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Dear Christopher Cat

We’re determined to protect our indoor-outdoor cats from all the summer nuisances: fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal worms. Which product is safest?

Christopher Responds

A few products control multiple summer pests. Before we get to them, let’s review those nasty pests you mention.

Fleas and ticks are certainly annoying, and sometimes they carry disease. Heartworms, transmitted by mosquitoes, can even kill us cats.

Intestinal roundworms and hookworms can infect us when we eat grass, and they can be transmitted to you humans.
So it’s important to prevent these pests from bothering your cats.

But be careful, because any product that repels or kills pests is, by definition, toxic.

The key is to use products that, while toxic to insects, ticks and worms, are relatively safe for mammals, including cats, dogs and humans.

Fortunately, veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers have developed products that interrupt vital nerve transmission in invertebrate pests without affecting mammalian nervous systems, which function differently.

To prevent infection by all the pests you mention, you’ll need two products.

One is Interceptor, a monthly, chewable tablet that prevents heartworm, roundworm and hookworm infection. The other is Frontline, which is applied to cats’ skin monthly to prevent flea and tick infestation.

An alternative is Revolution, which prevents heartworms, roundworms, hookworms, fleas and ear mites – but not ticks – when applied to cats’ skin every month.

All of these products have been approved for use in cats.If you use any other product, make sure the package says it is safe for cats. Permethrin, pyrethrins and related insecticides are lethal to us cats.

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