What is Capstar for Cats?

Cat Scratching

Capstar is a pharmaceutical product used to treat flea infestations in animals. It is commonly used for dogs and cats. It can be prescribed by a veterinary doctor but can also be purchased over the counter without a prescription.

Capstar for cats

Capstar is recommended by veterinary doctors to control flea infestation in cats and kittens. It is an oral tablet administered to cats and kittens that are older than 4 weeks and have a bodyweight of above 2 pounds. It can be administered before the flea season to prevent your pet from catching fleas or when you see fleas in your pet’s environment or body. According to Capstar Pet, once you notice a flea on your cat, it is likely that dozens more are present in its environment its bedding, couch, or carpet. It is vital to act quickly to handle the infestation. Otherwise, you may end up treating it for weeks. You should not let your car suffer needlessly from fleas. You can eliminate them before they begin to multiply using Capstar.


Capstar Tablets consist of 11.4/57.0 mg of nitenpyram. Nitenpyram belongs to the chemical class of neonicotinoids and is the active component in the medication that kills adult fleas. Capstar has a slightly noticeable smell but it has no damage or negative effect on either the cat or humans.

Chemical functioning of the Capstar flea treatment

Capstar is a member of the chemical class of neonicotinoids which react by binding and inhibiting insects by fastening to acetylcholine receptors which interferes with the nerve transmission of fleas leading to incapacitation of their central nervous systems, hence their deaths. The effect on the fleas can be observed within a short duration of around 15 – 30 minutes after the medication is administered to the host animal such as a cat or kitten. This duration matches with the first blood meal taken by the fleas after the drug are absorbed into the host’s bloodstream and has reached a significant saturation level. An average of between 94% and 99% efficiency is recorded within the first 5 hours and 100% efficiency is reached before 24 hours are over without any residual activities. In the opinion of Petco, one dose of Capstar achieves over ninety percent effectiveness against adult fleas within six hours for cats and within four hours for dogs. The oral flea tablets treat flea infestations in puppies, dogs, and kittens weighing two pounds or greater and aged four weeks or older. The medication kills adult flies that can lead to flea allergy dermatitis. It is safe to offer your pet the medication once a day if fleas re-infest it. You can give your pet the medication with or without food. Characteristics of Capstar:

  • It is not necessary to get a prescription.
  • Kills adult fleas before they begin an infestation.
  • One tablet starts killing fleas within thirty minutes.
  • Veterinarians recommend it.

If there is an infestation in your home, you can administer Capstar once daily until the active flea problem on your pet gets cured.

Flea infestation on cats

Flea infestation on cats is a common condition that cats experience every now and then. It is important to control flea infestation at an early stage in cats since they cause the following. Fleas can be responsible for skin conditions in your pet(cat) such as miliary dermatitis. Also, fleas transmit other parasites including tapeworms that can cause adverse health issues in cats. Fleas are a major concern especially because they reproduce so rapidly. It is estimated that an average female adult flea can reproduce up to 2000 eggs in its entire lifetime. Adult female fleas feed on blood from your cat and in turn produces eggs. The eggs fall off from your cat’s coat. Within a few days, the eggs hatch and live in your pet’s surroundings without being detected as larvae. The larvae then mature into adult fleas within a very short duration of 3 weeks and since they live in the surroundings of the cat, they eventually find their way to the cat and the reproduction cycle continues. Controlling flea infestation in cats is important for their health and also important to avoid the adverse effects of the parasites that come with them such as attack by other parasites such as the tapeworm.

The flea management system by Capstar

This is an effective system designed by veterinary doctors to completely do away with flea infestation problems. It involves the application of two flea control drugs, the Program flavor tablets, and the Capstar tablets. The program flavor tablets are used to control flea populations (as discussed above fleas reproduce rapidly). The tablets prevent the growth of flea populations by preventing production of eggs by the adults since they create an unsuitable environment for egg production in the bodies of the female adults. They also mutate the eggs produced, thus prevent hatching of the eggs. The Capstar tablets in turn kill the already developed adult eggs.

The flea management system involves two steps:

Step 1

The first step in flea management is to prevent and control flea populations. This is achieved by administering program flavor tablets to the cats once or twice in a month. The tablets contain a component called lufenuron which controls flea populations by preventing the development of flea eggs. It is important to note that this drug does not kill the adult fleas that have already infested the cat.

Step 2

For the ongoing flea infestation, use Capstar tablets to kill adult fleas. Administer Capstar tablets once per week until the adult fleas are no longer observed. For a severe infestation, administer the Capstar tablets twice a week until the adult fleas are no longer observed. One can also administer additional tablets due to the adult fleas that may be picked up again from the surroundings of the pet. It is important to administer the medication to all cats in the household to completely end the infestation. If the fleas still persist, you can administer the Capstar tablets to the pet, daily, as needed for quick relief. A monthly flea preventive program is recommended for long term treatment and prevention of flea infestation occurrence. For effective treatment, the minimum dosage recommended is 1mg/kg where one Capstar 11.4 mg tablet is administered to a cat with weight ranging from 1kg to 11kg. It is important to note that no more than one treatment should be given in a day.

