Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas on Cats: Everything You Need to Know in 2021

24.02.2021

If you are in search of a natural way to prevent feline fleas and other parasites, diatomaceous earth is what you need. For a better part of history, human beings have been leveraging the power of this natural compound to keep disease-causing and bloodsucking insects from themselves and their pets. That said, what exactly is diatomaceous earth? How does it work and how to use it?

My name is Nora, and today I am going to answer these questions to ensure you grasp everything there is on diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats. So, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth or DE is the fossilized remains of small organisms that inhabit water bodies. At studies, we call these organisms diatoms. Over centuries, these creatures pile up in aquatic bodies such as lakes, streams, oceans, and so forth. Silica that also makes up at least 26 percent of the crust of the planet is what constitutes the skeletons of diatoms.

As these fossils keep accumulating at the bottom of water bodies, they turn into another silica compound referred to as silicon dioxide. It is formed when silica combines with water and oxygen. Thus, we got to DE. This silicon dioxide is the main component in DE and can be accessed from the bottom of aquatic bodies. It is used for insecticides; thus, works great for pest control.

4 Best Diatomaceous Earth Products Reviewed

Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

To rid your cat of internal parasites, add food grade DE to your feline’s food. I use Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade to assist in combating hookworms, pinworms, tapeworms, whipworms, and roundworms. The product is effective.

Grandpas Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

Apart from that, I have used Grandpas diatomaceous earth for fleas and found it to be great at eliminating these stubborn pests. To kill external parasites, use diatomaceous earth for fleas and ticks as a powder to dust on the skin of your feline. Nonetheless, be careful not to get diatomaceous earth powder for fleas near your feline’s mouth, nose, or eyes as the substance is still abrasive.

HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

You can try Harris diatomaceous earth for fleas as it is listed as food grade on the packaging and is made from 100% natural freshwater DE. It comes with a powder duster that will help you apply the product efficiently. And it’s definitely a top-rated diatomaceous earth safer brand for fleas in the market right now.

Red Lake Earth Diatomaceous Earth with Calcium Bentonite

Also, I would recommend a Red Lake earth diatomaceous earth with calcium bentonite for fleas. You can spread it around your pet’s favorite areas and even add it as a supplement in your cat’s meal to get rid of parasites.

How Diatomaceous Earth Works

When ground to a fine powder, DE is still quite abrasive, especially to small organisms such as pests and parasites. It readily penetrates the exoskeleton of these small creatures dehydrating them and stripping them of essential fats and oils necessary for their survival. In turn, they dry up and die. At the same time, DE doesn’t affect bigger creatures, such as cats and other animals. That said, you can use diatomaceous earth for flea control on your feline every fortnight to protect it from fleas, ticks, hookworms, and other parasites. It is a naturally occurring pest control substance.

Diatomaceous Earth helps to get rid of fleas in a natural way. It contains fossils of small bio-organisms that previously inhabited water sources. These organisms are known as diatoms. Their skeletons consisted of silica, which with time, turned into silicon dioxide, the compound that works as an insecticide.

Diatomaceous Earth must be used in small doses and under the vet’s supervision. It is extremely powerful, and its overuse can be dangerous. Silicon dioxide gets into the exoskeletons of fleas, dehydrates them, and kills. Basically, Diatomaceous Earth dries the fleas up from inside. The substance also kills hookworms, ticks, and other small parasites that may occur on the cat’s fur.

How To Use Diatomaceous Earth For Fleas?

Diatomaceous Earth or DE is safe for both humans and pets. It is not toxic and does not cause any serious health problems unless a cat or a human is allergic to some of its ingredients. The main component of Diatomaceous Earth is the fossilized silica that with the time has turned into silicon dioxide. Basically, you can spread Diatomaceous Earth as powder across your house, even if there are children or young kittens.

