Poisonous Pyrethrins: How Pest Control Could Harm Your Cats

Depending on where you live, pest control can be anything from a luxury service to a downright necessity. When it comes to insects like mosquitoes and ticks that can carry communicable diseases, controlling their presence in and around your home is a matter of safety as well as comfort. Many pesticides rely on a group of chemicals called pyrethrins, and their neurotoxic properties make them effective killers of nuisance insects. But what if the protocol you counted on to eliminate insect presence in and around your home was a potential danger to the animals you do want in your life?

What Are Pyrethrins?
The term pyrethrin describes a class of organic compounds that are naturally derived from the chrysanthemum flower, and their natural form, called pyrethrum, has been used as an insecticide for centuries. Permethrin is a man-made insecticide based on the chemical structure of natural pyrethrum, but synthetic pyrethroids have been developed to be stable in sunlight and much more effective. By attacking the nervous system of insects that come into contact with it, permethrin is a very effective insect killer, but can cause harm to more than just ticks and mosquitoes.

You may have heard of the studies that associate pyrethrin exposure to a whole host of potential issues in people who come into contact with the chemicals. For many families this makes in-home pyrethrins out of the question, but they continue to use them outside, forgetting about the feline members of the family.

Pyrethrin Toxicity In Cats
The feline nervous system is very susceptible to the dangers of pyrethrins, and cats can become dangerously ill if they come into contact with the chemical. Whether your cat comes in contact with an insect spray or a flea product that contains pyrethrins — as many canine-specific flea products do — feline grooming behavior means it won’t be long before the chemical makes its way onto their tongue. When your cat walks on or rubs up against outdoor surfaces that have been sprayed with pyrethrin products, it only takes until their next grooming session — a daily activity for the average fastidious feline — for the chemicals to be ingested.

Signs of pyrethrin toxicity in cats include neurological symptoms like loss of coordination, twitches, tremors, or even seizures. Excessive drooling, vomiting, or difficulty breathing might also indicate that your cat has been exposed, and any of these symptoms warrant an immediate trip to the vet. Although there is no antidote for pyrethrin toxicity in cats, your vet can provide supportive care to treat the potentially fatal symptoms.

So How Can You Control Pests And Keep Your Cats Safe?
The only way to be sure your cats are safe from pyrethrin is to avoid its use both in and around your home. Insect control protocols like mosquito spraying and flea and tick control regularly use pyrethrins, but because there are many synthetic pyrethroids, they might come labelled with a slightly different name like bifenthrin, cypermethrin, or deltamethrin. Many permethrin products are marketed as “all-natural” because of the chemical’s association with the chrysanthemum flower, but “all-natural” does not mean the product is safe for your cats.

Thankfully, there is an eco-friendly and worry-free way to keep pests out of your yard. Bite Control is your source for 100% organic, chemical-free mosquito and tick control in NJ. We offer organic barrier sprays that contain no pyrethrins, and act to repel rather than kill mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks. Friendly insects like bees won’t be adversely affected, and you can enjoy your outdoor space knowing that your feline family members are safe too.

Date: 03-30-2017