Pros: It kills fleas FAST without killing my cats.
Cons: It costs money.
Last Spring my indoor cats, for the first time ever, showed signs of having fleas. While a more detailed version of the story appears in my review of the Hartz flea drops product, the quick version is this: When I noticed fleas, I ran to the store and bought Hartz, because it looked a lot like the stuff I used to get from the vet when I had outdoor cats growing up. I quickly learned that it was not the same, did not kill fleas, and caused one of my cats to become ill. (On June 3, 2005 Hartz announce it was taking these dangerous drops off of the shelves. http://www.hartzvictims.org/ contains lots of info on this topic as well as info on some other flea products in stores that have caused kitty health problems.)
At that point, I went to the vet. We talked about options. The Hartz stuff contained the active ingredients of phenothrin and methoprene. While it was most likely the phenothrin that Mixie was reacting to, we decided to move to Advantage flea drops instead of Frontline, because Frontline Plus contained a little methoprene, and normal Frontline (active ingredient is Fipronil) does not control flea development. Advantage contains only the ingredient Imidacloprid, which does nothing for ticks or mosquitoes, but my indoor cats were only having a flea problem, so that Advantage was perfect. It does not kill eggs, but it kills adult fleas and larvae and works for long enough to kill all the larvae the minute they are hatched. Before using this, however, I had to bathe my cats to get as much of the Hartz stuff off as possible and then wait long enough for Mixie to feel better, so by then what had been a few fleas was the worst (and only) flea infestation I have ever experienced. It was VERY yucky. I have some fish tanks that prevented me from using flea bombs, because I didnt want to accidentally poison my fish or turtle, so I was using a vet recommended spray on the carpets and furniture, and I was leaving out dishes of soapy water under lights, so the fleas would jump in and die, but really none of this was working enough until I was finally able to use the Advantage.
It was like magic. We applied the product and within 24 hours it was almost impossible to find a flea in the entire house, and within 48 hours I didnt see another flea again ever. Perhaps the spray helped. Perhaps the soapy water flea traps helped (I definitely found dead fleas in the soapy water every day until the Advantage kicked in, so they didnt hurt). It was seriously the Advantage that made all the difference in the world.
The top twists off, and then you have to take the part you twisted off and jab it into the top to finish opening it. It is an extra step, but that means that if it gets squished enough in my cupboard to make the top twist off a little, it doesnt open itself and dry out, so I like the extra step, because I am not a great organizer and things do get squished and this is not cheap stuff. (The package says that this opening method makes it child-proof. I have no children, but I think when I was a kid, I would have been able to figure it out.)
Application is once a month, and after my infestation experience, we apply faithfully every month during flea season, because we NEVER want to experience that again. (My vet said we could safely not do treatments for a few months over the winter because we live in a cold enough climate.)
We spent about $50 for a six month supply for each cat ($100ish total). Mixie is a small bodied cat, and weighs less than 9 lbs, and Pippin is a HUGE cat (not fat just big), so we had to buy a different set of tubes for each cat. I consider it money very well spent.
This product causes the base of the kitties necks to feel a bit damp and smell kind of like baby powder for three or four days. That means for three or four days my cats are desperately trying to manipulate me into giving them a neck rub that makes my hands smell like yucky baby powder. (It amazes me how good they are at this form of manipulation.) The company recommends washing your hands before eating or rubbing your eyes or anything like that after contact, so I do that and everything seems to work out although the product also says it is water resistant, so I have to wonder to myself if washing my hands really does all that much good. Perhaps the soap helps.
Product Claims that Sound Cool but I Cant Prove
The box says that it stops the fleas from biting within 3-5 minutes. There is no way of knowing that for sure, but I know my cats stopped scratching the same day we applied the drops. It also claims that it eliminates all adult fleas within 12 hours of use. My experience may have taken longer just because our house was also affected.
This product is made by Bayer yep thats the company that makes Bayer Aspirin and Aleve for people like me. Somehow its comforting to think that Im now buying a treatment for my cast that is made by a company that also makes medication for me.
Final Thoughts/ Moral of the Story
I learned a few things during this experience. Indoor cats can get fleas, even if you go for four or more years without having fleas. Companies are allowed to sell flea products that kill in the stores, so always ask the vet before treating cats for fleas, even if it seems like this scenario should somehow be illegal. Advantage is my new best friend, and I highly recommend it.