Now to the important part, namely how to apply diatomaceous earth for fleas. Follow this simple guide on how to use DE effectively to rid your felines of parasites:

1Take note of the places where your feline likes to lay at home. It can be a kennel, under a sofa, a rug, or a pillow. These places are where you should generously apply diatomaceous earth on pets for fleas.
2Firstly, vacuum these places to get rid of flea eggs. It is because diatomaceous earth for killing fleas does not affect the eggs.
3Spread DE in the vacuumed areas. Do this effectively by using a sieve, sock tied on one end, or DE dusters. Note, DE works best when the place is dry; therefore, ensure there is no dampness in the region. It is very possible that some fleas have left their eggs. If you notice that your cat is itching and biting its own fur again, repeat the whole procedure of sprinkling the room with Diatomaceous Earth. Don’t worry! It is not harmful.
4Spray the Diatomaceous Earth on these areas. Use the special powder duster. Some Diatomaceous Earth packages already contain dusters. You can spray it with home-made equipment, as well.
5Let the DE stay in the areas you have applied it for as long as possible. Give DE several weeks. A minimum of two weeks is ideal. After that just vacuum everything carefully. There may be dead or half-dead fleas. You have to remove everything.
6Apply diatomaceous earth on cats for flea control to the feline skin, making sure it comes into contact with the skin. If it only stays on the fur, it won’t work as expected. Be sure to talk to a veterinarian if you need help on how to apply diatomaceous earth to cats for fleas for the first time. If you spray your cat with Diatomaceous Earth, remove it after a few days by washing your pet carefully. Do not leave the Diatomaceous Earth on the cat for weeks.
7Re-apply the DE next days on your feline until you see that there is a decline in flea infestation. After that, you can switch to a weekly application.
8After several weeks, vacuum all corners and places with DE. This way, you’ll get rid of remaining fleas and their eggs, thus, disrupting their lifecycle. Use a flea comb to remove any eggs from the cat’s fur.

This is how to apply diatomaceous earth to cats. Nonetheless, be sure to talk to a certified veterinarian to get information on how to use diatomaceous earth for fleas in house. By learning how to use diatomaceous earth for flea control from an expert, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your feline companion.

Diatomaceous Earth for Flea Control in House: Tackling an Infestation

In its use as a pesticide, DE has proven to be effective in preventing and controlling fleas on pets. When finely-grounded, it pierces insects’ exoskeletons and works its way dehydrating them. Apart from pets, you can also use diatomaceous earth on carpets for fleas. However, applying this product to deal with an infestation in your home will be different from how you use it on your cat.

So, how do you use diatomaceous earth for fleas that have infested your home? Start by applying the substance daily everywhere the fleas are present until you begin to see changes. Once the infestation has died down a bit, you can space out your applications to once every week for prevention against another infestation. Ensure you pay extra attention to areas where your pet likes to sleep (bed, kennel, rug, pillow, etc.) and hang around.

Use Harris Diatomaceous Earth Powder Dust

For easy application, you can use the Harris Diatomaceous Earth Powder Duster. It will help you spread the powder evenly, and it doesn’t clog easily. It’s an excellent tool to get your DE into tight and hard-to-reach corners of your house with minimal effort.

If you have noticed an infestation, you should also treat the outside of your home. Here’s how to use diatomaceous earth for fleas in yard:

1Sprinkle the DE over the whole yard, especially where your cat spends its time
2Use the substance when the ground is dry and re-apply after watering or rain
3 Make sure DE reaches the ground

Diatomaceous Earth Application for Fleas: Other Uses

Apart from controlling fleas and other insects, DE also has other uses. I have, for example, used it on cat litter. This type of application is not new. People have used DE this way for many years. It is excellent for this use because of its highly absorbent properties. It works much like a Silica product. It’s also an eco-friendlier alternative to clay litters, and it can be flushed down the toilet with no trouble. You’ll actually find plenty of cat litter manufacturers using DE in their products.

DE may also be used in controlling internal parasites in livestock and home animals. It has often been hailed as a safe alternative to chemical de-wormers. And since it is not chemical, worms can’t build immunity against it. However, more studies are still being conducted to determine the efficiency levels of DE for this purpose.

FAQ on Diatomaceous Earth

Is diatomaceous earth safe for cats?

DE is a naturally occurred and non-toxic substance. That means it is safe to use on your pet. However, I recommend looking for a food grade diatomaceous earth for flea control product. Food grade substance is safe to use around the house and even in your pet’s food, which is important as the powder might get on a lot of things in your house while dusting.

