Organophosphates
and Your Cat's Health

"Bottom line: Avoid flea control products with organophosphates and carbamates.
They are extremely toxic to your cat."

General Information

Organophosphates are very common insecticides found in all types of products. They are extremely toxic and are responsible for most pet poisonings.

Most of these insecticides are easily absorbed through your cat's skin, eyes, stomach, and lungs. They essentially work by paralyzing the nervous system of the fleas. 

Hopefully, you will never have to use this flea control method, but if you must use a flea control product with this insecticide, be sure to read the label and follow the directions exactly as written or as recommended by your trusted veterinarian. 


Side Effects

When using a flea control product with this insecticide, you should carefully watch your cat for any signs of illness. 

The following symptoms are initial signs of an overdose or the possible side effects of long-term use:

  • increased salivation

  • involuntary defecation

  • urination

  • vomiting

  • taking a wide stance

If any of these symptoms appear in your cat, consult with your trusted veterinarian immediately. 

These symptoms may progress to a difficulty in standing, weakness, convulsions, tremors, constricted pupils, teary eyes, slow heartbeat, and labored breathing. This flea killer may also cause dermatitis and may aggravate heart and respiratory disease. 

Reading Flea Product Labels

black cat in a boxNeko Reading(?)

The seven most common organophosphates are:

  • Chlorpyrifos

  • Dichlorvos

  • Phosmet

  • Naled

  • Tetrachlorvinphos

  • Diazinon

  • Malathion

The National Resources Defense Council recommends avoiding products containing these chemicals. 

In addition to these seven, this chemical is also listed on the labels of flea products as Cythioate, DDVP, Dursban, Endothion, Fenthion, Korlan, Neguvon, Parathion, Phosmet, Propetamphos, Ronnel, Trichlorfon, and Vapona. 

Fenthion and Cythioate should not be used for your cat, your puppy or your sick dog. Fenthion may cause chronic appetite and weight loss, and depression, as well as mild head and neck tremors. 

Vapona (DDVP, Dichlorvos) has been widely used since the 1950s and may pose a significant leukemia hazard. Malathion and Ronnel are considered among the least toxic of this group of insecticides. 

Products with organochlorines are less immediately toxic to your cat than those with organophosphates or carbamates, but have their own potential side effects. 

Safer Alternatives for Flea Control Products

Natural flea control products are generally the safest to choose to keep your cat safe from the toxic effects of dangerous chemicals.

Natural flea control methods are often best in preventing flea problems. If you find you must use additional methods, flea products containing "insect growth regulators" or "IGRs" are the next safest method to control fleas.


Related Topics

Didn't find what you're looking for? Use this Search Box to find more information. Or visit the articles below.



Other Common Flea Insecticides - More information about commonly used insecticides in pet products.

All About Flea Control - Article with info on fleas and keeping your kitty safe from them.


Top of page

From Organophosphates to My Healthy Cat home




If you suspect your cat is ill, please contact your veterinarian immediately.
The material presented in this site is for informational and entertainment purposes
only. It is not intended to replace your veterinarian's advice.
Copyright 2003-2017 © www.myhealthycat.com

Contact Us | About UsDisclosure | Privacy Policy