Is It Safe To Put Diatomaceous Earth On Cats?

Are you a cat owner who’s concerned about your furry friend’s health and happiness? As much as we love our cats, they’re prone to encountering pests that can pose a threat to their well-being. Fleas, ticks, and mites are common problems that can make any cat owner feel helpless. That’s why many pet owners are turning to natural remedies like diatomaceous earth (DE) to combat these pesky insects. But is it safe to put diatomaceous earth on cats?

For those who don’t know, DE is a powdery substance made from fossilized plankton. It’s widely used in gardens and farms as a natural pesticide, and its popularity has spilled over to pet care. Many pet owners swear by it as an effective way to get rid of fleas, ticks, and other harmful insects that can harm their pets.

But here’s the big question: Is it safe for cats? We all know how sensitive cats can be to various chemicals and substances. Using the wrong product could spell disaster for your beloved feline friend. In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of using diatomaceous earth on cats, examine the potential risks versus benefits, and provide some tips on how to use it safely.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of whether diatomaceous earth is a viable option for your cat’s bug problems. So let’s dive in.

Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth on Cats

Keeping them free from pests like fleas and ticks is essential to their health and happiness. But when it comes to treatments, many pet owners worry about the harsh chemicals that are often used in traditional flea treatments. That’s why diatomaceous earth (DE) is becoming increasingly popular among cat owners as a natural and safe alternative for pest control.

DE is a fine powder made from fossilized algae, which works by cutting the exoskeleton of fleas, ticks, and other pests, leading to their death. But that’s not all – there are plenty of benefits of using DE on cats.

Firstly, DE is an all-natural product that doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals that could potentially harm your cat. This makes it a safer option than traditional treatments that can pose a risk of toxicity or adverse reactions.

Secondly, applying DE on cats is easy and convenient. The powder can be sprinkled directly onto your cat’s fur or added to their food. And because only a small amount is needed, it’s also cost-effective, making it a budget-friendly option for pet owners.

But the benefits of DE don’t stop there. It can also promote your cat’s overall health and well-being. DE helps improve digestion by removing toxins and harmful bacteria from their digestive system. Additionally, DE contains essential minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and silica that maintain healthy skin, coat, and bones.

However, it’s important to use caution when applying DE on cats. You should not apply it directly onto your cat’s fur or skin as they may inhale it. Instead, sprinkle it onto their bedding or other areas where fleas may be present. It’s also recommended to limit your cat’s access to the area where DE has been applied until it has settled.

Risks of Using Diatomaceous Earth on Cats

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural, non-toxic alternative to traditional treatments that can help eliminate these pests. However, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with using DE on cats.

The inhalation of fine particles of DE poses one of the most significant risks when using this product on cats. When these particles become airborne, they can be easily inhaled by both cats and their owners, leading to irritation of the lungs and respiratory tract. If large amounts are inhaled, it can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Another potential risk is related to digestive problems. If your furry friend ingests DE while licking their fur or accidentally consuming it from their food or water bowl, it can lead to irritation in the digestive tract. This may result in vomiting, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues.

It’s important to note that some cats may be more sensitive to DE than others, especially those with pre-existing respiratory or digestive conditions. Hence, it is crucial for cat owners to consult with their veterinarian before using any new products on their pets, including diatomaceous earth.

To safely use DE as part of your cat’s pest control routine, take proper precautions such as using a food-grade product and limiting exposure to airborne particles. This includes wearing protective gear when applying DE and vacuuming up any excess powder after use. Remember to consult with your veterinarian before trying any new products on your furry friend.

How to Apply Diatomaceous Earth to Cats Properly

If you’re considering using diatomaceous earth (DE) to control fleas on your cat, it’s important to know how to apply it properly. Here are some detailed steps to follow:

Use food-grade DE

Before applying DE to your cat, make sure you are using food-grade DE that is specifically labeled as safe for use on animals. This type of DE is processed differently than industrial-grade DE and is free from harmful chemicals or additives.

