them not to touch the cat.

Stop the cat from rubbing its body on furniture, clothes, or rugs around the house. Also keep the cat from rubbing its body on your clothes.

Keep the cat away from other cats or any other pets for at least 24 hours. If possible, keep the cat in a crate until after the 24 hours is done. For their safety and yours.

Do not give your cat a bath for the next 48 hours to really give the treatment a chance to work its magic and to give it time to spread.

The truly crucial time is the 45 minutes after the application when it is still wet and may transfer quite easily onto other surfaces.

If you see your cat rub up against anything, wash that area thoroughly, while also keeping in mind that you should not come into contact with it either. Wear rubber gloves if you need to.

If you are using flea and tick collars, wash your hands after each time you touch your cat, this is because the collar continuously releases chemicals to do its job. That means there is always going to be a layer of chemicals on your cat’s fur.

How long after the flea treatment do I have to wait before I can give my cat a bath?

There should be a leaflet that comes with the treatment package that answers this question. But if there isn’t one, just wait for 48 hours before giving your cat a bath. If you can wait a couple more days, even a week after treatment, that’s even better.

48 hours is key because this allows the medication time to spread and do its job, so if you bathe your cat too early, it might lessen the medication’s effectiveness. I know it can be tempting to give your cat a good rinse when they’re filthy, but just remember that it’ll be for their own good to wait out the 48 hours.

If, say, your cat stepped on something or rolled on something dirty or smelly, use a pet wipe to clean as much as you can, while avoiding the area where the medication was applied.

How long should I keep my pets apart after flea treatment?

You have to keep your treated cat away from your other cats and pets for the next 24 hours. Because although the treated cat cannot reach the medicated area on their body, the other cats or pets may possibly lick or rub up on the medication. It can come into contact with their eyes, nose and mouths which we do not want.

The medication’s scent is quite strong so your other pets are going to come closer and examine where it’s coming from. So, again, keep them away from each other so that no unwanted contact happens.


After applying your cat’s flea treatment, you have to wait 24 hours before touching them. This is to make sure that the medication is completely dry and the chemical is no longer harmful to you or your other pets. Keep your cat in a crate for the 24 hours so they don’t rub up on furniture or people. Wait for 48 hours before giving the cat a bath to give the medication time to work. 

Image: / krblokhin