Cats, unlike dogs, typically spend a lot of time outside of a house alone. Many cat owners allow their furry feline friends to come and go as they please. This means that many cats are exposed to grassy regions or areas with dense undergrowth, which in many regions harbor ticks.
Ticks are blood-consuming ectoparasites that lodge their heads under the skin of mammals, feeding on their blood and causing many health complications. Apart from irritation skin and causing itching behavior, ticks can present a very serious health risk to both cats and humans.
Ticks can carry lyme disease, a pathogen that can infect both humans and cats. This dangerous bacterial infection can cause fever, swelling of the joints, cardiac disorders, kidney failure and even neurological dysfunction.
If your cat becomes infested with ticks, it’s highly likely that they will bring ticks into the house. Ticks have a long life cycle that allows them to distribute eggs throughout a home. This breeding mechanism means that even after treating a pet cat with a powerful chemical treatment, your home will become infested with a secondary wave of ticks once these eggs hatch.
Diatomaceous earth offers a highly effective chemical free alternative to these toxic and ineffective tick treatments. By destroying ticks through a purely mechanical mechanism that fatally dehydrates them, diatomaceous earth is able to destroy both living ticks and those hatched from eggs at a later date with no need for reapplication.
Food safe, pet friendly and completely inert, diatomaceous earth is the most effective and cheapest solution for ridding your pet of ticks available. In this article we’ll provide step-by-step details on how to treat your pet for ticks with diatomaceous earth.
What You’ll Need
- Pest Control Grade Diatomaceous Earth
- Dust Mask, Gloves and Safety Goggles
- A Plastic Trash Bag
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Fine Tooth Comb
- Cotton Buds
- An Airtight Plastic Container or Bag
- Vacuum Cleaner
- Diatomaceous Earth Applicator or Duster
Step 1: Clean Your Home
If you’ve identified tick activity on your cat, the first step is to isolate your cat and clean your home. Begin by placing the cat in a confined space outside of the house such as a shed or garage.
Proceed to clean your entire home, vacuuming the areas in which your cat spends the most time. Cat beds, bedding, pillows, couches and rugs are common breeding grounds for ticks once they’ve gained a foothold in a home, so focus on these areas.
This process will help to cut down on the amount of tick eggs that have been distributed around your home. Ensure that you empty your vacuum outside of your hose in a place where newly hatched eggs will be unable to reinfest either your home or cat.
Step 2: Apply Diatomaceous Earth
After you’ve cleaned your home and secured your cat, proceed to distribute diatomaceous earth. Apply diatomaceous earth to any place in which your cat has idled, focusing on the areas that you vacuumed before. Work diatomaceous earth into bedding and couches with your hands and ensure that there is a fine layer of DE dust over these regions.
Applying diatomaceous earth around large areas of the home by hand can be onerous and wasteful. To increase the efficiency of your diatomaceous earth distribution, you may want to use a diatomaceous earth applicator or duster.
For information on the best duster or applicator for this purpose, check out our articles on the Top 3 Diatomaceous Earth Applicators and Squeeze Dusters and Bulb Dusters: Which One is Best?.
The diatomaceous earth you distribute will bind to the exoskeleton of any tick that comes into contact with it, abrading away the protective outer layer and absorbing the lipid oils and moisture from inside its body, fatally dehydrating the creature.
While this is completely poison-free, always be sure to wear protective gear when distributing diatomaceous earth. The fine silica particles that compose DE can irritate the lungs, sinuses and eyes, so always wear gloves, protective goggles and a dust mask while handling it.
Step 3: De-Tick Your Cat
After cleaning your home and distributing diatomaceous earth, you’ll need to remove all ticks and eggs from your cat. Keep the gloves on and use scissors to cut the trash bag into a makeshift smock.
Keeping your cat isolated from the home, proceed to comb out the cat’s fur with a fine comb to locate any ticks. Focus on areas such as inside the ears, between the toes, and between the legs.
Once you find a tick, proceed to soak the area around the tick with rubbing alcohol using a cotton bud. Pinch the tick gently as close as possible to the head and gently remove it from the body of your cat.
Be very careful not to leave the head inside your cat as this can cause severe health complications. Place the tick inside the airtight container or bag and seal it. Repeat this process for every tick you find.
If you accidentally leave a tick head beneath the skin of your cat, or believe your cat may have contracted a disease from the tick infestation, ensure you take your animal to a vet as soon as possible. Once you’ve removed all ticks from your cat, place bedding in the isolation area that has been covered in diatomaceous earth and encourage the cat to recline in it.
Step 4: Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth
After 4-5 days the diatomaceous earth will have destroyed any ticks in your home as well as any ticks hatching from leftover eggs. Proceed to vacuum the areas in which you distributed diatomaceous earth.
Some less powerful home vacuums may struggle with the fine particles of DE or even burn out. You may want to consider hiring a powerful shop vac for this purpose depending on the strength of your vacuum and the amount of DE you distributed.
Step 5: Bathe Your Cat
Once you’ve removed the diatomaceous earth from your home, it’s time to free your cat from quarantine. Diatomaceous earth is extremely dry and absorbent and may irritate your cat’s skin, so be sure to give them a bath and shampoo them with a pH neutral cat shampoo to rid them of any leftover DE or ticks.
Step 6: Repeat Until Ticks Are Eliminated
It’s important to treat your pet’s bedding with diatomaceous earth every 3-4 days after completing this process if your cat continues to spend time in wooded or forested areas.
If you’re experiencing a tick infestation on your own property, be sure to check out our article on Organic Tick Control in Your Backyard.
Diatomaceous Earth Information Guide:
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Please reach out regarding any information above. In the future, more share-worthy useful enhancements, experiences and effects of diatomaceous earth will be added as the benefits continue to pile up. Always welcome for more insight and awareness, click the button to see the most recommended beautifully blended product that combines both high quality food grade diatomaceous earth powder and pure organic silica together in one formula.