Symptoms of feline reactions to Raid flea spray for pet or home treatments include lethargy, depression, drooling, vomiting, seizures, and reddened, burned-looking skin. Many serious side effects are due to overdoses in pet treatments or incorrect application of the product in the home.
The active ingredient of Raid is permethrin. Cats are extremely sensitive to this product, and even a few drops of concentrated permethrin are lethal. Read the label before you purchase any product.
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Raid flea spray
In a concentration of 0.1 percent, pyrethrin is safe for cats. Raid Flea Killer Plus carpet and room spray contains a concentration of 0.140 percent pyrethrin. The instructions indicate that Raid should be sprayed evenly on all fabric surfaces, including carpets, upholstery, and pet bedding, to ensure the complete elimination of fleas. The spray can linger in carpets for months after being applied. Raid and other home sprays can adhere to cats' fur, which they can lick off and ingest. This can lead to a toxic overdose.
Permethrin and pyrethroids
Permethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid. Pyrethrins are compounds of six pyrethroids. They are often used in insecticides and are toxic. Pyrethroids break down the sodium ion channel in nerves, leading to paralysis and death when ingested by insects. They also lead to similar symptoms in humans.
Cats and other animals have enzymes in their blood that rapidly break down pyrethroids. They are able to remove the toxic quality of the chemical before it affects them. However, their livers don't produce a sufficient amount of the enzymes needed to break down permethrin. Permethrin and pyrethroids can last for 2 1/2 months in carpets.
Organophosphate poisoning in cats
Organophosphate products block the breakdown of acetylcholine, which interferes with the nerve signals in the brains of insects, pets, and humans. The resulting build-up of acetylcholine kills the insect and can cause death in pets and humans. Cats are very vulnerable to organophosphates because they lack enzymes for metabolizing or detoxifying these chemicals.
Feline first aid for Raid
If you know your cat is reacting badly to Raid flea spray or another flea or pet treatment, wash him in warm, soapy water to remove any residue of the treatment. Use thick rubber gloves when you wash your cat, as he is likely going to struggle and claw at you. Use Dawn or Ivory soap and make sure not to get it in his eyes. Take him to your veterinarian afterward.
Call your veterinarian for advice on what to do if your cat is exhibiting minor symptoms (rash, drooling, or depression), as these symptoms can also be caused by other diseases or illnesses. If your cat is having a seizure, is vomiting, or is unconscious, take him to your veterinarian immediately. Tell your veterinarian about any pet or home flea treatments you have used in the past six months.
Other safety considerations
Before using a pet or home flea treatment, discuss the product with your veterinarian. Always follow directions for doses and use. Never use flea treatment products on kittens, or pregnant, sick, or senior cats. Never use products labeled for small dogs as they contain higher doses of permethrin.
Consider using an organic, nontoxic flea treatment, such as diatomaceous earth, or vinegar or citrus-based sprays. Vacuum and wash bedding every three days, and comb your cat every day.