RevolutionCats.com

Revolution for Cats

Everything about Revolution

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This in-depth explanation will provide you all of the essential information about Revolution for cats and guide you to make the most informed decision about the best topical spot-on for your cat.

What is Revolution?

Revolution is a monthly topical medication designed for the treatment of parasites on cats. Revolution kills adult fleas and flea eggs and helps to control flea infestations, protects against heartworm disease, treats and controls roundworm and roundworm infections, and treats and controls infestations of ear mites and biting lice.

Revolution is also available for dogs, but all of the information provided here relates only to its use on cats.

Revolution protects cats against

flea vector

Fleas

heartworm vector

Heartworm

intestinal worm vector

Worms

mite vector

Mites

Active ingredients

Selamectin

Selamectin is a broad-spectrum antiparasitic designed for use on both dogs and cats. It is both an ectoparasiticide, meaning it kills external parasites, and an endoparasiticide, which treats internal parasites. In cats it is effective against fleas, heartworm, ear mites, lice and some intestinal worms. After application, Selamectin is absorbed and spread through your cat’s blood, hair and skin, where it is ingested by parasites. The drug blocks the transmission of neuronal signals, leading to the parasite’s death.

The use of Selamectin has been approved by the European Medicines Agency and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) in 1999. An EU field study found that when used as directed, Revolution (marketed also as Stronghold) reduced flea count by 98% in cats 90 days after treatment. Revolution was also 100% effective in preventing heartworm disease in cats.

The application of Selamactin was found to cause temporary hair loss at the site of application in less than 1 in 1,000 cats, and clumping of the hair or a white residue in less than 1 in 1,000 cats. This was not found to change the effectiveness of the product.

Vs Other Brands

Revolution logo Frontline Plus logo Advantage logo Advantage Multi logo Stronghold logo
Type of Application Topical Topical Topical Topical Topical
Fleas ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Heartworm ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Roundworm ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Hookworm ✔️ ✔️ ✔️
Ear mites ✔️ ✔️
Biting lice ✔️ ✔️
Dosage Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly Monthly

Parasites

No matter what kind of life your cat has – indoor, outdoor, city, country – they are almost certain to be affected by parasites at some stage in their life. Parasites are usually categorised into internal (those that live inside the body) and external (those that live on the skin or hair). While some parasites can be relatively harmless, causing nothing more than a bit of discomfort, other parasites can cause life-threatening damage if not treated.

Fleas

Ctenocephalides felis

fleas

The flea is probably the most common parasite that your cat will encounter. Fleas are found worldwide and live not only on cats, but also on dogs, rabbits, foxes, rats and even humans. Fleas are most commonly found in and around places where these animals live, either in homes and yards, or the nests of wild animals. Fleas like warm, humid environments with shade. In your yard they may be found in locations such as woodpiles, under leaf litter or under decking. In the home they can be found in curtains, bedding, carpets and other soft furnishings.

Flea-borne illnesses

As well as providing discomfort for your cat with their bites, fleas can lead to a number of more serious issues for your cat. These include:
Anaemia

This is not so much a disease as a condition caused by the bites themselves. As the fleas feed on your cat, the resulting blood loss can lead to anaemia, which is a lower than normal red blood cell count. Symptoms of anaemia include pale gums, lethargy, weight loss or a rapid pulse. This is more common in kittens or small cats.

Flea allergy dermatitis

While all cats will feel some irritation and itching at the site of a flea bite, some animals can develop a serious allergy to the flea saliva, which is injected at the site as the flea feeds. Flea allergy dermatitis will cause a cat to feel itching for days after the initial flea bite, and the constant scratching will lead to large open sores and hair loss, particularly around the tail and hind legs.

Plague

Fleas can carry a number of strains of this disease, but cats are particularly at risk of bubonic plague. Plague symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, depression, swollen tonsils, vomiting and diarrhea. Bubonic plague responds well to antibiotics but can be fatal if left untreated.

