Is Baking Soda Safe For Cats And Can You Use it for Flea Control?

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Baking soda is a common household product. You use it in the kitchen and around the house for a handful of reasons. One of the most common uses of baking soda is to control or minimize odors in the home. If you have a pet cat or multiple cats, you might want to use baking soda for that purpose and probably have questions regarding its safety. We’ve gathered all the information needed to explain the relationship between your cat and baking soda and just how safe it is.

Generally, baking soda is safe to use in a home with cats but not directly on them. If your cat ingests a large amount of baking soda, it could be harmful. If using baking soda on a surface that you’re cat may lick, make sure to vacuum or otherwise clean the area before letting Kitty use it.

Used in the right quantities, this versatile household ingredient can be useful and very beneficial for a pet owner. Read on as we discuss where baking soda can be used as a cat parent and what happens if Kitty ingests too much of the stuff.

A long haired orange and white car sleeping on his small pouf bed

Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is a salt-based product and typically comes in a fine powder form. In terms of its chemistry, baking soda is, in fact, a base. It is alkaline (the opposite of acidic). If you bake, you probably have a mixture of baking soda and dry acid in your kitchen. That mixture is commonly known as baking powder. Once the base and acid in the baking powder come in contact with the liquids in the cake mixture, a chemical reaction takes place, generating tiny bubbles that give your cake more volume.

You might think that adding baking soda to our food means it’s safe to use around our cats. However, outside of baking powder, sodium bicarbonate can still act as a powerful base. Ingesting it on its own in large quantities can be dangerous to your pet.

Is baking soda toxic for cats?

As with any substance, this is a question of quantity. According to the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists, a cat weighing up to 10 lbs can be poisoned if ingesting more than a third of a spoonful of baking soda.

When a cat ingests a toxic amount of baking soda, symptoms show up within three hours of ingestion and usually include vomiting as the first sign. If left untreated, a baking soda toxic episode can lead to diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, and shortness of breath, among other symptoms.

If you suspect that your cat ingested a large amount of baking soda, please contact your veterinarian immediately.

Let’s take a closer look at common uses of baking soda in our homes and how safe they are for cats.

Is Baking Soda On Carpet Safe For Cats?

Using baking soda on the carpet is safe when it comes to your cat. Most carpet deodorizers have a base of baking soda, ensuring the safety of this ingredient for the cats of your home. When used on carpet, the potential contact point would be carpet to skin for your cat. In such tiny amounts, this contact does not pose a threat to your furry friend.

Do you have a cat who licks the carpet? Cats do strange things, and this wouldn’t be the first. If your cat is known to lick the carpet, and you are concerned about them ingesting baking soda, go over your carpet with a vacuum thoroughly. The baking soda will have done its job, and you can have peace of mind.

A woman putting baking sofa on the carpet

Can I Deodorize My Cat’s Bed With Baking Soda?

Yes, you can deodorize your cat’s bed with baking soda.  The ability to absorb odor is baking soda’s superpower. Use baking soda to de-funk your cat’s bedding by sprinkling it over the bedding and working it into the fabric. After 20 to 30 minutes, vacuum up the baking soda from the bedding.

A long haired orange and white car sleeping on his small pouf bed

Maybe sprinkling the baking soda over the fabric is not enough. For a deep clean, you could try putting your cat’s bedding in the washer with a 1/2-cup of baking soda. This will eliminate odors and also work out stains that the bedding may have.

Can I Sprinkle Baking Soda In The Litter Box?

Using baking soda for odor control in the litter box is common, and yes, many cat owners do that. Adding one to two tablespoons of baking soda to the bottom of your litter box could potentially help mask odors when your cat kicks up the litter. Avoid putting the baking soda right on top of the litter. You want to have some litter covering the baking soda to avoid extra dust in the litter box.

While baking soda can work well when it comes to containing urine smells, according to some sources, it can also backfire and increase the smell if you use too much. What’s worse, using too much baking soda in the litter could lead to your cat ingesting substantial amounts over time which could be harmful.

You can oftentimes find cat litter brands with baking soda as part of the mixture. Some companies use other forms of odor-locking substances too. Your safest bet is to use one of these brands rather than accidentally add too much baking soda to your cat’s litter.

Keep in mind that your cat’s litter box still needs regular cleaning. Baking soda may help reduce odor but does not clean the box. Depending on what type of litter you have, you should be cleaning your litter box at least once a day.

