If you must, call us cat lovers. CIA Labs has developed a new HPLC method for detecting and analyzing pyrethrins and pyrethroids.
On the market today, many of the pest control products for pets contain pyrethrins and pyrethroids, and they do their job brilliantly and safely. But beware…
The ones containing pyrethroids can kill your cat.
Pyrethrins are natural
Chrysanthemum plants have been used insect repellants as far back as the Chinese Ming Dynasty, perhaps even further. Place chrysanthemums around the house and they can keep mosquitos away. Planted in the garden as companion plants, they repel aphids, cabbage worms, and other insects.
The chrysanthemums are so effective, an insecticide industry has risen from the pyrethrins contained within them. Its seed pods are harvested for its pyrethrum (any number of pyrethrins). Pyrethrins are extracted and then suspended in oils and water for use in insecticide sprays and foggers, mixed in powder for flea powders.
According to this [Oregon State University Extension Pyrethrum, Pyrethrins, Pyrethroids document], Pyrethrins include…
- cinerin I
- cinerin II
- jasmolin I
- jasmolin II
- pyrethrin I
- pyrethrin II
Pyrethrins are generally safe for mammals. For most insects, however, it’s a different story. Pyrethrins can cause the insect’s nervous systems to fire repeatedly, thus usually resulting in its death. Again, pyrethrins are natural, and therefore, causes the insect’s death natuarlly.
Pyrethroids are not natural
Pyrethrums’s effectiveness, unfortunately, wears off all too quickly. Exposure to the sun makes them unsuited as agriculture pesticides. Flea powders require constant re-applying. To combat this, pyrethroids were created in the laboratory. These are generally safe for most mammals, except—you guessed it—cats.
Pyrethroids are found in many dog pesticides, namely fleas and ticks spot-on treatments. Pyrethroids have founded wide use throughout the pesticide industry.
Really, really, read those labels
It turns out that cat owners are treating their cats with dog-only spot-on treatments, which is tragic. Cats have been dying.
We are not veterinarians. But we do a lot of contract laboratory analysis work for the animal pharmaceutical industry.
By the way, we do love cats. We love dogs too. We hate ticks and fleas as much as the next guy.
Read those labels.
Other Resources regarding Pyrethrum and Pyrethroids:
Australian Veterinary Journal report on the toxicity of permethrines in cats, (Volume 86, Issue 1-2, pages 32–35, January 2008)
Pyrethrum; this one is hard to read because of its page background.