How to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Cats for Fleas

A flea infestation not only makes your cat miserable, but the fleas can also transmit diseases to your pet. Some cats are also allergic to flea saliva and the reaction leads to bald patches in your cat's fur. Treating fleas requires taking care of the fleas in your home and the fleas on your cat. However, flea collars and flea medication contains pesticides that are harmful to both you and your feline friend. One chemical-free alternative is to use diatomaceous earth, an additive made of the remains of diatoms.

Hold your cat in a way that allows access to most of its body. If your cat doesn't like being restrained, scruff the cat by the neck. This method of restraint has a calming effect on cats.

Sprinkle the cat all over with the diatomaceous earth. Have your friend do this while you hold the cat or vice versa. Do not get the dust in your cat's eyes, nose or mouth.

Rub the diatomaceous earth into your cat's fur. The diatomaceous earth kills fleas in two ways: by drying out the fleas and by damaging their exoskeleton. The rubbing gets the diatomaceous earth all the way down to the cat's skin.

Release your cat and give it a treat.

Sprinkle the diatomaceous earth on your carpets, rugs and on any of the cat's bedding. Rub in the dust and let it sit. After two or three days, vacuum everything thoroughly.


If you can't restrain your cat, try the towel method. Sprinkle a good amount of the diatomaceous earth into a bath towel, then wrap the towel around the cat. Work the diatomaceous earth into your cat's fur by rubbing the towel against your cat. This isn't as thorough as directly applying it to your cat, but it's better than not treating your cat for fleas.


Don't apply a large amount of diatomaceous earth to your carpets and rugs because too much can cause trouble with your vacuum. Sprinkle lightly and repeat later if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Friend
  • Food grade diatomaceous earth
  • Cat treats
  • Vacuum
  • Towel
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About the Author

Based in Portland, Ore., Tammie Painter has been writing garden, fitness, science and travel articles since 2008. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Herb Companion" and "Northwest Travel" and she is the author of six books. Painter earned her Bachelor of Science in biology from Portland State University.