Cat scratch fever/Bartonella

This is a problematic condition, mainly because it is so hard to diagnose. It’s known as a ‘stealth disease’ because it can easily be mistaken for a number of other health conditions. Bartonella doesn’t usually cause serious symptoms in cats, often resulting only in fever or swollen glands, but they can easily transmit the disease to humans through a scratch, or more commonly a bite.

Tapeworm

In this case, one parasite can lead to another. Fleas are the most common way that cats contract tapeworm, as the infected flea is ingested when the cat grooms itself. Though not usually fatal in adult cats, tapeworm infections can cause weight loss if left untreated.

Life cycle of a flea

Breaking the breeding cycle of fleas is the only way to eradicate a flea infestation from your cat and your home.

flea life cycle
Stage 1

Fleas start off as eggs, which are laid by adult females in batches of about 20 in your cat’s fur. Flea eggs take between 2 and 20 days to hatch and during this time they may fall off your cat and become embedded in carpets, bedding or other soft furnishings. Flea eggs usually account for around 50% of a flea infestation.

Stage 2

Fleas emerge from the eggs as larvae, white, legless worm-like things about a ¼ inch in length. They remain at this stage for between 5 and 20 days, after which time they spin a cocoon. Larvae make up around 35% of the flea population, and at this stage it can be possible to eliminate some of them using a vacuum cleaner on carpets or bedding.

Stage 3

A flea will stay in its cocoon until it determines that the conditions are right for survival. This can be as little as 7 days but can be as long as 5 months. Fleas at this stage are known as pupae and make up around 10% of a flea infestation.

Stage 4

Adult fleas emerge from the cocoon and must begin feeding within a few hours in order to survive. Adults make up just 5% of the fleas in your home, but they can begin producing eggs in a number of days, with females able to lay up to 500 eggs in their lifetime.

Heartworm

Dirofilaria immitis

heartworm

Though heartworm is often considered a canine disease, cats can be just as affected by the condition. In addition, the treatment used to control heartworm disease is dogs cannot be used on cats, so prevention is the only way to protect your pet from the dangers of heartworm.

Heartworms, which are the cause of the disease, can be found worldwide, particularly in tropical and temperate climates. As heartworms are spread by mosquitoes, they are particularly prevalent in humid areas or near water. However, living in drier or cooler areas does not mean your cat isn’t at risk, as mosquitoes can breed in backyard ponds or even buckets of water.

Symptoms of heartworm disease

Cats are an atypical host for heartworms, and do not always present with the same symptoms as dogs. Unfortunately, is it possible that a cat with heartworms will not display any symptoms at all until they collapse or die suddenly. In cats that do display symptoms, these may include:

  • Coughing
  • Asthma-like symptoms
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Weight loss

Heartworm life cycle

Heartworm can only be transmitted from animal to animal by mosquito, so the mosquito plays an important part in the life cycle of this parasite.

heartworm life cycle
Stage 1

Heartworms start their life as microfilariae, which live in the blood of the host animal, such as a dog or fox. When a mosquito feeds on this infected host, they take with them the microscopic microfilariae along with their blood meal.

Stage 2

The mosquito itself provides the environment for the next stage of development. Over the next 2 weeks the microfilariae develop into infective larvae, before being transmitted to a new host as the mosquito feeds. It is with this bite that your cat would become infected.

Stage 3

These larvae enter the new host, such as your cat, through the hole made by the mosquito bite. Here, under the skin, they continue to grow, eventually migrating to the host’s blood vessels. Over the next 50 to 70 days, these larvae develop into juvenile adults.

Stage 4

The final stage of the cycle is when the juvenile adults make their way to the blood vessels of the lungs, and become adult heartworms. At this point the heartworms can breed, releasing microfilariae into the bloodstream, where they can be picked up by a mosquito. In cats, this stage is reached approximately 7 to 8 months after they are first infected by the mosquito.

Where heartworm occurs

Heartworm can be found worldwide, but due to the fact it can only be spread by mosquito bite, it is more prevalent in tropical and temperate areas. The countries with the highest reported incidents are the USA, Australia, South America, Japan and Italy.

