Jeff Ryan, Author & Speaker

"cute cat" by Helgi Halldórsson/Freddi is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Permethrin Tick Repellent and Cats Don’t Mix

In recent years, spraying clothing or gear with the insecticide Permethrin has become a popular way to help reduce the chance of getting Lyme disease. (Permethrin essentially prevents tick bites.)

But if you own pets, beware. The concentration of permethrin used to prevent ticks on dogs (typically 45% or higher) can cause tremors, seizures and, in some cases, death to cats. If you own a dog and a cat and are considering using permethrin-based products on your canine(s), be sure to consult your vet first. 

While the concentration of permethrin in sprays intended for clothing and gear is much lower than concentrations meant for dogs (commonly only 1%-5% vs. 45% or higher), it is still a good idea for cat owners to do the following:

  1. Spray clothing and gear outside and allow it to dry fully before using.
  2. Never leave permethrin-treated items near where your cat sleeps.
  3. As an extra precaution, store treated clothing and gear away from places your cat can access (perhaps a cellar, attic, a storage bin, or behind a closet door).  

This piece speaks about the above in more detail. I just wanted the hiking community to be aware of the issues.

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Jeffrey H Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America's trail was hailed by the former Executive Editor of National Geographic as "a classic of nature and travel writing" and set off a national tour (in a 1985 VW camper, no less). His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Jeff isn't trekking, chasing down a great story or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. He spends much of his time in his beloved native state of Maine.

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