Nothing is more disgusting than finding a roach somewhere in your house. They can skitter out from any number of hiding places and send you screaming and running for some sort of weapon! But what if something in your house is attracting them?
Cockroaches are not super picky about what they eat or where they live; they want food, water, and shelter, all of which they can find in even the cleanest of homes. But many people wonder if some of their pet supplies, particularly cat litter, draw these nasty critters in.
Generally speaking, most cat litter does not specifically draw roaches into your home. Dirty litter boxes and certain types of litter, particularly the biodegradable types, can attract roaches, but these are most likely not the primary cause of roaches entering your space. Using a non-biodegradable litter and cleaning your litter box regularly can help you keep roaches out.
- What types of cat litter appeal to roaches?
- What are roaches attracted to?
- Are roaches attracted to urine?
- How can I prevent roaches from getting in?
- How can I protect my cat while still getting rid of roaches?
- What are the most common types of cat litter?
- Are roaches harmful to cats?
- Can I use essential oils to get rid of roaches?
- Related Questions (FAQ)
What types of cat litter appeal to roaches?
Biodegradable cat litters do hold some appeal for roaches because the litter itself can be used as a food source. Since roaches are not overly selective about what they eat, wheat, pine, corn, and other types of biodegradable litter may draw them in. Even using shredded paper as litter can provide another food source for cockroaches. Dirty cat litter also provides an opportunity for roaches to munch.
The scents from your cat’s urine and excrement may alert them to the fact that there is a food source available. If you do not clean your cat’s litter box regularly, you are more likely to attract roaches looking for something to eat.
What are roaches attracted to?
Cockroaches are attracted to any number of things in a home, but their main needs are food, water, and shelter. When it comes to food, roaches are satisfied with whatever is lying around. If you give them access to it, they will find it. This includes crumbs on the floor, food on plates left in the sink, and sticky spills on rugs or furniture. Roaches don’t stop with just food, either. They eat cardboard, human hair, wallpaper, book bindings, and animal waste.
Roaches have an even stronger need for water than for food. Even a small leak or an open water source (i.e. a pet’s water bowl) will draw them in because they can access water easily. They like to live and hide in moist, warm places such as basements and garages.
Certain kinds of roaches are also attracted to light and warmth. As seasons change, you may be more likely to find roaches in your home as they seek shelter from the cold.
Are roaches attracted to urine?
Roaches are attracted to any strong smells because of their desire to find food. Urine does have a powerful smell, so if you do not regularly clean your litter box, the smell of cat urine can alert the roaches to the fact that food may be available. Using a non-biodegradable litter and keeping the litter box clean can help cut down the attraction.
How can I prevent roaches from getting in?
We have already discussed what roaches are attracted to- food, water, and shelter. Roaches can enter your house through tiny cracks, through pipes or drains, through torn window screens, or through unsealed windows. Check common entry points regularly and make sure to repair any cracks or leaky pipes as soon as you find them.
When it comes to food, make sure you use tightly sealed containers to store leftovers. Use trash cans with lids that shut tightly, and wash your dishes right away instead of leaving them for later. Try to eliminate any standing water in your home or yard, which includes bird baths or puddles in your garage. There are several options for cockroach sprays available, but many of these can also be harmful to your pets. Although they are quick and effective, it is important to double check that any spray you buy is also pet safe.
How can I protect my cat while still getting rid of roaches?
Along with the preventative measures mentioned above, there are several natural options you can use to keep roaches out of your home. One that your kitty may prefer over all others is catnip! This delectable feline favorite does not kill cockroaches, but it should be repellent enough that it will keep them out of your home. Place it in any spot you see roaches frequently to keep them away and to give your pet a special treat to find!
Another common roach repellent is diatomaceous earth, a white powder made from fossilized diatoms. Diatoms are a type of algae that is found worldwide. This substance is found in many of the products that people use everyday, including toothpaste and dynamite. It can be purchased in different forms, so make sure that you buy food grade diatomaceous earth. It is safe for use around pets and children.
Sprinkle it in places you commonly see roaches. It breaks down their exoskeletons so they cannot survive. They do not die right away, but it works! They also carry it back to their nests, which can help eliminate the problem where it starts.
What are the most common types of cat litter?
There are several options for cat owners to fill their litter boxes with. These range from the extremely popular clay litter, to corn, to paper, with many other choices in between.
- Clay is probably the most popular type of cat litter because it is easy to find and relatively inexpensive. You can buy clumping or non-clumping clay litter, though non-clumping tends to be cheaper. All clay litter is non-biodegradable and tends to be dusty.
- Silica gel litter, or crystal litter, although more expensive than clay litter, is gaining popularity. This litter is biodegradable and absorbs urine well. It is also low-odor and lasts for a long time, so many cat owners prefer it to clay litter.
- Natural cat litters can be made from several different materials. They are biodegradable but may clump together less than silica gel or clay litter. Some of the most common natural litters are made from:
- Paper (short-term use for injured kitties)
Are roaches harmful to cats?
Roaches, although disgusting to humans, provide an opportunity for your cat to practice its hunting skills. Cats will often play with roaches until they defeat them, batting them around or pawing at them until the roach is dead. Cats will also eat roaches.
This is not generally a cause for concern, but you should monitor your cat carefully to make sure it does not get any pieces of the roach’s body stuck in its throat. If you live in an area where lots of pesticides are sprayed, such as an apartment building, it is wiser to not let your cat eat the roaches at all. Some pesticide residue could still be on the cockroach and could make your feline friend very ill. If your cat eating roaches becomes a common occurrence, try some of the steps below to eliminate roaches and cut down on any danger to your cat.
Can I use essential oils to get rid of roaches?
While essential oils are a commonly suggested cockroach repellent, most essential oils are not safe to use around your feline friends. Peppermint and cinnamon essential oils, which do repel cockroaches, can actually be fatal to your cat. Essential oils can be ingested and can quickly pass through a cat’s skin, ending up in the liver. Cats do not have the right enzymes in their livers to eliminate these types of toxins, and can quickly grow very sick. It is better to just avoid using essential oils in your quest to eliminate your roach problem.
- Are there different types of roaches? There are! Some of the more common ones include German roaches, Cuban cockroaches, American cockroaches, and Oriental cockroaches.
- Why does my cat play with cockroaches? Cockroaches are a good test of your pet’s hunting instincts. They are big enough to catch and crunch, and fast enough to present a challenge. Cats’ natural curiosity can cause them to chase these nasty pests.
- How quickly can I change my cat’s litter type? Cats can often be resistant to change, so completely switching the type of litter you use in one day may cause issues. Instead, try mixing the old and new litters a little at a time. Slowly add more and more of the new litter each time you change it until you have completely switched over.
Let your mind rest…as long as you are taking care of your litter box regularly, it is unlikely that your litter box is drawing roaches into your home. Easy food access, leaky pipes, and large piles of paper or cardboard are more likely to be the source of your roach problem. If you are still worried, switch to a non-biodegradable litter and try some natural, cat-safe remedies to repel these pests from your home.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a work-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. I have been blogging for the last 5 years. I worked for other mom blogs, did hundreds of product reviews and buyers’ guides. Prior to that, I was a staff accountant at a big accounting firm. Needless to say researching and numbers are my passion. My goal is to be an informative source for any topic that relates to mom’s life and homemaking. The site contains baby product reviews, thoughts on family life, frugal ideas, vegan recipes, and ideas for how to create a natural, healthy home.