Within the USA, heartworm was at one point confined to the south-eastern parts of the country, but in less than 50 years the parasite has spread considerably. Heartworm can now be found in 49 states and several Canadian provinces.

Sufficient data has not been collected in Australia to enable precise mapping of heartworm, but it is considered prevalent throughout most of the country. Initially it was considered a problem that affected tropical and coastal areas only, but the risk is now just in great in southern areas.

European cases of heartworm appear to be generally confined to the more southern countries around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, including Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey, with the highest concentration of cases found in Italy.

While these examples outline the places with the highest prevalence, it is worth noting that heartworm can be found in other areas, and vets recommend year-round heartworm protection regardless of location.

Worms

Revolution for Cats treats and controls two of the most common intestinal worms in cats: roundworm (Toxocara cati) and hookworm (Ancylostoma tubaeforme). As the name suggests, both of these worms live in the intestines of your cat, where they can cause a number of different issues. Both roundworm and hookworm can be found worldwide.

Roundworm

roundworm

These are the most common worms found in both cats and dogs. Kittens in particular are at risk of issues from roundworms, as they can be transmitted through the placenta or milk from the mother. Unlike other intestinal worms, roundworms do not attach themselves to the wall of the intestine, instead swimming freely throughout the intestines during the adult stage of the life cycle.

Although roundworms are not particularly problematic in adult cats, they can be dangerous, even fatal, to kittens or debilitated older cats. In cats of any age you may notice symptoms including:

  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Pot-bellied appearance
  • Weight loss
  • Dull coat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stunted growth (kittens)
Roundworm life cycle
roundworm life cycle

Stage 1

As mature adult females begin breeding in the intestines, they release thousands of eggs at a time. These eggs are expelled by the host in the faeces, where they end up in the soil or in litter boxes. Most cats are infected by ingesting the eggs, usually by grooming the infected dirt or cat litter off their feet. Alternatively, they may catch roundworms by eating an animal such as a mouse that is carrying the eggs.

Stage 2

Once inside the host, the eggs hatch as larvae in the gastrointestinal tract. As the young worms grow, they make their way through the tissue to the lung. At this point the cat coughs up the larvae and then swallows it, returning it to the intestines for the next stage of development. In the case of female cats, the larvae may instead migrate to the mammary glands, where they can pass directly to kittens through the milk.

Stage 3

The final stage of the life cycle is the development into adult worms. Approximately one week after returning to the intestines, the worms will have matured enough to begin breeding, and the life cycle begins again. From the release of eggs to full maturation, the life cycle of the roundworm takes around 4 to 5 weeks.

Hookworm

hookworms

These parasites are named for the hook-like parts they have in their mouths, which they use to attach to the intestinal wall of the host. Again, kittens are most at risk from problems caused by hookworm, and may require a blood transfusion to recover from the blood loss that occurs as the parasites feed.

Kittens are usually infected with hookworm via their mother’s milk, while adult cats pick up the parasite from eating small animals that are infected with the larvae. Larvae can also enter the host directly, often through the skin of the feet as the animal walks on infected soil.

As hookworms feed, they release an anticoagulant substance that prevents the blood from clotting and induces continued bleeding. This blood loss causes a number of symptoms including:

  • Anaemia
  • Blood in the faeces
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dull coat
  • Stunted growth (kittens)
Hookworm life cycle
hookworm life cycle

Stage 1

Like most parasites, hookworms start their life as eggs, which are produced by the adult female in the intestines of the host. These eggs are then passed out via the cat’s faeces into the environment, where they develop to the next stage.

Stage 2

The worms emerge from the eggs as larvae, and can live at this immature stage in the soil or similar environments for a number of weeks. Cats usually ingest the larvae directly by grooming the infected soil off their feet, where the larvae are delivered to the intestines for the next stage of growth. It is also common for larvae to enter the host via the skin, as infected soil clings to the feet. In this case the larvae make their own way through the tissue to the lungs, where they are coughed up and swallowed, arriving at the intestines. Hookworms at the larvae stage may also migrate to the mammary glands, where they are transmitted to kittens through the mother’s milk.