Amazon offers a highly absorbent, multi-cat litter containing baking soda here.

Read more on our blog post, “How To Effectively Eliminate Litter Box Odor In Your Home.”

Does Baking Soda Kill Fleas?

A combination of table salt and baking soda will work to dehydrate fleas, their larva, and eggs. Dehydrating a pest is certainly not a fast process as you’ll have to make sure the live fleas come in contact with the baking soda.

Can you use baking soda directly on your cat for flea control?

It’s best not to use baking soda directly on your kitty, and the same goes for table salt. Cats lick themselves, so there’s a real risk of ingesting a significant amount of the mixture. Sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride (table salt) are chemicals that can harm any living being if ingested in large quantities. While these substances are not highly toxic, they could be difficult to remove, and you won’t know just how much your cat ingested.

If your cat has fleas, it’s best to stick to using a cat-safe topical solution such as Advantage or Frontline. If they don’t work well enough, talk to your veterinarian to see if local fleas respond better to a different kind of cat-safe pesticide.

Can you use baking soda in your home for flea control?

While the mixture of salt and baking soda will kill a flea, this natural pesticide is typically slow-acting. You will need to practice patience when using homemade flea remedies, and it may be best used as a preventive method rather than a solution to a flea problem. If you already have a flea infestation in your home, it’s best to call a licensed exterminator and talk to them about cat-safe options.

A tabby white British shorthair cat scratching his neck

You can try using the baking soda and salt mixture on your carpet, hardwood floors, and furniture. When using this mix in your home, it can be applied in powder form or a spray solution.

You can combine the spray in a bottle with 1/4-cup salt, 1/4-cup baking soda, two cups of water, and 1/4-cup of apple cider vinegar. You will have to apply the mixture multiple times over the next few months to completely rid the home of fleas in either form.

What Does Baking Soda Toxicity Look Like?

We mentioned that baking soda could be toxic to cats if ingested in large amounts. A large amount of baking soda for a cat would be over 1/2-tablespoon. Baking soda has an extremely salty taste to it. This taste will typically deter your cat from eating large amounts or small amounts of baking soda.

If you are unsure your cat ingested this amount of baking soda, some signs or symptoms would indicate toxicity. The first sign you may see is vomiting. Other symptoms can include depression, diarrhea, tremors, seizures, and shortness of breath.

If you are worried that your cat did ingest this amount of baking soda or note any of these symptoms, you should reach out to your Veterinarian or a Pet Poison Hotline.

In Summary

Baking soda has a ton of great uses. It is great for odor control in many forms, a natural pesticide, and in almost all cases, is safe for your cat. To minimize any potential harm to your cat, you can be mindful of how much baking soda is used on or around them.

We hope you found this article helpful in explaining the relationship between baking soda and your cat and has provided you with some new uses of this common household product.

2 comments on “Is Baking Soda Safe For Cats And Can You Use it for Flea Control?

catsknowme May 27, 2021
This is a good article but the link to the Arm&Hammer cat litter is for a product that has fragrance. Many cats cannot tolerate fragrances whether it be nasal irritation or diarrhea from rectal irritation and itching.
Caspers Human May 26, 2021
Please excuse me for seeming picky but, as a Chemistry Technician, I have to comment or else my head might explode. ;) Sodium bicarbonate isn't "salt-based." Sodium bicarbonate IS A SALT. The term "salt" can be easily confused. Most people think of "salt" as that stuff you sprinkle on your dinner to make it taste better. To a chemist, the word "salt" means the substance you get when you react an acid and a base together. Sorry to be so picky but I just don't want anybody to get the idea that baking soda is like table salt. It is not. As far as toxicity goes, it is about as harmful to cats as it is people. It would take somewhere in the range of 20 grams of baking soda per kilogram of body weight to make a human or a cat get sick. But... here's the rub... A cat is a lot smaller than a human. If a human man weighs 100 kg, it might take up to two kilos of baking soda to make him sick. For a cat, it might only take 100 or 200 grams of the stuff to make them sick. Depending on how big your spoon is, that could easily be in the "spoonful" range. I would not use baking soda on or around my cat unless it was [u]absolutely[/u] necessary but neither would I ban if from my home. I would use it normally and just be careful to make sure that the cat doesn't get into it... Just the same way I would make sure that kids don't get into it.

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