Administration of Capstar tablets

The Capstar medication is meant to be administered orally. It can be administered by mixing it with food or drinks or by directly feeding it into the mouth of the cat. It is important to note that Capstar tablets are not soluble in water, hence cannot be mixed with water to form a homogenous solution. When mixing it with food or drink, watch closely to confirm that the cat or kitten has taken the pill, and if you are not sure of this, it is safe to administer a second tablet. Also, make sure that the amount of food is just little, so as to simply disguise the treatment. The tablet can be crushed in this process to ease its ingestion. It is advisable to let the treatment be administered one pet at a time to avoid the occurrence where one cat consumes more food than another since this can lead to decreased effectiveness of the Capstar treatment.

How does Capstar work

Upon administration of the medication, the Capstar tablet is completely absorbed into the intestinal tract of the cat or kitten. The medication is then completely absorbed into the pet’s bloodstream within a very short period, estimated at around 30-40 minutes of ingestion. The minute a flea gets a blood meal from your pet, they take in enough of the medication leading to their poisoning and immediate death. Note: Since young fleas and larvae or eggs do not ingest blood from the pet, the Capstar treatment only kills mature adult fleas. For this reason, the treatment can go on for a longer period as you anticipate that the young fleas are growing into blood feeding adults. You can give your cat or kittens a bath during this period of administration. Capstar can also be administered together with other pharmaceutical products such as corticosteroids, heartworm prevention medications, vaccines, de-worming medications, antibiotics and can be combined with flea shampoos and other recommended flea products to increase effectiveness.

Precautions when administering Capstar

  • Measure the weight of your cat and buy tablets recommended for that specific weight.
  • For very young kittens that are underage or underweight for the Capstar treatment, do not divide the tablet into two to justify its administration.
  • All cats and kittens within the household should be administered with the Capstar treatment and it should be done within the same duration of time. (Untreated cats and kittens can act as a safe habitat for the fleas)

Advantages of using Capstar

  • The medication takes effect after 30 minutes of ingestion as fleas can be seen falling off the pet’s body within that timeframe.
  • It is used effectively for cats and kittens older than 3 weeks and heavier than 2 pounds.
  • To effectively use this medication, you do not need a prescription from a veterinary doctor in order to administer it to your affected pets. The Capstar tablets can be bought from over the counter.
  • It has no effect and can be safely administered to pregnant and lactating pets.
  • It is relatively cheaper than other flea prevention treatments.
  • It can be used as a preventive medication to avoid infestation of fleas in situations such as traveling, pet shows, or even kenneling.
  • In case you missed a dose or you are not sure whether the medication was administered, you can safely administer a second pill without the occurrence of an over dosage.

Disadvantages of using Capstar

  • The effect of the Capstar medication is only felt within 24 hours. It is therefore probable that not all fleas will be dead by the end of the 24-hour period.
  • The medication does not work on young fleas, larvae or eggs. As discussed earlier, this is because they do not feed on blood from the cat or kitten.
  • The Capstar medication is solely dedicated for flea control and does not have any effect on ticks, mosquitoes, tapeworms, flies or lice.
  • The Capstar tablet is unflavored
  • Capstar tablets treatment for fleas is harmful to human beings and should be kept out of reach of children. After administering the drug, it is advised that you clean your hands with soap and water.
  • Flea control can sometimes take longer than expected especially in environments where fleas are in large numbers.

Side effects of Capstar medication

The ingestion of Capstar tablets medication for fleas is associated with some side effects on the cat. This disturbance will continue for up to 7 hours after administering the Capstar medication. These include, difficulty in breathing, scratching, dilation of the pupils, an increased pulse, fever, biting and licking the fur, skin twitching, vocalization, hyperactivity and panting. Rarely observed side effects are, observable increase or decrease in the pet’s energy levels, unusual lack of appetite, and mild diarrhea. Serious side effects may include persistent breathing difficulties, drooling, body weakness and stumbling, seizures and hives. It is essential to note that the side effects are not as a result of the Capstar medication, but as a result of the quick demise of the fleas. For example, the twitching of the cats is caused by a sensitive sensation on the cat’s skin as the fleas become momentarily energized and starts to twitch against the cat’s skin as the Nitenpyram poison starts to take effect on the flea.


The occurrence of an overdose of Capstar medication is very rare, though it is a possible situation. The effects of an overdose include salivation, vomiting, and egestion of soft stool. Higher dosages may result to seizures and decreased activity by the pet and the seriousness of the effect increases with increase in the dosage. Symptoms of an over dosage disappear quickly and the pet is probably expected to recover by the end of 24 hours since the overdose was administered. This is because of the high ingestion rates of the nitenpyram component of the drug by the fleas hence it is quickly eliminated from the pet’s body.

Storing the Capstar tablets

You can store the medication under controlled environments of around 60°F and 76°F (16 – 24) °C. The storage location should also be dry and free of moisture. Capstar’s active component, nitenpyram ,is chemically stable under normal ctemperature and humidity conditions

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.