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Does Lime Kill Fleas on Cats? Vet Reviewed Effectiveness & Safety Explained

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Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Elizabeth Gray

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore


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Fleas can make your cat’s life miserable with scratching and yours a nightmare as you try to fight the infestation. Those searching for non-pesticide products to kill fleas might wonder if lime is an effective alternative. While lime may be somewhat effective against fleas, it won’t necessarily kill them and should never be applied or used around your cat.

In this article, we’ll discuss using lime to kill fleas and the potential dangers to your cat. We’ll also offer some tips to fight flea infestations that should be more effective than lime.

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What Is Lime?

Lime is the common term for various products manufactured from limestone, including quicklime, hydrated lime, and garden lime. These lime products are used for many purposes, including in building materials, soil treatments, and as an insect repellant. Lime consists primarily of calcium compounds, such as calcium carbonate and calcium oxide.

whole and cliced lime in wooden table
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Is Lime Effective Against Fleas?

Lime in various forms has been used for years to repel agricultural pests and treat mite infestations in livestock. However, there’s only limited research regarding its effectiveness. One study from 1992 found that hydrated lime did work against one type of insect but was ineffective against others, like aphids 1.

According to the USDA, lime sulfur dips have shown effective control of mites and other insects on livestock 2. Again, this research does not specifically address the effectiveness of lime against fleas, nor did any of them study the use of this product on cats. If used to treat your yard, lime may be helpful over time in treating fleas, but it is unlikely to do the job independently. In addition, it may damage your lawn or garden plants.

Is Lime Safe for Cats?

In addition to its questionable effectiveness, lime presents several safety concerns for cats.

Garden and dolomitic lime, made of calcium carbonate, can cause digestive upset in pets if ingested. Quicklime and hydrated lime are corrosive and can cause chemical burns if they contact your cat. Lime dust can cause respiratory irritation if inhaled.

Lime is unsafe for cats, and they should not be allowed outdoors if you treat your yard with these products.

Sick sad cat lying on the bed
Image Credit: Zhuravlev Andrey, Shutterstock

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Tips for Treating Fleas on Your Cat

To effectively treat fleas on your cat, you need to eliminate all life cycles of the flea, including the adult insects on your pet and the eggs and immature stages living in the environment. You must treat all the pets in the house, regardless of whether they go outside.

The most effective way to kill fleas on your cat is to use a product recommended by your veterinarian. These are generally available as pills or topical products applied to the skin. Flea collars and shampoos are less effective, as are over-the-counter products.

In addition to killing the fleas on your cat, you’ll need to battle the bugs in your home and yard. Otherwise, the fleas will just hatch from their eggs, mature, and jump right back onto your cat. Talk to a pest control specialist to recommend other products to kill fleas in your yard and inside your house if needed.

You should wash your cat’s bedding in hot water or replace it. Frequent vacuuming is an effective tool for reducing the number of fleas, in addition to other measures.

Pay close attention to vacuuming cracks and baseboards, which are popular spots for fleas to lay eggs. Empty the canister or throw away the vacuum bag outside your house after each cleaning session. It can take months to remove a flea infestation completely, and the most effective technique for treating the pests in your yard and home is to contact a professional pest control company and your veterinarian.

applying flea treatment to cat
Image Credit: Csaba Deli, Shutterstock

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Research is limited on the effectiveness of lime in killing fleas on cats. Because of this and its safety concerns, lime is not recommended for treating fleas. Preventing flea infestations is always easier than treating them, so talk to your veterinarian to find an effective product. Fleas carry diseases and internal parasites in addition to the itching associated with their bites. If your cat is infested with fleas, visit your veterinarian first for an effective treatment.

Related Read:

Featured Image credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

About the Author

Elizabeth Gray
Elizabeth Gray
Elizabeth Gray is a lifelong lover of all creatures great and small. She got her first cat at 5 years old and at 14, she started working for her local veterinarian. Elizabeth spent more than 20 years working as a veterinary nurse before stepping away to become a stay-at-home parent to her daughter. Now, she is excited to share her hard-earned knowledge (literally--she has scars) with our readers. Elizabeth lives in Iowa with her family, including her two fur kids, Linnard, a husky mix and Algernon, the worldʻs most patient cat. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching all sports but especially soccer, and spending time outdoors with her family.

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