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Is Advantage 2 Safe for Cats? Medication, Dosage & Usage

Written by: Dr. Samantha Devine DVM (Veterinarian)

Last Updated on April 7, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Woman injecting cat product to prevent from flea treament

Is Advantage 2 Safe for Cats? Medication, Dosage & Usage


Dr. Samantha Devine Photo


Dr. Samantha Devine

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Fleas are pesky pests. They live on our dogs and cats and can cause various problems: intense itching, tapeworms, and anemia, to name a few issues. There are many products on the market, so you might be wondering which to pick. Is Advantage 2 safe for your cat?

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What Is Advantage 2?

Advantage 2 is a topical flea-prevention product for cats. Do not confuse it with Advantix, which is just for dogs and can be deadly for cats.

Elanco produces Advantage 2, which uses imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen to kill all flea life stages. According to the company, it’s effective for preventing and treating flea infestations. The medication comes in individual tubes and should be stored in a cool, dry place.

close up fleas on cat
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

How Is Advantage 2 Given?

Advantage 2 comes in single-use tunes. You’ll apply it directly to your cat’s skin. Because you should not get it into your cat’s eyes or allow your cat to lick or ingest it, you should apply it at the base of your cat’s neck.

Your cat should be dry when you apply the product, as it’s not waterproof until 24 hours after application. Part the hair at the neck base and squeeze the tube after you’ve opened it.

You can purchase Advantage 2 in packs of 2, 4, or 6 tubes. It should not be used in cats under eight weeks of age. The sizes for cats are as follows:

  • Kitten: 2 to 5 pounds
  • Small cat: 5 to 9 pounds
  • Large cat: over 9 pounds

Advantage 2 should only be applied once every 30 days.

What Happens if You Miss a Dose of Advantage 2?

If you miss your cat’s dose of Advantage 2, apply it as soon as possible. Don’t double-up doses; wait 30 days before applying the next dose.

If you miss a dose, your cat won’t be protected against fleas, and it’ll take 12 hours after the application to fight off fleas. That means your cat will be at risk of itching, leading to hair loss, skin rashes, and other issues like a bacterial infection caused by Mycoplasma haemofelis.

Beige or cream coloured older cat resting on bed and scratching his ear
Image Credit: Lubo Ivanko, Shutterstock

Potential Side Effects of Advantage 2

Advantage 2 tends to be well-tolerated in cats when used appropriately, such as applying the correct size to your cat. That’s not to say it’s without side effects. Advantage 2, like all topical flea prevention products, can cause skin irritation. Some cats develop hair loss at the site of application, and your cat might develop redness, itching, or rubbing at the application site.

Gastrointestinal signs are also possible, such as:
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive salivation

You should not use Advantage 2 in a cat younger than eight weeks or weighing less than 2 pounds.

It’s important to know that Advantage 2, as with most pesticides, can be hazardous to humans. Neither you nor your cat should ingest the product, so wash your hands thoroughly after applying it to your cat. It can cause eye irritation, so the manufacturer recommends flushing the eye gently with water for 15 to 20 minutes and contacting a doctor or poison control.

Important Note

Advantix is a product made by the same company but labeled just for dogs. This product is highly toxic to cats and should never be used on felines. Permethrin, which is a pyrethroid compound, is safe for dogs. Cats lack the ability to metabolize the compound, so it becomes toxic very quickly. Some potential signs of permethrin toxic exposure include:

  • Tremors or shaking
  • Seizures
  • Ear twitches
  • Hypersalivation (drooling, sometimes excessively)
  • Agitation
  • Vomiting
  • Death

sick cat vomiting the food
Image Credit: Tom Wang, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Should my cat be treated for fleas?

Cats should be on flea prevention every month, even if they are strictly indoor cats. That’s a recommendation from the Companion Animal Parasite Council, as well as most veterinarians.

Even if your cat is an indoor-only cat, fleas can hitch a ride on your clothes and enter your house, wreaking havoc and transmitting various illnesses.

Fleas aren’t just dangerous to your cat. Did you know they can carry the bacteria responsible for the Black Plague, Yersinia pestis? Even today, some places have occurrences of the plague.

How long does it take to get rid of fleas?

Products like Advantage 2 may kill fleas within 12 hours, but that’s not going to get rid of all the fleas. It may take several months to get rid of all the fleas in your cat’s environment due to the flea life cycle. Fleas lay eggs that fall off your cat and into the environment. These eggs may take several weeks to hatch, just in time for your cat’s flea prevention to wear off in many cases. That’s one of the reasons monthly flea prevention is so important.

Why does my cat keep getting fleas even after treatment?

Because fleas lay eggs that end up in our cat’s environment, you might kill the fleas on your cat but have more hop on as they hatch. Your cat could also be exposed to fleas from infected animals or going outside, perpetuating the cycle.

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Fleas can cause many issues for your cat and can be quite frustrating for you. Elanco’s Advantage 2 is generally well-tolerated by cats as a topical flea prevention.

Featured Image Credit: goodluz, Shutterstock

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