There are some really interesting and effective uses for diatomaceous earth for cats (and other pets like dogs).
If you’re not familiar with diatomaceous earth, don’t worry I’ve been using it for years and can explain everything you need to know about this natural and alternative solution to flea and tick problems.
Personally, I’ve found it very effective at killing fleas, ticks, and worms in and around my home and on my cats. Which is one of the main uses of D.E.
It’s an interesting product with some other applications too, however, as I’ll cover for you in this article.
So, please keep reading for everything you need to know about what diatomaceous earth is exactly. How to use it, where to buy food grade (the safe to ingest stuff) diatomaceous earth, and some of the uses for it around your home and pets.
What Is Diatomaceous Earth?
I was surprised how D.E is made when I did some research into it. It’s actually made over a long period of time from the fossilized remains of little aquatic organisms called diatoms.
Being aquatic, these little creatures die and accumulate in the sediment left behind where water once flowed.
The substance left behind by their skeletons is called silica. The good news is that due to how quickly the little organisms go through their life cycles there is no shortage of silica, and it’s a very useful substance!
You’re not going to find any in your garden or surrounding areas. But it’s readily available, which means it’s not too expensive which is a huge plus.
Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for Cats
This is the brand of diatomaceous earth I’ve been using with my cats and I’ve been really happy with it.
It’s 100% freshwater diatomaceous earth and certified as food grade which is the important part. This means you can use it as directed below in your cat’s food. As well as not worry about them ingesting some when you’re using it in their fur.
It comes in a fine consistency and ready to dust or sprinkle on the areas you’re treating or your pet.
Why Is Diatomaceous Earth Used to Kill Fleas and Ticks?
Basically, diatomaceous earth works by drying out insects. It absorbs oils and fats from the cuticle of an insect’s exoskeleton, which causes them to die within hours of being exposed to the earth.
As long as the earth is kept dry and in areas where flea frequent, it’s very effective at killing all the insects that come into contact with it for several days.
While not poisonous, it’s advisable you act with caution when using D.E. Wear gloves, a face mask, and other protective gear so you don’t come into direct contact with it or breathe it in.
It’s also very abrasive. It has very sharp edges and causes little insects some serious problems. Although it’s far too small for us to feel, I can’t feel anything when rubbing it in my fingers.
Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats
I’ve used diatomaceous earth for fleas on my cats over the years and can confirm that it kills fleas, and quickly.
What I like best about D.E is that it’s a natural alternative to pippets and sprays. I still use a Seresto collar to keep fleas and ticks away long-term, but that’s about it.
Step 1 – Get Busy with the Vacuum
Give all these areas you’ll be treating with D.E a good vacuum. You’re doing this to pick up and eliminate as many eggs as possible. Some of which are hardly visible to the naked eye.
Diatomaceous earth only kills live fleas, not their eggs. So it’s vital you clean the areas thoroughly before applying the soil.
Step 2 – Locate the Problem Areas in Your Home
I’ve always seemed to have more problems with fleas in my home, my nice rugs, furniture, and so on, than my cats. But either way, one is a problem for the other so both cat and furniture need to be treated.
Diatomaceous earth gets the job done on materials just as good as cats themselves. You have to kill them wherever they may be hiding out, so you’ll have to treat all the spots your cat frequents.
Step 3 – Dust with Diatomaceous Earth
Shake, dust, spread, however you want to apply the earth, make sure you cover the areas well that you suspect fleas have been hiding out.
Leave it for 5-7 days to really work its magic and move onto the next step while you’re waiting.
It’s a long time to wait, but there is almost no chance fleas will remain alive with the earth covering their hideouts for this period of time so it’s worth it.
Step 4 – Treating Your Cat with Diatomaceous Earth
I’ve read a lot of different methods cat owners use to treat fleas on their cats with D.E. With leaving it in for various durations, where they apply it, and so on.
I can tell you what I do, and it’s always worked just fine. I lightly dust down my cat’s back from their neck to tail, gently rubbing it is so it works into their skin and doesn’t just sit on their hair or fall off.
When doing this, please be very careful to ensure no earth comes into contact with their eyes, nose, or any other sensitive areas.
As I’ve already mentioned, make sure you’re using food grade earth. Almost all cats are going to lick and groom the areas you’ve treated, so they are going to ingest some.
The product I’ve featured from Amazon on this page is the one I use. It’s perfectly safe for cats to digest a little.
Having earth rubbed into their coat’s can irritate some cats. It can also dry out their skin if left in too long. So keep a close eye on them the first time you’re using it.
How Much Diatomaceous Earth Should You Use for Cats?
