Frontline Plus for Cats is a cat-safe flea treatment that kills ticks as well as fleas, flea eggs and larvae -- when it works, that is. While many cat owners find this product highly effective, others complain that it doesn't work at all -- though some of these users may have fallen victim to counterfeit versions of the product. Also, while Frontline Plus seldom causes side effects in cats, it may pose some health risks to humans.
Great for some, useless for others. Both vets and users are split over the effectiveness of Frontline Plus for Cats. One veterinary hospital calls it "one of the ... most effective flea treatments available," while another says it can't recommend Frontline Plus because too many clients find it ineffective. We also looked at thousands of reviews from cat owners, and while many say this product kills fleas fast, nearly as many complain that it doesn't work. Some say the once-a-month dose doesn't last a month, and others complain that Frontline Plus used to work but no longer does. Several owners compare the product unfavorably to its top rival, Advantage II for Cats (Est. $55 for a 6-month supply) .
Possible risks for humans. Out of the thousands of reviews we consulted, only two pet owners say their cats suffered serious reactions to Frontline Plus. However, the product may pose some risk to humans. The Simple Steps website run by the Natural Resources Defense Council describes fipronil, one of the active ingredients in Frontline Plus, as a possible human carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor. However, the editors say "limited and careful use" may be necessary in areas with severe tick problems. As with any insecticide, you should follow directions to the letter when using this product, and watch your pet carefully for any harmful symptoms.
Beware of substitutes. Frontline Plus comes in single-dose plastic applicators, which you snap open and squeeze out between the pet's shoulder blades. Most cat owners had no problem with the process, though some dislike the oily spot it leaves behind. The biggest problem for users is that counterfeit versions of the product are now widespread. In fact, the company refuses to guarantee the efficacy of Frontline Plus unless it's purchased from a veterinarian. To protect yourself, buy Frontline Plus only from a vet or a reliable retailer, and check the product in the box against the pictures on Frontline's website.
We found over 3,600 reviews for Frontline Plus at this online pet pharmacy, covering both the dog and cat versions of the product. The overall rating is a lackluster 3.4 stars out of 5, and reviews from cat owners are particularly likely to say the product was not effective.
Review: Frontline Plus, Contributors to 1800PetMeds.com, As of December 2013
We found more than 1,600 user reviews for Frontline Plus for Cats at Amazon.com. Overall ratings here are mediocre -- only 3.6 stars out of 5 on average -- but many of the negative reviews are about counterfeit versions of the product.
Review: Merial Frontline Plus Flea and Tick Control for Cats and Kittens, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2013
3. All Feline Hospital
Vets at All Feline Hospital in Lincoln, Neb., say Frontline Plus for Cats is "one of the safest and most effective flea treatments," as well as the only one that safely kills ticks in cats. However, they warn that it's only guaranteed if you buy it from a veterinarian.
Review: Flea Eradication, Staff of All Feline Hospital, Not Dated
4. Mid Hudson Animal Hospital
Vets at Mid Hudson Animal Hospital in Hyde Park, N.Y., advise against using Frontline Plus for Cats. They say they "would love to recommend" Frontline Plus because it's the only cat-safe product that kills ticks, but too many of their clients complain that it's ineffective against fleas.
Review: Recommendations for Flea Control, Staff of Mid Hudson Animal Hospital, Not Dated
Frontline Plus for Cats has more than 220 reviews at Petco.com. Its overall rating is 4.2 stars out of 5, and 84 percent of cat owners recommend it. Most reviewers say it works well, but some complain that it's ineffective or that it has lost its effectiveness over time.
Review: Frontline Plus for Cats, Contributors to Petco.com, As of December 2013
6. Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital
A veterinarian at Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital recommends Frontline Plus for Cats, saying it's safe, fast and effective for at least a month. Because it kills fleas at all stages of their life cycle, the vet says it's "effective as a preventative or as treatment for an existing infestation."
Review: A Dayton, OH Veterinarian Discusses Flea Control: Taking Aim on Fleas, Staff of Twin Maples Veterinary Hospital, Sept. 5, 2013
Veterinarian Carol S. Foil describes Frontline Plus for Cats as very effective against both adult fleas and their eggs. She recommends the spot-on treatment over the spray version, which can cause negative side effects in cats.
Review: Flea Control, Carol S. Foil, Not Dated
This directory from the Natural Resources Defense Council labels Frontline Plus for Cats a moderate-risk product. The editors describe fipronil, an ingredient in Frontline Plus, as a possible human carcinogen and a suspected endocrine disruptor, but they say it may still be worth using in areas with severe tick problems.
Review: GreenPaws Flea and Tick Products Directory, Editors of SimpleSteps.org, Not Dated