How much diatomaceous earth do I put on my cats for fleas?

There are two ways to give your cat Diatomaceous Earth. You can either give it as food or apply on the cat’s skin as powder. Based on the method, you have to choose the proper dosage. For example:

  • As Food. You will find the dosage on the pack of the food-grade or absorbent. On average, large cats of 13 pounds and over can receive 1 ½ of the food grade. Small cats or kittens that are up to 6 ½ pounds, and not least that 2 pounds receive only ½ teaspoon of Diatomaceous Earth.

Beware! You can’t give Diatomaceous Earth to kittens that are still drinking milk. Until they are on solid food, the DE must be avoided.

  • As Powder. This is an external option. You have to sprinkle the powder across your house. To make it more effective, pay attention to the places which are most visited by your cat. Spread the powder on them. Use the Diatomaceous Earth powder duster for it. After that, rub the DE into your cat’s skin.

Do not sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on the cat’s fur, as it will be useless. I recommend you to always wear the dust mask while you are applying Diatomaceous Earth. It will protect your nose and eyes.

You can cover the cat’s skin with the Diatomaceous Earth for a few days only, not longer. After that, you have to wash the skin carefully. Check for fleas’ eggs while you are washing and brushing your cat. Use a special vacuum, if you have one, to remove all the bugs that can remain on your cat.

After the procedure, use a moisturizing shampoo, as your cat’s skin may be dry. You can repeat the procedure by applying the Diatomaceous Earth after several days if you notice that the fleas are still there.

How long to leave diatomaceous earth on carpet for fleas for?

It is important to follow the recommendations on the pack of Diatomaceous Earth that you have. It may have its own specifics. The active phase of the Diatomaceous Earth is 24 hours. If you applied it to your cat, you have to wash him after that. However, if you applied it to the furniture, you can easily postpone the removal of the DE for up to 2-3 weeks. Make sure it does not cause allergy.

Can I put diatomaceous earth on my kitten?

Due to the lack of harmful chemicals and toxic ingredients in Diatomaceous Earth, it is considered as one of the safest ways to get rid of fleas on kittens. It dehydrates small insects, by attacking their exoskeletons. The flea is killed after 4 hours of interaction with this substance.
I recommend you to use Diatomaceous Earth:

  • On your kitten’s toys, its rug and other favorite places;
  • As a supplement in kittens meal;
  • Directly on the kitten.

Try Diatomaceous Earth that has a powder duster, like Harris Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, for example. It will ease up the process of applying. You can use the duster to apply the substance to specific small areas.

I recommend you to use food grade DE for your kitten internally. It will not only kill fleas, but also worms inside your kitten’s stomach if it has them. Diatomaceous Earth as a food-grade is also safer for your kitten as it will not choke on it. While Diatomaceous Earth does not cause problems with lungs and is not toxic, your kitten may have respiratory problems sniffing it in.

Warning! Do not use the same Diatomaceous Earth powder as you use for the pool filters. It can be harmful to pets. Use only products that were specially created for animals.

Can diatomaceous earth hurt my cat?

Diatomaceous Earth is a preferable choice for many pet owners, mainly because of its non-toxic components. It does not mean that it is entirely safe for use. To avoid side effects, you have to pick the right dosage.
Possible side-effects:

  • Irritation of throat, nose, and eyes of your cat and people in the house;
  • Skin dryness;
  • Allergy to the Diatomaceous Earth powder. Both cats and people can be allergic to Diatomaceous Earth powder, and that is why it is important to choose the right type of DE. If you are allergic, use food grade Diatomaceous Earth for your cat. It is completely to add it into cat’s food, and around the house.

Diatomaceous Earth consists of ancient fossils diatoms that once were living in oceans and rivers. It is silicon dioxide, the substance inside them that is drying up fleas and ticks, always thirsty for water. Basically, Diatomaceous Earth is safe for your cat or kitten. It kills only small insects. It is harmless for pet owners as well.

