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How To Apply Diatomaceous Earth To Cats – What To Know!

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Almost every cat owner has heard the dreaded story of someone who had a flea infestation. Cat owners are always looking for the best, and usually fastest, way to kill fleas before they become a problem. You may have learned about Diatomaceous earth for cats and decided to give it a try. As you start researching what to buy, you may have found yourself asking this: How do I apply Diatomaceous earth to cats?

Veterinarians generally recommend not to apply Diatomaceous earth to cats. Cats can, however, eat products with food-grade Diatomaceous earth in them. Pure Diatomaceous earth can be harmful to cats. 

Diatomaceous earth comes as an ingredient in many different types of products, which means that you have options for this. You may apply one product directly to your carpets while another is safe enough for your cat to eat. If you want to learn more about this potentially new kind of product, keep on reading to start to understand! 

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Can I Put Diatomaceous Earth Directly On My Cat

It would help if you did not put Diatomaceous earth directly on your cat.

There are many products on the market with Diatomaceous earth in the product. You might find it strange that there are edible products with Diatomaceous earth in them when it is dangerous to put Diatomaceous earth on your cat. 

Diatomaceous earth as an ingredient in a product is different than 100% Diatomaceous earth. Pure Diatomaceous earth is believed to be harmful to animals, especially when it is inhaled.

Inhaling any powder-like substance can lead to coughing or gagging. Powdery substances can also coat your cat’s throat and esophagus, which can cause additional problems. 

Cats groom themselves often, which means that there is a high chance that your cat will ingest at least some Diatomaceous earth, even if you are doing your best to watch your cat diligently.

Can Diatomaceous Earth Hurt My Cat

Diatomaceous earth will not hurt your cat if it is in another product or food-grade Diatomaceous earth.

It is essential to understand that there are different kinds, or grades, of Diatomaceous earth. In other words, all products with Diatomaceous earth are not made the same and can be used in different ways.

You can purchase food-grade Diatomaceous earth, which is safe enough to put on fruits and vegetables to prevent bugs from getting on them. 

This is also the grade of Diatomaceous earth that you will find in edible products for pets that contain Diatomaceous earth.

With the proper Diatomaceous earth, you will not have to worry if you may harm your cat. Of course, with any product like this, you will want to use it as described to avoid any adverse effects on your cat. 

How Long Does It Take Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Fleas On Cats

If you buy Diatomaceous earth in a form that you either apply to your cat or feed them, then you will need to wait up to five days for the Diatomaceous earth to work.

Different forms of Diatomaceous earth work in different ways. Diatomaceous earth is found in hundreds of various products, which means that the effect of Diatomaceous earth will not always look the same.

Since you’re looking at Diatomaceous earth to kill bugs, you may be thinking about how quickly it will work.

One of the easiest ways to put Diatomaceous earth on a cat who likes to eat is with food that has Diatomaceous earth in it. While it may be the easiest way to medicate your cat, you’ll be waiting almost a week to see pronounced effects.

You may not be trying to kill your cat’s fleas immediately; if that’s the case, then Diatomaceous earth that you can feed your cat is your best choice, though it isn’t as fast. 

Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Mites On Cats

Diatomaceous earth works best on small insects, which means that Diatomaceous earth can kill mites on cats.

A study from 1992, which is old yet contains pertinent information, stated that the best kind of insects to use Diatomaceous earth on are insects with a large surface area to volume ratio. Usually, small insects are this key kind of ratio, which includes fleas but also mites. 

The difficulty of using Diatomaceous earth products to treat mites is that mites are often deep inside your cat’s ear and ear canal. Mites are not all over your cat’s body like fleas. This means that it will be hard to get Diatomaceous earth to them because you do not want to sprinkle it down your cat’s ears.

In mites, there may be easier solutions for treating mites on cats than Diatomaceous earth. Your vet is the best place to go to find the best solution. 

Mites are often treated with oils, which means that a powder-like Diatomaceous earth is not as effective to help your cat. If your vet is all booked up, you can try a solution of apple cider vinegar and water or drops from the pet store that soften ear wax so you can remove it. 

How Long Does It Take For Diatomaceous Earth To Kill Fleas

If the Diatomaceous earth is not disturbed, it can kill fleas in as little as 24 hours.

Diatomaceous earth can work faster when it is not jostled or moved. For example, if you use a product with Diatomaceous earth to spread around your house on carpets, you’ll notice it will work faster.

Bugs like fleas can go to the Diatomaceous earth and eat it, which then kills the fleas. Since the Diatomaceous earth is settled, there is more of a chance that a roaming bug will find it and eat it. 

