What if My Cat Licks Revolution: Essential Facts Every Pet Owner Must Know

If you are a cat owner, you probably know how important it is to protect your furry friend from parasites, such as fleas, ticks, worms, and heartworms. These pests can cause a lot of discomfort, irritation, and health problems for your cat, and some of them can even be transmitted to you or other pets in your household.

One of the most popular and effective ways to prevent and treat these parasites is to use a topical medication called Revolution. Revolution is a liquid solution that you apply to your cat’s skin once a month, and it works by killing the parasites or preventing them from reproducing.

But what if your cat decides to lick the spot where you applied Revolution? Is it safe or harmful for your feline friend? In this article, we will answer these questions and more.

What is Revolution and How Does it Work?

Revolution is a brand name for a medication that contains selamectin, an antiparasiticide that affects the nervous system of pests. Selamectin works by enhancing the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA, which inhibits nerve conduction in certain parasitic worms and arthropods (such as fleas). By doing so, selamectin causes paralysis and death of the parasites it targets.

Revolution is available as two prescription products: Revolution for cats and Revolution Plus for cats. The main difference between them is that Revolution Plus contains an additional ingredient, sarolaner, which is an acaricide/insecticide that also inhibits GABA, leading to neuromuscular overstimulation and death of the parasites it targets.

The addition of sarolaner broadens the spectrum of action of Revolution Plus to include more ticks and worms than the original Revolution for cats.

To use Revolution, you need to apply it to your cat’s skin once a month, following the directions on the label or as provided by your veterinarian. You should apply the full contents of the product applicator to one location on the skin between the shoulder blades in dogs and at the base of the neck in cats.

You should part the fur and make sure that the skin is dry before applying Revolution. After application, you may notice some stiff or clumping hair, hair discoloration, or a powdery residue at the application site. These are normal and do not affect the efficacy of the product.

Benefits and Risks of Revolution

Revolution has many benefits for your cat’s health and well-being. It can protect your cat from:

  • Flea infestations: Revolution kills adult fleas and prevents flea eggs from hatching for a full month. This helps to break the flea life cycle and reduce the risk of flea allergy dermatitis, tapeworm infection, anemia, and other complications caused by fleas.
  • Tick infestations: Revolution Plus kills three types of ticks that can affect cats: the American dog tick, the black-legged/deer tick, and the Gulf Coast tick. These ticks can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and cytauxzoonosis to your cat.
  • Intestinal worms: Revolution treats and controls roundworms and hookworms in cats. These worms can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, anemia, and other problems in your cat. They can also infect humans through contact with contaminated soil or feces.
  • Ear mites: Revolution treats and controls ear mites in cats. Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal and cause itching, inflammation, discharge, and ear infections in your cat.
  • Heartworms: Revolution prevents heartworm disease in cats. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and live in the blood vessels of the heart and lungs. They can cause coughing, breathing difficulties, heart failure, and even death in your cat.

As with any medication, Revolution may also have some risks or side effects for your cat. Some of the possible side effects include:

  • Irritation at the application site: Some cats may experience redness, itching, swelling, or pain at the spot where you applied Revolution. This usually goes away within a few days and does not require treatment.
  • Hair loss: Some cats may lose some hair at the application site or around it. This is usually temporary and does not affect the health of your cat.
  • Vomiting: Some cats may vomit after ingesting some of the medication from licking or grooming themselves or another treated pet. This is usually mild and self-limiting and does not require treatment.
  • Diarrhea: Some cats may have loose stools after using Revolution. This is usually mild and self-limiting and does not require treatment.
  • Lethargy: Some cats may become less active or sleepy after using Revolution. This is usually mild and transient and does not require treatment.
  • Loss of appetite: Some cats may eat less or show no interest in food after using Revolution. This is usually mild and transient and does not require treatment.
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Revolution is generally safe and well-tolerated by most cats, but some may have allergic reactions or sensitivities to the ingredients. These reactions may include hives, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, or shock. If you notice any of these signs in your cat, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.

