Can flower extracts be dangerous for my cat?

A commonly used ingredient in organic flea products may be very dangerous to your cat.  Pyrethrins are derived from the flower of the lovely chrysanthemum.  These natural chemicals are effective in repelling and killing insects.  A chemically synthesized cousin of pyrethrin is permethrin.  Permethrin has a prolonged effect making it more potent in controlling fleas and lice.

Pyrethrins and permethrin are included in both human and canine products.  Great care must be taken with these chemicals around cats, however.  Cats metabolize the drugs differently making them highly susceptible to toxicity.  In fact, many cats have died from the unfortunate application of the dog topical pyrethrin/permethrin flea products applied to their skin.

If these are accidentally applied to your cat, immediate bathe you cat with Dawn detergent to effectively minimize exposure.  Longer than a few hours of exposure before bathing, however, could result in serious neurologic consequences requiring immediate veterinary care. To be safe, never use dog flea products on your cat.  Read all directions carefully.  Your veterinarian can provide you with safe products to protect your cat from external parasites!

Dr. Roberts

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