You might have noticed that your cat is scratching its fur more than usual and some small creatures are falling off its skin. Your cat is most probably infected by fleas, a nightmare to your cat and you as well.
There are many ways to get rid of fleas from cats. They include methods where you use chemicals and others where no chemicals are involved. In the latter method is the use of Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas.
What is Diatomaceous earth? How does it work?
DE is a fine powder when you see it but microscopically it has sharp edges. Its mode of action is purely mechanical. The sharp edges cut the protective shells of insects and parasites hence exposing them.
When exposed the water in them evaporates and subsequently, they become dehydrated and die. DE comes in various forms, granulated DE, milled DE, and Calcine DE.
Granulated diatomaceous earth – Granulated DE is usually available as a powder and is always fit for consumption for humans and pets. For DE to be fit for consumption it must contain less than 1% crystalline silica. Granulated DE is used as the food grade.
Milled diatomaceous earth – Also called micronized DE. It is a very fine form of DE that is used in the manufacture of insecticides and pesticides.
Calcined Diatomaceous earth – This form of DE is usually heat treated and is used in water filtering and manufacture of explosives.
Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats
1. Natural dewormer
Apart from getting rid of fleas and ticks, DE can be used to eliminate roundworms, whipworms, pinworms and hookworms.
DE is non-toxic since no chemicals are used. It is safe for humans and pets and hence a suitable alternative for chemical sprays.
3. Healthy supplement
Diatomaceous earth is rich in minerals like magnesium, silicon, calcium, sodium, iron and other minerals. Feeding it to your cats keeps it healthy and gives it that good awesome look.
4. Joint problems.
DE in the cat’s diet helps in solving their joint problems and heals sore joints.
Diatomaceous Earth dosage & Ingredients for Cats
Cats come in different sizes which means that their dosages will actually be different. You can check and inquire from your veterinarian about the dosage. However, here are some general recommendations on the dosages.
- Kittens* and small cats (2-6.5 lbs)- a ½ teaspoon of food grade DE once a day in food
- Full grown cats (7-13 lbs)- 1 teaspoon of food grade DE once a day in food
- Large cats (>13 lbs)-1.5 teaspoon of food grade DE once a day in food
*Kittens- nursing kittens should not be given DE until they start taking solid foods
Safety Cautions on Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats
The following are the precautions:
- Ensure that the DE you are giving your cat is food grade. It should have less than 1% crystalline silica.
- Ensure that you mix well the food and DE. Failure to mixing well causes irritation to the lungs of the cat and you as well due to the dust.
- You can wear a face mask to avoid the inhaling of the dust and gloves to prevent your hands from drying.
- Store the DE in dry conditions. Damp conditions greatly reduce its effectiveness
Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats
Besides being used as food for cats, DE is also used to eliminate fleas. The following are the steps to be followed when using DE to eliminate fleas from your cat.
Step 1 – Identify the areas your cat likes spending its time the most. Those areas will be the places you’ll need to focus most when applying DE. Such places could be its favorite couch, the carpet or even the pillow.
Step 2– Vacuum those places where your cat likes to hang out the most. By this, you will collect any eggs that have not hatched. DE has no effect on the eggs and will wait for them to hatch so it acts.
Step 3– Sprinkle the areas with DE. Always ensure that the surfaces are dry since damp conditions reduce the effectiveness of DE. You can use an applicator of your choice. Leave the DE on the surfaces for some weeks.
Step 4- Let your cat roam around the places you have applied DE for some days and then give it a bath. Ensure that you use a soap-free moisturizing shampoo.
Step 5- Chances are the fleas will not survive the bath, vacuuming, and DE application.
Comb your cat’s fur using a flea comb just to ascertain that no flea has been left. Do that for several days.
Step 6- Vacuum those places you had applied to DE. The recommended vacuum cleaner is the shop vac since DE might ruin the traditional filtered vacuums.
Diatomaceous earth is used as food and powder coating to eliminate fleas and worms and that is literally killing two birds with one stone. It is also a chemical-free method which ensures the safety of the cat, the owner, and the environment.
- Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control – Riversonvet
- General Fact Sheet – Diatomaceous Earth
- Insecticidal efficacy of diatomaceous earth on Sitophilus oryzae – Semantic SCholar
- Amorphous diatomaceous earth on product pests – NCBI