Borax For Fleas: Is It Safe Or Toxic To Use Around Cats?

Just because you’re keeping your cat strictly indoors it doesn’t mean the kitty can’t attract fleas. Or that these nasty pests won’t infest your home.

I’ve already done an extensive guide on how to control cat fleas efficiently, but today I want to talk about a popular alternative method many of you have probably already heard of – using borax as a flea preventative and treatment remedy.

Now, you may know that borax is used in a variety of commercially available products, including detergents sold under the same name. When it comes to cleaning, it’s far more efficient than baking soda. As such, it has numerous applications in a plethora of household products, including some tooth-bleaching toothpastes. But can it kill fleas? And more importantly – is borax safe or toxic to use around cats? Well, that’s a whole different story.

Can you use borax to treat fleas?

To put it shortly, the answer is yes. Regardless of how insignificant or severe the flea infestation is, the compound will kill off these nasty creatures. It serves as a strong dehydrator for the fleas’ environment. Additionally, its microscopic powder particles can penetrate the fleas’ skin, thus killing them on the spot. It’s so efficient that it can even kill off the larvae as they’re hatching.

On the other hand, it can’t get rid of flea eggs. As wondrous as it acts against hatching or already hatched pests, it won’t do anything for the eggs.

Furthermore, borax and especially boric acid can even harm your skin and fabrics if you’re not being careful. Decolorization of carpets, upholstery and other fabrics is a common issue because borax acts as a bleaching agent. Boric acid, on the other hand, is a compound derived from borax that’s been mixed with other chemicals. As a result, it’s significantly stronger and may cause more damage than pure borax.

Is borax safe for cats?

Unfortunately, no.

Borax can lead to a number of health complications, including allergies, breathlessness and poisoning. It’s just as toxic to your cat’s skin as it is to the internal organs.

In other words, you should NEVER put borax directly on the kitty’s skin to treat fleas. And you should never, ever allow a cat inside a room that’s currently being treated with borax. Just inhaling, let alone digesting, some of the compound can have potentially fatal consequences for your precious feline friend.

The same goes for boric acid – keep it away from cats at all times, unless you want to deal with an inevitable case of a toxic reaction.

There are far safer alternatives for treating your pet’s fur and skin against fleas. Spot on topical solutions, oral medicine, sprays and flea collars are some popular and widely available options. Borax might seem more efficient at first, but it can harm your pet in more troublesome and life-threatening ways than the fleas ever could.

Is boric acid safe for cats?

Boric acid is derived from pure borax. But unlike the latter compound, boric acid is usually a mixture of borax and numerous other chemicals, which is what makes it more effective than pure borax. However, that’s also what makes it more dangerous.

Keep both borax and boric acid away from your pet’s reach, regardless of how severe the flea problem is. Opting for vet-approved solutions is much safer than these homemade remedies. Exposure to borax or boric acid can be potentially harmful to you, and it definitely is to young children. Avoiding borax is not just about your kitty’s safety, but also about preventing harm to the rest of the people who are residing in your household.

What to do if your cat sniffs/ licks borax?

If by some chance your furry friend has managed to inhale or lick borax or boric acid, immediately call your vet, even if it’s after working hours.

Borax can be fatal to your cat.

Best case scenario, the compound will only result in mild skin irritation or a short-term respiratory issue. Unfortunately, it can have a toxic impact even on overall healthy felines.

Should your cat sniff/ lick borax or boric acid, don’t wait around for any symptoms to appear. Instead, seek a vet’s help immediately. I can’t possibly stress enough on how crucial it is to keep all pets (feline, canine or other species) away from borax. Despite of what other pet owners might be telling you, using vet-approved solutions even for extreme flea infestations is better than using borax or boric acid, regardless of their efficiency. If you do have a case of severe infestation, do your furball a favor and just consult with the doc.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!