Although we want to get rid of fleas as fast as possible, you will need to be patient with products like Diatomaceous earth. Getting it done well the first time will mean that you will have to worry less about a full-blown flea infestation later on. 

If Diatomaceous powder does not kill enough fleas on the first go, you may have to use it a few more times, though you should always consult the directions on the product you purchase.

Why Is Diatomaceous Earth Not Killing Fleas

Diatomaceous earth is not killing fleas because it has not been used long enough or misused.

If you are using Diatomaceous earth to kill fleas, then you are likely already feeling impatient. 

If the Diatomaceous earth is not killing fleas, you may have to wait longer. Depending on the form of the Diatomaceous earth you are using to kill fleas, there is a wait time of up to five days. Some people will see results in less than one day, but you will often need to wait at least a week to see actual results.

Another reason that you may not be seeing results is that the product was not used correctly. If you are using Diatomaceous earth to kill fleas in your carpet, the problem may be that you did not use it enough or did not wait long enough.

With products like Diatomaceous earth, you will generally sprinkle it on the carpet, wait for a certain amount of time, and then vacuum it up. When you vacuum up the powder, you will also suck up the dead or dying fleas.

Without using enough product or giving it enough time to set, you will not get the best results possible. One solution is to also add Diatomaceous earth to your vacuum canister or bag to take care of as many fleas as possible as fast as possible. 

What Is Diatomaceous Earth Made Out Of

Diatomaceous earth is made out of fossilized diatoms, which form a substance called silica.

Diatomaceous earth is made out of diatoms, aquatic organisms that you may have never heard of. It is not the diatoms that form silica but their skeletons. As diatoms die in the water, their skeletons build up in bodies of water and are then mined.

Diatomaceous earth is like dust that is usually found in powder products, so you usually won’t find 100% diatomaceous earth products. 

Not to worry, however. These products are specifically formulated for many different uses, including on animals to kill fleas and ticks. 

Diatomaceous Earth Vs. Cimexa

Diatomaceous earth and Cimexa are both commonly used to kill different kinds of bugs. 

 Diatomaceous EarthCimexa
IngredientsSilica From DiatomsSilica gel
How Much In A PackageVaries From 8 oz. To 4-lbs4 oz to 5-lbs
How Long To WorkAs little as 24 hours1 to 2 days

If you are looking to kill bugs quickly, Diatomaceous earth and Cimexa have very similar timeframes for killing bugs, usually about 24 hours. Cimexa and Diatomaceous earth have similar ingredients as well. 

Cimexa should never be used directly on pets or in an area of your home where a pet is present. Diatomaceous earth, conversely, can be made in a food-safe way, which means that you have an option to feed it to your pet. 

Diatomaceous Earth Vs. Boric Acid

Boric acid is another alternative to Diatomaceous earth, though it is not the safest option. 

 Diatomaceous EarthBoric Acid
IngredientsSilica From DiatomsBorax, minerals, and hydrogen
How Much In A PackageVaries From 8 oz. To 4-lbsVaries by brand
How Long To WorkAs little as 24 hoursAbout 72 hours

Boric acid is not as fast-acting as other products on the market, like Diatomaceous earth. You’ll be looking at it taking about three days for boric acid to work.

Boric acid is also toxic to pets, especially if your pet ingests it. This is not a significant concern if you choose Diatomaceous earth to treat your pets.

As a pet owner, boric acid is one product on the market you want to stray away from. You may have heard stories of the effectiveness of boric acid, but the safety of your pet should be one of your primary concerns. 

Things To Consider 

This article discussed Diatomaceous earth, Cimexa, and boric acid. All of these products have positives and negatives, but you may be one of those people looking for a more natural remedy for bugs, like fleas and mites.

Some home or natural remedies include:

  • Dish soap is often an excellent option for stray kittens that you may find covered in fleas. Dish soap is often gentle yet effective.
  • Herbal flea sprays – You can make your own or purchase one on the market.
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon spray 
  • Plants that repel bugs like fleas before an infestation happens

One thing to keep in mind about natural or home remedies is that they may not be as effective or as fast as other products on the market. This is not an issue for some people, but if you are one of those people looking for a quick solution, you may need to forgo those natural products.

There are natural remedies out there, but you can see Diatomaceous earth as a natural remedy too. Diatomaceous earth is made from creatures that used to be alive, as we discussed. The products may become less “natural” because Diatomaceous earth is often only one ingredient of many.

You can use Diatomaceous earth by itself, but you will want to be more careful as it becomes more dangerous for cats. 

As you become a long-time cat owner, you will start to learn one product work best for you, your household, and your cats. 

As I like to tell people, “natural” does not always only mean good, and “not natural” does not always been bad. Nevertheless, that final decision is left up to you about which type of product is best to use in your situation.