Is It Safe To Put Diatomaceous Earth On Cats-2

Conduct a patch test

Conduct a patch test on a small area of your cat’s skin to make sure they are not allergic or sensitive to the DE. If your cat has a negative reaction, do not proceed with the application.

Apply the DE evenly

Use a fine-mesh sifter or shaker to evenly distribute the powder throughout your cat’s fur. Avoid applying DE directly onto their face, as this can irritate their eyes and respiratory system. Instead, apply the powder onto your hands and gently rub it onto their face, avoiding the eyes and nose.

Wait until your cat’s fur is dry

Do not apply DE to wet fur, as it will clump together and become less effective. Wait until your cat’s coat is completely dry before applying the powder.

Monitor your cat closely

Is It Safe To Put Diatomaceous Earth On Cats-3

After applying DE to your cat, monitor them closely for any signs of irritation or discomfort. If they begin to show any unusual symptoms, stop using the DE immediately and consult with your veterinarian.

It’s important to note that DE should not be used as the sole method of flea or tick control for your cat. While it can help prevent infestations, it may not be effective in treating existing infestations. Talk to your veterinarian about other safe and effective methods for flea and tick control.

Alternatives to Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control

While diatomaceous earth is a popular choice for flea control, it’s not the only option available. Let’s explore some safe alternatives to diatomaceous earth for flea control that you can consider.

Flea Combs:

Flea combs are a simple and effective alternative to diatomaceous earth. These combs are designed to remove fleas, flea eggs, and flea dirt from your cat’s coat. They don’t require any chemicals or powders, making them a safe choice for your pet. Regular use of a flea comb can help control the flea population on your cat.

Natural Flea Sprays:

If you prefer a natural approach, natural flea sprays may be the way to go. These sprays are made with essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella, which are natural repellents for fleas. They are safe for cats and can be sprayed directly on their fur. However, it’s important to test on a small area first as some cats may have a sensitivity to essential oils.


Another alternative to diatomaceous earth is using nematodes. These microscopic worms feed on flea larvae in the soil and can help reduce the overall flea population in your environment. Although this method doesn’t directly affect fleas on your cat, it can still be an effective way to control the overall flea population in your home.

Prescription Flea Treatments:

For more severe cases of fleas, prescription flea treatments may be necessary. Topical solutions or oral medications can be highly effective in controlling fleas on cats, but should only be administered under the guidance of a veterinarian as they can have potential side effects.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Safe While Using Diatomaceous Earth

While there are several products on the market that can help control fleas, some pet owners prefer natural alternatives like diatomaceous earth. However, it is crucial to follow certain precautions when using diatomaceous earth on your cat to keep them safe.

Use food-grade diatomaceous earth

The first and most crucial tip is to use only food-grade diatomaceous earth when applying it to your cat. This type of diatomaceous earth is specifically designed for consumption and does not contain any harmful chemicals or additives.

Apply in a well-ventilated area

When applying diatomaceous earth on your cat, make sure you do it in a well-ventilated area to prevent your cat from inhaling the powder. Inhaling the dust can cause respiratory issues in cats.

Avoid contact with eyes and nose

Keep the powder away from your cat’s eyes and nose as it can cause discomfort and irritation. If necessary, use a damp cloth to wipe away any powder that may have come into contact with these areas.

Monitor your cat closely

After applying diatomaceous earth on your cat, keep a close eye on them for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions. Some cats may develop skin irritation or excessive scratching after application.

Keep your cat away from treated areas

It is recommended that you keep your cat away from any areas where you have applied diatomaceous earth until the powder has settled. This can help prevent your cat from inhaling the dust or getting it on their paws and ingesting it when they lick themselves clean.

What to Do if Your Cat Ingests or Inhales Diatomaceous Earth

If your cat ingests or inhales DE, you must take immediate action to prevent any harm.

Ingestion of DE can cause irritation to your cat’s mouth and throat, leading to coughing, gagging, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. In severe cases, it may even result in gastrointestinal blockages. If you notice any of these symptoms or if your cat has ingested a large amount of DE, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Inhalation of DE can cause respiratory issues like coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. It can even lead to lung damage and respiratory failure in severe cases. If you suspect that your cat has inhaled DE, remove them from the area right away and seek veterinary care immediately.

