Keeping ticks away has always been an annoying challenge for me, and it’s even harder with pets, as there are really only so many things that work.
I definitely prefer to use natural ingredients when I can, especially around my kids, but this can be challenging with cats as there are some essential oils that are actually toxic to them.
So what are the best natural tick repellents for cats?
The best natural tick repellents for cats are sprays that include cat-safe ingredients and essential oils that have been processed to be safe for cats. Look for tick sprays from brands including Cedarcide, Wondercide, Natural Care, and Vet’s Best.
Ticks can carry scary diseases as well as bacteria, and you’ll find that taking a tick off of your cat can be a grueling effort.
For this reason, it’s always best to give your cat some protection against ticks, but before you choose a solution you’ll want to keep a few things in mind that I’ll touch on below.
Using Natural Tick Repellents with Cats – Things to Keep in Mind
When I find a natural product that actually works on ticks, I tend to opt for it just because I have the peace of mind that it’s safe around family or pets.
However, when it comes to cats you have to be a little more cautious, and there are a few extra things you’ll need to keep in mind.
1. Read Labels to Avoid Harmful Ingredients
Cats are especially sensitive to certain chemicals within many natural essential oils that are commonly used to deter ticks.
Essential oils contain compounds called phenols which can cause several side effects and even be fatal to cats if formulated improperly (Cedarcide does a great job of explaining this on their site).
When it comes to choosing a repellent, you should always make sure that the brand filters out these compounds.
If the repellent has essential oils on the label (which most natural tick repellents include), always be sure to do your research on the manufacturing process.
You should avoid products that contain the following:
- Permentrin (neurotoxic to cats)
- Essential oils that are harmful to cats
You would think that essential oils would be safe to use in cats because they are natural and a great alternative to chemicals for use humans. However, this is not the case.
Below are the top 10 most toxic essential oils according to the ASPCA Poison Control Center.
- Wintergreen oil
- Peppermint oil
- Pine oil
- Clove oil
- Tea tree/Melaleuca oil
- Citrus oil or those containing d-limonene
- Ylang Ylang
- Cinnamon oil
- Pennyroyal oil
Of these clove oil and peppermint oil are commonly used in tick repellents so always check the labels before purchasing and applying it to your cat.
2. Opt for FDA-approved or EPA-registered Products
Products that are FDA-approved or EPA-registered will not only be safer but likely more effective against ticks. You can check if products are approved on labels or the site where you purchase.
It’s also important to mention that you should only be using products that are specified for cats, as the tick-repellent formulas for dogs and us humans can oftentimes be harmful to cats.
If the spray or collar or shampoo doesn't say it's safe for use with cats (eg. it just says safe for use with dogs) then DON'T BUY IT as it could harm your cat.
Specifically seek out products that say they are safe for use with cats.
3. Watch Your Pet After Applying
This is a good rule of thumb when applying any product, but especially with pets it’s important to keep a close eye on them after applying any sort of spray or solution.
Since cats can be sensitive to tick repellents, you should always be sure to check up on your cat for any adverse reactions or sickness caused by a spray.
If you do see a reaction, you may want to consult with a vet to find the best tick solution for your pet’s needs.
Cedarcide is a tick repellent formula created using cedarwood oil, which is one of the more effective natural deterrents against ticks.
Cedarcide’s formula is made with the EPA’s guidelines for a “minimum risk pesticide”, and what I like most is that it’s not only one of the most effective natural tick solutions, but they clearly acknowledge and take precautions to make sure that their formula is safe for cats specifically.
You’ll need to reapply their spray every 5-7 hours or as needed, and while that may seem like a low number, it’s a relatively long lasting repellency compared to other natural solutions (most natural repellents only last a few hours).
Since Cedarcide is a natural solution, it’s safe to apply around kids, on clothes, and obviously for pets, and they even have granules and other solutions to use around your home and garden.
See the latest price of Cedarcide Original Tick Spray on Amazon.
Cedarcide Original is a plant-based and family-safe bug spray for use directly on people, indoor spaces, and your pets. Original Protects your family from harmful bugs like Mosquitoes, Fleas, Ticks Ants, and Mites.
Wondercide is another cedarwood oil product that works great to keep ticks off of your cats.
Similar to Cedarcide, Wondercide dilutes their products to keep out phenolic compounds, making their formula safe for cats.
Wondercide recommends that their product be applied every 2-3 days for effectiveness, or when entering a high-risk area for ticks, but depending on how often your cat stays outside I think it’s best to keep a steady schedule for applying.
Wondercide recommends their 4 oz Cedarwood scent bottle for cats since it’ll be easier to avoid overapplying the solution, but I also like that you can choose from the multiple scents they provide.
Proven-to-work spray formula that repels 98% of mosquitoes. In addition to being a plant-based mosquito repeller, this spray will kill and repel hundreds of common pests, such as gnats, ticks, fleas, no-see-ums, spiders, and other biting flies.
DEET free and gentle and safe for people and pets of all ages
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Although there isn’t much research or evidence to suggest apple cider vinegar can effectively deter or kill ticks, many people, especially pet owners, claim the stuff works like a charm to keep the pesky parasites away.
It’s hard to find good all-natural tick solutions for cats since most essential oils are toxic to felines (and unfortunately most all-natural tick repellents contain them). So, experimenting with an apple cider vinegar solution could turn out to be the safest solution for your pet if it works out.
If you want to give ACV a shot, mix apple cider vinegar with water at a 1:4 ratio. You’ll probably have an easier time applying your solution if you invest in a handy spray bottle for your mixture.
The best part about this stuff is that it can be applied to fur, bedding, and collars, so it’s a good way of adding protection wherever your cat goes. If you find that the spray is leaving a sticky residue or feeling, you may want to dilute a bit more excessively.
Since the stuff isn’t very well studied or proven, I’d definitely suggest checking your cat for ticks every now and then while testing the solution. If you do find it to be ineffective, you may need a stronger solution.
4. Cedarcide Granules (Outdoor Protection)
I always had outdoor cats growing up and whenever they prowled around they would not only come back dirty, but every once in a while they would pick up a few bugs including ticks.
If your cat wanders the outdoors around your home, applying a natural yard and garden tick solution may go a long ways in protecting your cats from the buggers.
Similar to their topical solution, Cedarcide granules are applied topically in the yard, garden, or around the perimeter of your home to keep ticks away. The granules are sprinkled monthly and provide the same dehydrating and discombobulating effect on ticks that the spray provides.
Taking care of your cat’s surroundings is just as important as their coat when it comes to preventing ticks, especially since it can be difficult to find all natural tick solutions for cats.
Because of this, I’d definitely recommend spending some time getting rid of ticks around your home if you have an outdoor cat.
Protect your lawn from harmful pests without endangering your family or pets. Cedar Insect Repelling Granules are ready-to-use 100% Pure Cedar Tree Shavings that keep out fleas, mosquitoes, mites, ticks and ants without harmful chemicals or Toxins.