Stage 3

Once they have arrived in the intestines, the larvae mature into adult worms that can then begin the breeding cycle again. From the larval stage to the breeding stage, the hookworm life cycle takes around 2 to 3 weeks.

Ear mites

Dirofilaria immitis

ear mites in cats

These microscopic parasites are quite common in both dogs and cats, and can be easily transmitted between the two animals. Ear mites can be hard to see with the naked eye, and may require your vet to confirm their presence with a microscope. These parasites live in the ear canal, where they feed off skin, oil and ear wax.

Ear mites do not lead to any illness, but the irritation they cause to your cat can have a knock-on effect that can develop into serious problems. As the ear mites crawl and feed, they cause irritation and itchiness. To relieve the itching, the cat will continuously scratch at the ear, leading to mutilation of the ear itself, or open wounds that can develop infections. If left untreated, these infections can affect the eardrum, leading to problems with hearing and balance. Some cats may also shake their head to relieve the itching, which can also cause damage to the eardrum.

Ear mite life cycle

ear mite life cycle

Stage 1

Unlike many other parasites, the entire life cycle of the ear mite takes place on the host. The female lays her eggs directly on the surface of the ear canal, where they take up to 4 day to hatch.

Stage 2

The mites emerge from the eggs as larvae. At this stage they feed for a few days, then rest for one day, before moulting and becoming nymphs.

Stage 3

The mites got through two nymphal phases, in each one feeding for 4 days then moulting.

Stage 4

After the nymphs moult the second time, they emerge as adults. The entire life cycle of the ear mite takes approximately 3 weeks to complete.

Biting lice

Felicola subrostratus

biting lice

These biting lice are a particular form of louse that only affects cats. Found primarily in North America, Europe and Australia, they are more prevalent among very young or very old cats, or in areas with poor sanitation.

Lice are usually found on the cat’s hair shaft, where they attach themselves using their chewing mouthparts, and are most commonly located around the head, neck and tail. The most common symptoms of lice include irritation and itching. In the case of severe infestations, a cat may scratch intensely and appear restless, and even develop hair loss.

Biting lice life cycle

Lice complete their entire life cycle on the host, and can only survive in the environment for a number of days.
lice life cycle

Stage 1

Adult female lice lay just a few eggs per day, gluing them directly to the hair near the base of the shaft.

Stage 2

The eggs can take 1 to 2 weeks to hatch, emerging as nymphs, which resemble small adult lice.

Stage 3

Lice go through two nymphal stages over the course of 2 to 3 weeks before developing into adults. Adult lice have a lifespan of around 30 days.

Myths about parasites

It can be hard to filter through all the information about parasites, but it’s important that you know the facts in order to provide the best care for your cat. Here are some of the more dangerous myths about parasites, and the truths behind them.

Indoor cats don’t need parasite protection

False. All cats need protection from parasites. Although it might be hard to imagine your indoor cat having the same risks as a cat that spends its time in the dirt or hunting animals, parasites can easily enter your home through an open window, a small amount of dirt on your shoe or even by hitching a ride on your clothing.

Heartworms only affect dogs

False. While dogs are a more natural host for heartworms, cats bitten by an infected mosquito can still develop the disease. Moreover, the medication used to treat heartworm in dogs is dangerous for cats, so if a cat becomes infected there is no treatment option available. Prevention is the only protection against heartworms in cats.

Parasites are only a risk in summer

False. While populations of fleas, ticks and mosquitoes might explode in the warmer months, the reality is that parasites are a risk all year round. These pests have even been known to survive the colder temperatures by hiding indoors, in homes or sheds where they can come into contact with your cat.

A single product can protect against all parasites

False. Sadly there’s no one product that will protect your cat against all parasites. But with the right combination, you can achieve full protection with just a couple of treatments. Your vet can help you learn which treatments can be safely used in conjunction.