There is no exact science to how much D.E you need to use. The main factor is going to be how bad your flea problem is, particularly in your home.
I dust the areas with a thin layer of the earth and this always seemed to work perfectly. The main thing is to make sure it stays dry and undisturbed until it’s ready to be vacuumed up.
In regard to how much you’re applying to your cat, my best advice is to use a small amount of first and always err on the side of caution.
I asked my vet how much I should use to get a professional opinion and he said, “Just a light dusting should be fine.”
As long as you’re using the food grade earth in small amounts and it’s not irritating your cat, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.
Remember, D.E doesn’t work like spot-on treatments and other chemical-based products. It doesn’t enter your cat’s bloodstream and work through the body.
It dries out the fleas that come into contact with it. This makes it a lot safer, easier to work with, and gives you some room for trial and error.
So, while I haven’t given you an exact answer. This is what I’ve been doing and it’s been working out just fine. Happy to hear any feedback if you’ve had different results.
How Often Should I Apply Diatomaceous Earth to My Cat
When it’s the peak of summer and the fleas are back I usually apply diatomaceous earth to my cats twice a week and leave it in their fur for 2-3 days a time.
Within a month, so 7-8 treatments, I usually find that all signs of fleas are gone. This is because it generally takes a couple of days to catch fleas, and repeating the cycles catch new fleas and eggs that have hatched.
I’ve not noticed any side effects to applying the earth this often. I can tell it’s dry and obviously, cats aren’t best happy at this being applied to them. But it works, and I prefer it over chemical flea sprays and pippets.
Diatomaceous Earth Cat Litter: Safe and Effective Alternative
Diatomaceous earth has been used in cat litters in varying amounts for a long time, it’s not a new concept. However, there are few brands on the market that produces a diatomaceous earth litter.
Blue Ribbon manufacture a D.E litter, and it has some decent benefits over some of the traditional litters. It’s certainly a lot better than clay-based litters in my opinion.
Blue Ribbon D.E. Premium Cat Litter
Some of the key features of D.E litter include:
- Highly absorbent (absorbs 1.5 times its weight in moisture).
- Odor control (very effective at containing odors).
- Nice natural smell and minimal dust.
- Kills fleas, ticks, lice, and prevents roundworm, tapeworm, and hookworm larvae from developing.
- 100% Natural.
If you’re interested in D.E and the positive health and wellness benefits it offers as well as being a natural alternative to clay-based litters I recommend taking a closer look.
How Much Diatomaceous Earth to Feed to a Cat?
I will freely admit that I’ve not fed diatomaceous earth to my cats before, I’ve not needed to. Using it on their fur and bedding areas directly has always put a stop to fleas.
I know people do feed the food grade Diatomaceous earth to their cats, however. And it’s effective at killing worms, fleas, improving their digestive system, and so on.
Firstly, my advice is to speak with your vet before going ahead and adding any D.E to your cat’s food.
It’s always worth checking with a professional before proceeding in case there are any exceptions that apply to your cat.
When you have the go-ahead, as a rough guide I found the following information regarding dosage amounts to feed cats:
|Cat Weight||Amount of Diatomaceous Earth|
|2-6 lbs||Half a tsp|
|7-13 lbs||1 tsp|
|13+ lbs||1.5 tsp|
Diatomaceous Earth Side Effects in Cats
Like anything you are administering to your cat, there are risks associated. The main risks with diatomaceous earth and cats are using too much. Either digesting it or applying it topically.
If you stay within the recommended dosage amount and only act under direction from your vet or a pet healthcare professional there are very few side effects to be concerned about.
D.E kills insects because it’s very abrasive and dries out their exoskeletons. So, it can irritate a cat’s skin and dry it out too which is another concern.
This is why I recommend using a very small amount the first time. If your cat is going to have an allergic reaction you’ll see this from a small sample.
I mentioned above to avoid allowing D.E to come into contact with any sensitive areas, such as the nose, ears, eyes, etc.
If it does, wash it off right away. It can be incredibly irritating, especially if it gets into a cat’s eye as it will start drying their eye out.
The same applies when adding D.E to your cat’s food. Keep a close eye on them after the first does for any side effects like vomiting, upset tummy etc.
It’s known that very little of the product is absorbed into the body when digested, and what is digested is quickly excreted too.
I’ve spoken with a couple of cat owners who have fed it to their cats and they said they didn’t notice anything different regarding how their cats reacted to the food. Just less fleas, which is a good thing.
Have you used diatomaceous earth for cats or any other pet? If so, I’d love to hear about it, just leave a comment below to help the rest of the community. Thanks.