Prevention is key to avoid future incidents. Keep DE out of reach of your pets and follow proper usage guidelines. Instead of applying it directly to your cat’s fur or skin, sprinkle it onto their bedding or other areas where fleas may be present. Additionally, wear gloves and protective eyewear when handling DE to avoid skin irritation or inhalation.

If an incident occurs, act quickly and consult with your veterinarian before using any new products on your pet. Your veterinarian may induce vomiting or prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms. They may also administer oxygen therapy if necessary for respiratory issues.

Is There a Difference Between Food Grade and Non-Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

First things first, diatomaceous earth is a natural substance made up of fossilized diatoms that has a wide range of uses. However, not all DE is created equal. There are two main types: food-grade and non-food grade.

Food-grade diatomaceous earth is the type that’s considered safe for consumption by both humans and animals. It undergoes a rigorous purification process to remove any impurities that could be harmful, making it safe for ingestion or topical application. Moreover, it’s typically rich in silica, which offers numerous health benefits that promote joint health, skin, and hair.

On the flip side, non-food grade diatomaceous earth is intended for industrial use and may contain higher levels of impurities like heavy metals or crystalline silica. This type of DE is not safe for consumption by anyone, including your beloved pet.

Here’s why it’s so critical to use food-grade diatomaceous earth on your cat: non-food grade DE can cause severe harm to your pet’s health. When ingested or inhaled, it can lead to irritation or even respiratory failure. That’s why it’s essential to read labels carefully and select products that have been specifically formulated for animal use.

When shopping for DE products, remember to look for labels that indicate they’re safe for animal use. Using non-food grade DE on your cat simply isn’t worth the risk of causing harm or endangering their health.

What Are the Signs of Respiratory Issues in Cats Caused by Inhaling DE?

While natural pest control methods like diatomaceous earth (DE) may seem like an excellent option, it’s important to understand the potential risks associated with using it on your cat. One of the most significant concerns when it comes to using DE on cats is the respiratory issues that can arise from inhaling the fine powder.

When cats inhale DE, it can irritate their respiratory system, causing a range of symptoms. These symptoms can range from mild to severe, and it’s crucial for pet owners to be aware of them.

Some common signs of respiratory issues in cats caused by inhaling DE include:

  • Coughing: If your cat is coughing frequently or has a persistent dry cough, they may have inhaled DE. Sneezing and runny noses are also possible symptoms.
  • Wheezing: Cats may make a high-pitched whistling sound when breathing if they’ve inhaled DE.
  • Difficulty breathing: If your cat is struggling to breathe or seems to be breathing heavily, it’s crucial to seek veterinary care immediately.
  • Lethargy: Cats may seem more tired than usual or have a decreased appetite if they’re experiencing respiratory issues caused by inhaling DE.

In severe cases, DE inhalation can cause inflammation and damage to the lungs. Therefore, it’s essential for cat owners to seek veterinary care immediately if they suspect their cat has inhaled DE.

If you’re concerned about your feline friend’s health, talk to your veterinarian about safe alternatives to DE for flea and tick prevention. There are plenty of safe and effective options available that won’t put your cat’s health at risk.


In conclusion, diatomaceous earth (DE) can be a valuable tool for flea and tick control on cats, but it’s important to use it safely. DE has several benefits, including being all-natural, easy to apply, and cost-effective. However, there are also potential risks associated with using DE on cats, such as respiratory and digestive issues.

To ensure the safe use of DE on your cat, always use food-grade DE in a well-ventilated area. Avoid contact with your pet’s eyes and nose, closely monitor them for any adverse reactions or discomforts, and keep them away from treated areas until the powder has settled.

Remember that there are also safe alternatives to DE for flea control such as flea combs, natural flea sprays made with essential oils, nematodes that feed on flea larvae in the soil to reduce overall flea population in your environment and prescription flea treatments.

It’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before trying any new products on your pet. Prevention is key when it comes to avoiding future incidents. Keep DE out of reach of your pets and follow proper usage guidelines.