Before using Revolution, you should consult your veterinarian and make sure that your cat does not have any health conditions or is taking any other medications that may interact with Revolution. You should also make sure that your cat is at least 8 weeks old and weighs at least 2.8 pounds for Revolution Plus or 5 pounds for Revolution for cats.

What if My Cat Licks Revolution?

Some cats may be curious or try to groom themselves or another treated pet after you apply Revolution. This may result in them licking the spot where you applied the medication. What may happen if your cat licks Revolution?

The most likely outcome is that your cat will ingest some of the medication and experience some oral irritation or salivation. This is because Revolution has a bitter taste and may cause a burning sensation in the mouth. Your cat may also vomit some of the medication or show signs of nausea. These effects are usually mild and self-limiting and do not require treatment.

However, in rare cases, your cat may ingest a large amount of the medication and show signs of toxicity. These signs may include tremors, seizures, ataxia (loss of coordination), depression, or coma. These effects are serious and require immediate veterinary attention.

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The good news is that licking Revolution is unlikely to cause serious harm to your cat, as the medication is designed to be absorbed through the skin and not through the mouth or stomach. The amount of medication that your cat can lick off is usually very small and below the toxic level. Moreover, the medication is metabolized quickly by the liver and excreted by the kidneys, so it does not accumulate in the body.

However, to prevent or minimize licking, you can try some of these tips:

  • Distract your cat with toys or treats after applying Revolution. This will keep them busy and away from the application site.
  • Apply Revolution when your cat is sleepy or relaxed. This will reduce their tendency to groom themselves or move around.
  • Use a cone or collar to limit access to the application site. This will prevent your cat from reaching the spot where you applied the medication.
  • Monitor your cat for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions after applying Revolution. If you notice anything unusual or concerning, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.

How to treat Revolution toxicity in cats?

The treatment for Revolution toxicity in cats depends on the severity of the symptoms and the amount of product ingested. Some of the possible treatments include:

  • Supportive care such as fluids, anti-nausea medication, anti-seizure medication, or activated charcoal to help your cat eliminate the product and reduce the symptoms.
  • Gastric lavage or stomach pumping to remove any remaining product from the stomach. This is usually done under anesthesia and only if the ingestion occurred within a few hours.
  • Blood tests or urine tests to check for any organ damage or electrolyte imbalance caused by the toxicity.
  • Symptomatic treatment such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medication, or pain medication to address any secondary complications such as infection, inflammation, or pain.
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Most cats recover from Revolution toxicity within 24 to 48 hours with proper treatment and care. However, some cats may develop long-term or permanent effects such as liver damage, kidney damage, or neurological damage. Therefore, it is important to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible if your cat licks Revolution.


Is it safe if my cat licks Revolution?

While Revolution is generally safe, ingesting large amounts may cause mild gastrointestinal issues. Monitor your cat, and if you notice any unusual behavior, consult your veterinarian.

How can I prevent my cat from licking Revolution?

To minimize licking, apply Revolution between the shoulder blades where it’s harder for your cat to reach. Also, distracting your cat with playtime or treats after application can be helpful.

Can I use Revolution on kittens, and is it safe if they lick it?

Revolution is generally safe for kittens over 8 weeks old. While licking in small amounts is less concerning for kittens, monitor them closely after application.

Should I be worried about interactions between Revolution and other medications my cat takes?

In general, Revolution is safe to use with most medications. However, it’s essential to inform your veterinarian about any other treatments your cat is receiving to avoid potential interactions.


Revolution is a safe and effective product for cats that protects them from various pests and parasites. However, it can be harmful if your cat licks it. To prevent this from happening, you should apply it correctly and carefully, and keep your cat away from other pets or children until it dries.

If your cat licks Revolution, you should wipe off any excess product, offer them some water or wet food, and contact your veterinarian or an animal poison control center for advice. With prompt and proper treatment, most cats recover from Revolution toxicity without any lasting consequences.

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