Dog medication can be used on cats

False. Even if your dog and cat are the same size and suffer from the same parasites, their systems are very different. Medications used for dogs can often be fatal for cats, so it’s important you use medications only as directed.

My cat is too young to have parasites

False. Although many parasites come from the external environment, some forms of intestinal worm can be passed directly to the kitten from the mother, either through the placenta or through the mother’s milk. For this reason, it’s important that breeding females are protected with the right parasite treatment.

My cat doesn’t have worms if I can’t see any

False. Intestinal worms spend their lives inside your cat’s gut, so you will not necessarily ever see them in the faeces. Worms do expel their eggs through the faeces, but these may be too small to be seen by the human eye. Instead of looking for the worms themselves, look for symptoms such as your cat dragging its bottom, weight loss, vomiting or diarrhea. 

Side effects

Cats may experience stiff or clumped hair, or localised hair loss at the site of application, with or without inflammation. Other side effects are rare but may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, rapid breathing, drooling, muscle tremors and lethargy.

Overdosing can easily occur when giving small cats medication designed for larger cats, or due to excessive licking at the application site. Symptoms of overdose include uncoordinated movement, disorientation, dilated pupils, the inability to rise, depression, blindness and coma.

If you suspect your cat has had an overdose, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Precautions

When administering or storing Revolution for cats, it is important that you:

  • Keep the product away from flame
  • Do not smoke, eat or drink while handling the product
  • Wash hands after handling and application
  • Wash hands with soap and water immediately if the product comes into contact with your skin
  • If Revolution comes into contact with the eyes, wash immediately with water and seek medical attention
  • Do not touch your cat until the product is completely dry
  • The cat should not be allowed to sleep with humans on the day of application
  • Used applicators should be disposed of immediately
  • Store below 30°C (86°F)

Our review

There’s no single treatment that can kill all internal and external parasites on your pet, but Revolution for cats deals with the majority of those that affect cats. Revolution claims to provide month-long protection against adult fleas, flea eggs, heartworm, roundworm, ear mites and biting lice, and has been recommended by vets for years as their go-to parasite prevention for cats.

Package contents

Revolution review front of package
Front of package
Revolution review instructions in package
Instructions in package
Revolution review pipettes in package
Pipettes in package
Revolution review package
Full package

Depending on your region, your product will be labelled Revolution or Stronghold. These are simply different names for the same product, and are made by the same company.

You can see here that this packet contains six doses, but Revolution for cats is available in packets of 3, 6 or 12. Revolution doses are based on your cat’s body weight, so the packet will be a different colour depending on the size of your pet. This one is blue for cats weighing between 2.6 – 7.5 kg (5.7 – 15.5 lbs).

The back of the box should have the expiry date and the lot number. Inside the cardboard packet, the applicator pipettes are in individual blister packs, which should remain intact until you’re ready to use them. The pipettes are clear to make application easier, and have a cap that helps to open the tube.

Application

Revolution only needs to be applied in one spot, so there’s no concern about missing an area and not getting full protection. However, you do have to make sure you maintain gentle pressure on the tube as you squeeze the product out – if you release it, sometimes the liquid can be sucked back up into the applicator.

The liquid in each pipette is actually only a very small amount (0.75 ml), so the product is absorbed and dries very quickly. You can touch your cat as soon as the area is completely dry, but if you want to bathe your pet or let it get wet, you will need to wait 2 hours for the product to become waterproof (in the case of heartworm protection you should wait at least 24 hours).

Pros

  • Full-month protection against a range of internal and external parasites
  • Topical formula means the medication can’t be refused
  • Odorless and non-greasy
  • Safe for use on breeding, pregnant or lactating cats
  • Safe for use on kittens as young as 8 weeks of age

Cons

  • Cats cannot be bathed for 24 hours after application
  • May cause hair loss or irritation at the application site
  • Does not protect against tapeworm

FAQs

What dose of Revolution do I use on my cat?

