Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe For Cats And How Much To Put For Fleas

image of Diatomaceous Earth

We all hate fleas. And ticks and bedbugs and ants and all the creepy, crawly, bitey things! Your cat hates them too! No one likes the idea of something crawling all over them and drinking their blood.

And your cat does not want ants crawling away with her food.

Poisons are not always effective because the wriggly little beasts evolve immunity to them so fast it would make Darwin weep trying to keep up!

What’s more, the poison may harm your cat more than it does the bugs.

Could there be some way to get rid of insects effectively without handling poison? The answer could be diatomaceous earth.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

image of live diatoms

Image of live Diatoms in Antarctica

Sad to say (or happy to say, depending on how you look at it) the events of Jurassic Park are complete science fiction and really could not ever happen. However, there is something useful that fossils can do! Diatomaceous earth is so named because it is made from the fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms which are extremely tiny.

Over the millennia these organisms gradually built up in the dirt of streams, rivers, lakes, and even the briny oceans. These minute creatures’ skeletons are made out of silica. Upon fossilization, the silica reacted chemically when exposed to oxygen and water to become silicon dioxide. Diatomaceous earth can be mined from beneath lakes or anywhere that water used to be.

Diatomaceous earth (also known as DE) resembles a fine white or off-white powder. It is an inert substance that does not react with many chemicals, though water reduces its effectiveness. It’s available at most pet stores, home improvement and gardening stores and many multipurpose department stores.

There is food grade DE and there is a type that isn’t safe for consumption. Remember to read the label carefully! It is only really dangerous if constantly inhaled so use precautions such as a dust mask around it.

Because DE is non-toxic, the environmentally conscious consumer can rest easy knowing this is a green product. Natural soil, rocks, clay and sand are largely made up of silicon to start with so a little extra is not a problem. It does not emit noxious vapors or harm wildlife in any way.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses for Cats

image of a feline

Sure, this stuff gets rid of all the crawly, bitey things but did you know it can also work on intestinal worms? Some people have found it makes effective kitty litter as well. When taken internally, it has the happy side effect of stronger nails and thicker hair.

How Does Diatomaceous Earth Work?

Let us consult the Book of Armaments, chapter two, verses nine through thirty-one. And Saint Orkon raised the diatomaceous earth up on high, saying “O Lord, bless this Thy pest control that with it, Thou mayest shred the insect to tiny pieces, leaving them to dehydrate in agony in Thy mercy” And the Lord did grin and the cats did feast upon the lamb and chicken and salmon and anchovies….

In all seriousness, what happens is the glasslike silica shards cut through an insect’s waxy exoskeleton. The glass edges are microscopic and thus harmless to anything bigger than a bedbug. Damaging the exoskeleton causes the insect to dry out and being icky in Thy sight, shall snuff it.

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

image of a flea bug

To start with, only use food grade DE for flea control. There is pool grade DE that is used for charcoal filters and swimming pools but it is not safe for consumption by humans or animals. You should use kitchen or garden gloves while handling it as DE can dry your skin out very quickly. (Not dangerous, just very irritating.)

Sprinkle the DE liberally on carpets, bedding, soft furniture and anywhere you believe might have fleas. Leave it for three days then vacuum. Repeat this every week for thirty days. This will ensure that the eggs and larvae are destroyed with the adult fleas.

Diatomaceous Earth for Cats Worms

Feeding the DE to a cat will not do anything about external parasites but it may kill the internal parasites. One woman reviewer on Amazon suggests stirring a spoonful into a glass of cranberry juice to clear up a yeast infection. Your cat may not like cranberry juice, so you may have to try their food or a favorite treat.

If Kitty prefers dry food, just shake the DE up inside the bag until it’s evenly coated. Take note of the number of servings in the bag and multiply that by how much of a dosage your cat needs.

Is It Safe For Cats To Eat it?

Yes, for the most part. Kittens that are still nursing or weigh less than two pounds should probably not be exposed to DE. A cat that weighs between two and six and a half pounds can safely eat a half teaspoon of food grade DE with every meal. Cats that weigh more than that but less than thirteen pounds can have a teaspoonful with every meal.

Large cats that weigh over thirteen pounds will find one and a half teaspoon to be the safest and most effective dosage. It should pass through your cat’s system harming nothing but the internal parasites the worms. DE is safe to eat with most supplements but consult with a veterinarian if your cat is on any sort of medication.

Diatomaceous Earth Cat Litter

image of a cat looking in her litterbox

Some pet parents like to use it as an all-natural cat litter. Cats like the silky soft texture and pet owners like how it absorbs odors. It also clumps up, making cleaning easier. Follow these steps when using diatomaceous earth.

  • After you have cleaned out the litter box add the new kitty litter.
  • For every pound of litter you add to the box you must ad three quarters of a cup of DE. Evenly distribute this throughout the litter.
  • Repeat every time you change the litter.

Please remember that diatomaceous earth can clog your toilet so do not flush it. The only other drawback is Kitty might find it so comfortable she might not want to leave! There is another article on that.

Pros and Cons of Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and when used in conjunction with typical cleaning and yard upkeep makes for effective insect control and flea treatment. It is safe to use on pet bedding. Residual or lingering issues will not be a problem. Insects will never develop immunity to it because it kills physically rather than chemically.

Your cat may like using it as litter as it is a fine and silky powder like talc or flour. However, like talc or flour it can make a bit of a dusty mess that can irritate the eyes and throat.

Though food grade diatomaceous earth is safe to ingest, it is best to wear a mask when using it. It is not dangerous to handle, but it is very drying so you might want to put on some gloves first or have some lotion on stand by.

DE works best when dry. Wetting it down to make a spray nullifies it and it does not work well in humid environments. Use caution when applying it to a pet, keeping it away from the eyes, mouth and nose. Do not use it around open wounds or sores.

The pet should be shampooed within twelve hours followed by a conditioner. Once Kitty is dry, give her a good combing to get rid of dead bugs and eggs. Keep this regimen going for at least two weeks in order to kill all of the bugs and complete the flea treatment.

Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade Review

Customers who have used this natural remedy seem very happy with it. Diatomaceous earth touts itself as a health supplement, stain remover, exfoliant, deodorizer and food preserver among other uses. This diatomaceous earth was mined from freshwater mines with purity and cleanliness foremost in mind.

DiatomaceousEarth DE10 FGDE10 Food Grade diatomaceous Earth, 10 Lb
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Last update on 2019-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The paper bag it comes in can be folded to keep the product pure. No additives or contaminants are guaranteed.

It has also been certified independently by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) for utilization in certified organic production, processing and handling.

How to store diatomaceous earth

Diatomaceous Earth does not expire but it does need to be kept in a dry environment to keep its effectiveness. It does not need to be refrigerated, though it can be stored in a refrigerator if kept dry. It may absorb food odors.

It may be stored in a plastic container if it is airtight. As long as the DE is kept free of contaminants it should last indefinitely.

Conclusion

Diatomaceous earth can be used for a lot of handy things. Where your cat is concerned it can destroy and kill both internal and external parasites. It makes a great additive to kitty litter. Plus, the only “side effect” your cat may experience is a fluffier coat and stronger claws.

It doesn’t stain, though vacuuming is the only effective way to clean it up. It is easy to store and as long as it is kept dry it keeps forever. After all, it’s a fossil! What could a year or so more do to it?

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  • August 8, 2019
Mary Nielsen
 

A huge animal lover, born and raised around dogs, cats, chickens... Self-educated pet care nerd. Currently parent of three adopted cats and one small mutt. Animal adoption advocate. Loves a good book (about animals) and playing the piano.