I still recommend you vacuum the Diatomaceous Earth after the active phase is over, which is 24 hours. This way you will not only find out how many fleas were killed but get rid of the rests of the powder. The powder can be spread in the room with dust, making your skin dry or causing an allergy, if you are sensitive to it. Many farmers use Diatomaceous Earth in their grain storages to get rid of pests.

It does not harm yours or your cat’s lungs after it was inhaled. This is just a myth. Don’t believe it. However, if you want to feel the total security, use the food grade. It is better for kittens and can’t cause allergies.

How long does it take diatomaceous earth to kill fleas on cats?

Diatomaceous Earth acts fast on cats. It kills fleas by drying them up from the inside. The substance gets into exoskeletons of fleas and dries oils, water, and fats. Don’t worry, it does not kill big animals, like cats.

It takes up to 4 hours for Diatomaceous Earth to kill the fleas, from the time it penetrated the skeleton of the flea. You may notice that I specifically said about the contact of Diatomaceous Earth and flea. If you have applied the substance on the cat’s favorite carpet or pillow, it does not mean that all the fleas are immediately infected.
To increase the action of Diatomaceous Earth you can try:

  • Applying the substance on the cat’s skin. Make sure that it is applied on the skin, and not only on the fur;
  • Apply the DE on all cat’s favorite places in the house;
  • Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth after 24 hours with all the dead fleas;
  • Reapply the substance after 3 weeks, if not all the fleas are gone.

The potential danger is hidden in flea eggs. They can stay inactive and well hidden for a week until new fleas are born. To avoid returning the insects on your cat, repeat the whole procedure.

Are You Using Diatomaceous Earth for Your Cat?

If you want to kill and prevent pests and the diseases they bring, you definitely need DE. It is a natural and safer alternative to most pesticides. Buying DE for your cat for preventing fleas on it will save you both time and money, as you will make fewer trips to the vet.

I want to remind you that the DE comes in different varieties. So, choose food grade diatomaceous earth for fleas if you are using it around your household. There are many options of diatomaceous earth with calcium bentonite for fleas available. From my experience and other users’ reviews, Harris and Red Lake diatomaceous earth for fleas are the most popular options.

Are you currently using DE for your cat flea control? Do you have more tips on how to use diatomaceous earth for fleas on cats that you’d like to add? Share your experience or opinion in the comment section below.

Last update on 2021-10-01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6 Comments
  1. My cat has asthma and is on an inhaler twice a day. Is it safe to put DE on his body? If so, where on the cat do I apply the DE? Can I just apply a small amount on the back of his neck and at his tailbone?

    • Hello, Jean! Very sorry about your cat’s disease, hope he’s feeling okay.

      Diatomaceous earth can sometimes irritate the mouth, lungs, skin and eyes. It may cause some irritation if used near either people or pets that suffer from respiratory diseases, asthma in particular. We recommend you to consult the veterinarian first. If your doctor guarantees safety, then you can try to mix a small amount of DE with some chlorine. This way, you’ll test your cat for allergic reactions of any kind and find out if it helps with the flea problem.

      Remember that diatomaceous earth is an irritant, so it’s better to choose some more benign options, like HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade, and dilute it with water before applying.

  2. You say, that generally, diatomaceous earth is safe for cats. But can I put diatomaceous earth on my kitten?

    • Hello, Regina!
      Yes, diatomaceous earth is safe for kittens. It also works as a natural dewormer, which is a nice bonus.

  3. If I put DE in food, will it kills the live fleas or only the internal parasites? I am trying to help feral cats with flea treatment.

    • Hello Sandi,

      For flea control, the best solution is to sprinkle DE in feral cats’ shelters or other places where they spend time. Make sure you read the label and the instructions carefully and only opt for food-grade diatomaceous earth.

      The powder is not toxic, but it can sometimes cause irritation and dryness if applied directly to the cat. Therefore, I recommend that you opt for this flea control method only if you are specifically instructed to do so by your vet.

      As for putting DE in a feral cat’s food, it is an effective way to prevent the internal parasites as opposed to controlling fleas.

      Summing up, to kill the internal parasites, put DE in cat’s food, to kill the live fleas it’s better to use DE externally.

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