The correct dose of Revolution is determined by your cat’s body weight. Revolution is available in three options: up to 5lb (2.3 kg), 5.1-15 lbs (2.4-6.8 kg) and 15.1-22 (6.9-10 kg). An entire tube should be used for each dose.

Cats over 22lbs (10 kg) should be given the appropriate combination of tubes.

How do I administer Revolution to my cat?

Holding the tube in an upright position, press down on the cap until you hear a ‘click’. Take off the cap and check that the tube has been opened.

Part your cat’s hair at the base of the neck, just in front of the shoulder blades, ensuring you can see the skin. Apply the tip of the tube directly to the exposed skin and squeeze 3-4 times in this spot until it has been emptied. Avoid getting Revolution on your fingers as you do this.

While keeping the tube squeezed, draw the tube back along the skin to empty any remaining product and lift up to remove.

Is Revolution safe for use on kittens?

Yes. Revolution has been tested as safe on kittens from 8 weeks of age. Do not administer to animals younger than this.

Can I use Revolution on pregnant cats?

Yes. Revolution has been evaluated as safe for use on breeding, pregnant and lactating females. Revolution is also safe for use with breeding males.

My cat weighs more than 22 lbs (10 kg) – what dose do they require?

For cats over 22 lbs (10 kg), you will need to apply the appropriate combination of tubes based on their body weight. For example, a cat weighing 25 lbs would need one tube for 15.1-22 lb cats, plus one tube for cats up to 5 lbs.

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Tips for a healthy cat

While using an antiparasitic treatment such as Revolution is the best way to keep your cat free of pesky parasites, maintaining their overall health can help them deal with any illnesses or conditions they may contract.

The right nutrition

Cats need both the right nutritional balance and the right feeding schedule to stay in tip top shape. They should eat a number of smaller meals throughout the day, usually morning and evening. Resist the urge to leave your cat with a large bowl of food, as this encourages binge eating.

There’s no one size fits all diet for pets, so you might want to speak to your vet about the best food for your cat’s breed and age. Many vets are now advising against too much dry food, instead suggesting a mix of wet and natural foods. Kittens will require a special diet until 6 months of age.

It’s important that your cat has access to fresh water at any time of day. You may not often see them drink it, but cats can become sick in a number of hours if they are dehydrated. Some cats don’t like bending down to drink, so if your cat is not touching their water, try a taller container such as a glass.

Make time for play

It might seem like cats sleep all day, and it’s true that they can often spend up to 20 hours a day resting, it’s still vital that they get some exercise and mental stimulation. This is particularly true for indoor cats, who do not get a change of scene – a monotonous life can even lead to your pet becoming bored and stressed. Not all cats are responsive to toys, so you might need to try a number of techniques to keep you kitty entertained and fit.

Keep things clean

Cats are known for being self-groomers, but even the cleanest of kitties needs some help from time to time. Long haired cats in particular should be brushed frequently, as this will remove shedding hairs and help to prevent hairballs.

Cleanliness is also vital when it comes to the litterbox. As well as being a health risk and a breeding ground for bacteria, a dirty litter box will be off-putting for your cat. This might result in them going elsewhere in the house, or, more dangerously, holding in their urine and potentially developing urinary tract infections or bladder problems.

Schedule a check-up

Getting your cat to the vet might seem like a serious challenge at times, but it’s important you don’t miss your regular appointments. Catching any potential issues early is often key to avoiding more serious problems, and bigger vet bills, later on. Even if your cat is trouble-free, they will still need to get their regular vaccines and to have their teeth cleaned.

Parasite protection

Regardless of your cat’s age, breed and lifestyle, they will require year-round protection from parasites. Even indoor cats can be easily exposed to fleas, worms and other parasites via an open window, another pet or even soil that’s carried in on your shoes. Heartworm was once considered a seasonal risk, but mosquitoes have been shown to survive even in winter. The only way to completely protect your cat is by the use of regular antiparasitic treatment.

User Reviews

Have you treated your cats with Revolution? Let us know how the experience was!