Can I make a flat cat-safe after using ant powder?
June 22, 2015 3:18 PM   Subscribe

CatFilter: I recently used a generous amount of Rentokil ant and crawling insect powder in the hall and kitchen of my flat. Is it possible for me to clean this up to make it safe for an 8 week old kitten - particularly when the powder contains permethrin?

I recently dealt with a stubborn ant infestation by using some totally environmentally unfriendly ant powder. Tomorrow I am meeting a kitten I might adopt. I knew I would have to clear the powder up thoroughly before bringing a cat into the house, but it's only reading the fine print now that I've realized the powder is particularly dangerous for cats, as it contains permethrin.

More info:

- I used a lot of ant powder in the crevices around the wall/floor. I have now hoovered and scrubbed the area, so no powder is really visible but some areas are hard to clean (think poor-fitting lino, cracks in skirting board)
- I can keep the kitten shut in another part of the house for now, but I'm not sure how worried I should be about trace amounts being spread through the house
- reading about permethrin poisoning is freaking me out, and obviously I won't adopt the kitten if it wouldn't be safe in the flat

As ever, any advice is appreciated - or pointers as to where to look for guidance.
posted by the cat's pyjamas to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
From what I read it takes 1ml of 45% permathin approximately to be leathal which where this is seen most often is in flea and tick gel for dogs. That is a pretty direct exposure, licking the pesticide off another animal.

However your kitten is tiny and developing. I'd probobly wait until the cat has grown up a bit. You may think about a 6 month old to year old cat instead. Also it may be good to look up how it degrades. It may be ineffective by now.
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:27 PM on June 22, 2015

I would recommend calling a vet and asking. Mention details about the insecticide: that it is a powder, that it contains permethrin, what percentage concentration, how much was used (e.g. 30% of a 300mL bottle), where it was used, how you tried to clean, and how long ago it was applied (it may naturally degrade over time).

I like that you are erring on the side of caution.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 3:29 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I would recommend calling a vet

I work in veterinary medicine, and I would not recommend calling a vet in this case. Most vets are not very experienced with toxicology. Instead, call a pet poison control line. They cost money, but it's probably cheaper than a veterinary ER visit should things go poorly.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:00 PM on June 22, 2015 [14 favorites]

I'm stuck on the train and interested in this post. Google told me that permathin degradesign rather quickly in soil. It half life is 28 days.
Really direct contact with gels is the main culprit of poisoning.
Check with animal control and or wait a few months to degrade on its own to be super safe.
posted by AlexiaSky at 4:16 PM on June 22, 2015

I would mop with liberal amounts of hot water, let dry, and mop again. Should get rid of most of it.

Also change your vacuum bag/cannister, if you haven't. You don't want to risk sending the chemical into the air next time you vacuum.
posted by zennie at 6:48 PM on June 22, 2015

Thanks all for the replies, and particularly to Rock Steady for pointing me towards the Poison Control helpline. I actually live in the UK, but there's no equivalent service here so I ended up Skype calling them. They were really helpful, reassured me that the insecticide I used contained a very small percentage of permethrin so I could just clean it up thoroughly - pretty much as zennie described above - and they actually didn't charge for the call. I definitely recommend the service for anyone who has similar worries. Thank you for all your answers!
posted by the cat's pyjamas at 9:42 AM on June 23, 2015 [5 favorites]

I thought maybe you were not in the US (pyjamas, flat, hoovering, skirting boards), and I wasn't sure if they'd take an international call, but I figured I'd mention it. Glad to know they were able to help.
posted by Rock Steady at 10:16 AM on June 23, 2015 [1 favorite]

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