Bubba Cat here with a news flash: Zika is no joke!
Just yesterday a newspaper in Houston reported that 6 pregnant woman in the county have tested positive for the virus.
So what does the Centers for Disease Control recommend you do to protect yourself? Among other things, you should build a zika prevention kit that includes permethrin.
But what does all that have to do with cats????
Permethrin is toxic to cats.
Permethrin is a man-made chemical that mimics pyrethroids, an insect repellent chemical derived from chrysanthemums. While companies tell us these chemicals are harmless to most animals, cats are affected neurologically. A cat that comes into contact with these chemicals may start drooling, vomiting, and may develop seizures. Sometimes effects dissipate, but sometimes the neurological damage is permanent (here’s the ASPCA’s statement to vets regarding pyrethroid toxicoses).
These chemicals are also toxic to fish and exposure to the smallest amount of these chemicals will kill them.
So while you’re developing your plan of action to keep your family safe from mosquitoes, here’s some things you need to think about:
Read the label of your insect repellant. An “all-natural” product may include pyrethroids. Remember, NATURAL DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN SAFE!!!!! And don’t think you can just use that stuff on your hike while your kitty is at home. Permethrin can remain in your clothing even after washing.
If your community (or your neighbors, or you) spray outside for mosquitoes, your cats should probably stay inside. Permethrins and pyrethroids are the most commonly used. You’ll be told the stuff is “generally safe,” and that small amounts used are harmless to animals. But are they?
If your cat does come into contact with permethrin or pyrethroids, bathe your cat in a mild detergent. Get that stuff off of kitty’s fur. And be sure to get vet care immediately if symptoms develop.
If you use a topical for fleas on your dog, check the label. You may need to keep the dog separated from the cat, especially if your cat grooms the dog.
And, finally, don’t assume that this stuff is safe for you. Humans have also been affected by permethrin. After all, the label says don’t get the chemical on your skin… so how safe can it be???
So how can humans protect themselves without putting us felines at risk? Here’s a link to a web site with a list of ten natural ways to repel mosquitoes. Avon’s Skin-so-Soft is also an effective mosquito repellent, though it isn’t marketed as such.
I’m not telling you to not keep yourself safe and healthy. I’m just asking that you not do it at our expense. Don’t be lazy; do your homework.