You face a dilemma when you own a pet, and you also happen to be dealing with a cockroach infestation/invasion at the same time. You have to both deal with the cockroaches and protect your pet at all costs. This is especially true with cats, who will get into anything.
Roach bait can be poisonous to cats but not to a large degree unless your cat were to ingest a ton of the stuff. According to Combat,
“The active ingredients in Combat products are either fipronil or hydramethylnon. These ingredients are fatal to insects, such as ants and roaches, but have been shown to have very low toxicity in humans and domestic animals.“
That doesn’t mean that your cat won’t get sick, perhaps even vomit or feel funny for a few hours. However, it’s not likely to kill your cat. Advion reports a similar statement to that of Combat: a minute amount won’t be harmful to your cat.
Despite this, you still want to keep your cockroach baits and poisons in areas that are inaccessible to your cat anyway. This shouldn’t be too difficult to do since cockroaches are very skittish and typically travel in inaccessible areas to cats.
What to do if Your Cat Ingests Roach Poison?
First and foremost, keep an eye on your cat for a while. If you can, rinse their mouths out to remove any lingering bait poison. Roach poison is typically made out of peanut butter and sugar, two things that both roaches and cats adore.
If your cat experiences any symptoms, such as:
- Loss of balance
Contact your veterinarian immediately. It’s not likely that your cat will experience any symptoms, but it is possible.
Another thing—something that’s probably more problematic than the roach poison itself—is the possibility that your cat may ingest some of the container itself, sharp-edged plastic, foil, or the paper adhesive often found on the packaging.
Eating a part of the packaging won’t poison your cat exactly, but it may cause a problem with its digestive system. Once the material is down in your cat’s gut, it can cause an obstruction that only a veterinarian can handle.
What About Glue Traps?
While glue traps are not poisonous to your cat—or to a roach for that matter, your cat could easily get tangled up in one.
If this happens, your choices will boil down to either shaving your cat or using a pair of scissors to cut beneath the glue trap and remove the glue trap.
You can try using an oily and non-toxic substance to remove the glue trap as well, followed up with Dawn Dish Detergent to remove the oil from the cat’s fur.
If your cat happens to ingest a portion of the glue trap, you will have to watch it for signs of bowel obstruction as well.
It’s doubtful that your cat would ingest a glue trap, but it’s not as likely that it wouldn’t get all tangled up in the glue trap. Cats are curious creatures and will try to play with just about anything that captures their attention.
What Are the Alternatives?
You don’t have to use poisonous roach bait to get rid of roaches. There are alternatives that are harmless to your cat, even if your cat gets overly curious and wants to try some.
Diatomaceous earth has so many uses that it’s ridiculous that many people have no idea what it’s for or what it is. It’s primarily comprised of tiny, aquatic, fossilized creatures. These fossils are comprised of silica.
Silica isn’t a rare substance by any means. It’s sand, glass, asbestos, and quartz. There are many different types of silica out there, and diatomaceous earth is just one of the many. There are many uses for diatomaceous earth:
- Anti-caking agent in agriculture
- Water filtration
- Dynamite construction
As an insecticide, it’s mainly harmless to your pets unless you dropped a pile of it in front of their face so that they breathed it in.
Roaches have a waxy, protective coating over their exoskeleton. Worse, a cockroaches’ exoskeleton is like plate armor in that it is sectional, comprised of pieces that are called chitin plates.
Diatomaceous Earth is razor-sharp and will cut through the waxy surface and embed itself into the joints of the cockroaches’ plates. Once there, it begins absorbing all of the water, fats, and oils from the roaches’ body, effectively desiccating it to the point of death.
Better yet, while the diatomaceous earth is still working its magic, the roach will carry it back to all of its buddies, where other pieces of it will be transferred to them.
Once on the other roaches, it will do the same thing.
This is what makes it an excellent insecticide, and, as stated above, unless your cat inhales the stuff, it’s essentially harmless to them and humans.
The best way to deploy it is to mix it half and half with some sugar. Then you can sprinkle it on a sheet of notebook paper, a paper plate, or anything else that you can lay out in an area where you think the roaches are predominately using.
Another effective method for getting rid of cockroaches while being entirely safe for your cat is to use a jar to trap them in.
Start by getting a jar with steep sides or a narrowed neck. Next, use oil or grease to coat the inside surface of the jar completely. Once it is all coated, place some peanut butter or some sugar at the bottom of the jar.
Place a jar in a roach trafficked area in the home. Now all you have to do is use a piece of paper or a piece of wood to create a ramp that leads up to the opening of the jar.
The roaches will happily climb your little ramp and drop right into your jar, where they have no hope of climbing back up and out. If nothing else, they can enjoy that peanut butter while waiting for you to decide their fate.
Never dump roaches anywhere near your property and don’t bother to seal them in a plastic bag and throw them in the trash. They can make their way out, return to your home, and resume feeding, drinking, and breeding.
Like diatomaceous earth, baking soda kills roaches by tearing up their exoskeleton and dehydrating them until they’re no more than just a husk. Mix some baking powder with equal parts sugar and lay it out in a high traffic area.
When the roaches consume the sugar. They’ll get covered in the baking soda, consume it, spread it, and one by one, they will all die from being exposed to it.
You don’t have to worry too much about your cat getting into standard roach traps or bait, even if it manages to consume some of it. Of course, it’s always good to keep an eye on your cat if it does something like that, but it should be okay.
Your biggest concern will always be whether or not your cat consumes any of the packagings, and even then, it’s not likely to be deadly to the cat. Keep an eye out for bowel obstruction, but otherwise, your cat should be just fine.