Oral lufenuron is reportedly an effective treatment for some cats with dermatophytosis. The purpose of this study was to determine if lufenuron, when used as a pre-treatment prior to challenge exposure, would be protective against the development of infection after the direct topical application of fungal macrocondia (Microsporum canis spores). Three groups (n = 6/group) of juvenile cats were treated with either monthly oral lufenuron (30 or 133 mg/kg) or placebo. After 2 months of treatment, kittens were challenged using 10(5)Microsporum canis spores applied to the skin under occlusion. Cats were examined weekly and the following data collected: Wood's lamp examination; scoring for scale/crust, erythema and induration; lesion size; and the development of satellite lesions. Fungal cultures were performed bi-weekly. All cats became infected; the infections progressed, and then regressed, in a similar fashion in all groups. There were no consistent statistically significant differences in weekly infection scores between treated and untreated cats throughout the study. Treated cats did not recover faster than untreated cats. We conclude that oral lufenuron at the dosing schedule and conditions used in this study did not prevent dermatophytosis or alter the course of infection by direct topical challenge.