Cat Safety Question
March 7, 2013 8:04 AM   Subscribe

Our apartment complex just sprayed for bugs around the baseboards in the kitchen. I don't know what spray they used, but it's not the kind where they make you empty your cupboards. Is it safe for our cat, Captain Tightpants who is just under a year old, to frolic around, or should he be kept locked in the bathroom for a while? And if so, how long?
posted by radiopaste to Pets & Animals (12 answers total)
My first inclination would be to ask your apartment complex what kind of spray they used and how toxic it is. When my old apartment building sprayed, they would post signs "remove dishes, but safe for pets".

If they can't tell you, I wouldn't risk it. (I'd also make sure they didn't spray in the bathroom before keeping him in there, as it's a known space that cockroaches like to hangout in.)
posted by Flamingo at 8:13 AM on March 7, 2013

I would think so, but if you want to be sure, tell the apartment management folks that you've got someone coming to visit with a toddler and ask if it's okay for the kid to, well, toddle.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:14 AM on March 7, 2013

(figuring they're more likely to check if you're talking about a kid vs a pet.)
posted by rmd1023 at 8:15 AM on March 7, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions! We saw the exterminator - he was in the kitchen for less than 30 seconds and just hit the base boards, he didn't go anywhere else. In the past the apartment people have said that they don't know the name of the spray, but that they specifically get a pet friendly one which doesn't fill me with confidence.

Which leaves the question of, how long do we keep him locked up for?
posted by radiopaste at 8:17 AM on March 7, 2013

We have quarterly exterminating service for years and have never confined our cats, with no obvious ill effects. I think there is a slight odor to the chemicals that keeps them away from the sprayed areas while they're still "wet."
posted by Sweetie Darling at 8:21 AM on March 7, 2013

My apartment sprays monthly around the baseboards in my kitchen and bathroom. I asked the exterminator the first time and he said they use a pet-friendly spray because enough people have pets. He also said they use very little spray -- they have a spray tube that hits a very narrow area -- and it's not enough to affect a larger animal like a cat.

So you're likely fine. It sounds like your exterminator uses similar practices to mine; I wouldn't worry (and I tend to stay away from chemicals and would prefer a natural spray, as a data point).
posted by DoubleLune at 8:35 AM on March 7, 2013

My downstairs neighbor's cat died the day they sprayed for roaches last year. Don't know the spray name but it was supposedly "safe"
posted by bottlebrushtree at 8:41 AM on March 7, 2013

My exterminator comes to spray once a month. He said the spray is considered non-toxic, but out of an abundance of caution he asks us to confine the cats and dog for an hour after spraying while the stuff dries. We use one of the upstairs bedrooms for that, and rotate on a monthly basis which one doesn't get sprayed. We also ran that past our vet, and the vet agreed with the exterminator's advice.
posted by deadmessenger at 8:46 AM on March 7, 2013

Mine is the same as deadmessenger. The exterminator basically said keep them away while I'm spraying and also try to give it time to dry before allowing them near, especially if they are particularly licky pets. In my experience (2 dogs, 1 cat, monthly spraying - love Texas) they don't really go near the area anyway for a couple hours, probably doesn't smell great.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:02 AM on March 7, 2013

I'd say Captain Tightpants (who is adorable, by the way) will be fine to be in the kitchen once the area dries, as long as he isn't prone to licking the baseboards or whatever. I've always had cats and that's the rule of thumb once recommended to me by my vet.
posted by _Mona_ at 9:44 AM on March 7, 2013

Response by poster: We kept him locked up for 2 hours. Once released he immediately ran straight for the baseboard, took a big long sniff, and sneezed a bunch. We, of course, shooed him away, and again, and again, and again. He's finally distracted by looking out the windows. We called the vet and they think he'll be fine, but to keep an eye on him. He's a dumb cat. I scolded him and told him that mefites pets are smart enough to not huff the poison. Maybe in a little bit we'll let him do his favorite thing, play in the tub. Thanks everyone!
posted by radiopaste at 10:08 AM on March 7, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: In case anyone was still wondering, everything worked out fine. He is his same asshole, adorable self.
posted by radiopaste at 12:45 PM on March 14, 2013 [1 favorite]

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