Are Cats Safe in Ant Traps?

Photo of Rusty Black Cat in Reflected Sun

Ants are bothersome pests that can be difficult to keep out of your house, especially in the spring and summer. Having bugs around is enough to drive most people racing for ant-killer, from getting into meals to crawling into the restroom. However, if you have a cat, you should be aware that some ant-control treatments might be hazardous and even poisonous to your pet.

The Problem With Ant-Control Products

Many insect traps, such as those designed to kill ants, have attractants such as butter or peanut butter, which cats may find appealing. The active substance in these traps is frequently Borax or Avermectin, both of which are deemed safe around cats in little amounts. While the bait dosage is unlikely to cause any toxicity in your cat, there is a risk that your cat will consume a piece of the plastic or cardboard container, causing digestive discomfort or possibly an intestinal obstruction. Other types of conventional sprays and repellents, on the other hand, can be poisonous to your dogs, so always check the contents and avoid any items that could hurt them. This is especially true for cats when it comes to Pyrethrins, such as Permethrin, which are extremely poisonous even in little dosages. The safest strategy may be to concentrate on preventing ants from entering your house in the first place. If pests still manage to get into your house, you may use natural measures to keep them at bay and safeguard your cat.

Cat-safe Alternatives for Ant Control

  • Prevention is the best cure. Keep kitchen and dining areas scrupulously free of food, including dishes in the sink. Wipe up all water spills and repair any dripping faucets.
  • Store your food carefully. Put all of your shelf-stable food in airtight containers. Cereal boxes, pasta boxes and other cardboard containers are too easy for bugs to infiltrate. Use plastic or glass containers with a seal.
  • Create your own ant trap. Combine 1/3 cup molasses or honey, six tablespoons of sugar, and six tablespoons of active dry yeast. Put it in a container such as a canning jar, and punch holes in the top. Place the trap outside the house near the ants' entry point. The ants will be tempted by the sugar content but will be trapped in the mixture due to its consistency.
  • Draw a chalk line around the foundation perimeter. Ants generally won't cross the line.
  • Find the location where ants are entering your house. Outside of that point, sprinkle cinnamon, cucumber peels, or lemon juice, all of which are natural ant repellents. Sprinkling paprika, coffee grinds or chili pepper can also be an effective ant deterrent. The spice of those herbs is repugnant to ants.
  • Keep ants out of your cat's food: Create a 'moat' by placing your cat's food bowl inside a second slightly larger bowl. Fill the small space between the bowls with a little bit of water. The ants won't be able to reach the food bowl without falling into the water in between the bowls. The outer bowl should be small enough to allow your cat to easily reach the food bowl; an inch or less between the bowls is plenty of space. Also, make sure to keep their feeding area as clean as possible. Remove all crumbs and food debris right after meals and make sure to wash and dry the bowl between feedings.
  • Locate the source. Follow the trail of ants to find out where they are coming in. There may be a small hole or gap in the wall or floor. Once you identify the area, caulk or fill the hole to keep any more bugs from sneaking in.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your pet, know the pet's health history, and can make the best recommendations for your pet.


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