Between 2002 and 2004, only 158 cases of mothball poisoning in pets were registered to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Centre (APCC).
When it’s your pet that’s ill, though, none of it matters.
Cats do not like mothballs because they are more sensitive to the toxic effects of mothballs.
According to the APCC, the majority of these cases involve a pet swallowing a mothball, but complications can also occur when pets are exposed to mothball fumes or come into contact with their eyes.
If you have mothballs in your house, you should understand how dangerous they are and what to do if your pet comes into contact with them.
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What Are Mothballs?
Mothballs are insecticides that consume and restrain moths (and their larvae) and other insects by slowly releasing a gas vapor.
Mothballs can also be used to repel rodents, rats, and other creatures, but this is not recommended since they can hurt dogs, children, and the community.
Mothballs come in a variety of forms, including cakes, scales, flour, balls, blocks, circles, and flakes, and can include naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene (PDB), or camphor.
Naphthalene is commonly used in older mothballs. Because of the flammability and toxicity of naphthalene, most industrial mothballs now contain PDB instead.
Mothball compounds may be breathed in, ingested by the skin, or absorbed by the stomach and intestines.
Mothballs are more dangerous to cats than they are to dogs, but dogs are more likely to eat them.
The most dangerous kind of mothball is naphthalene mothballs, also known as old-fashioned mothballs.
While modern PDB mothballs are less poisonous, they can still cause illness when swallowed. Vomiting, mothball-scented breath, pale or brown gums, fatigue or lethargy, trouble breathing, tremors, epilepsy, and organ dysfunction are all symptoms of mothball poisoning (e.g., liver, kidneys).
Can Different Kinds of Mothballs Lead To a Different kind Of Toxicity?
Yes, different kinds of mothballs can cause different kinds of toxic reactions because to begin with, not all mothballs are created equal. They will contain naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene as active ingredients (p-dichlorobenzene).
In addition to mothballs, these two compounds are also available as flakes, cookies, and crystals.
Naphthalene is around twice as toxic as paradichlorobenzene of any type, which means a pet will consume about twice as much paradichlorobenzene before dying.
If you’re looking to buy mothballs, opt for paradichlorobenzene-based mothballs.
Naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene toxicity have varying effects. When naphthalene is consumed, it affects the stomach tract first, causing vomiting and a loss of appetite, but the complications don’t end there.
Naphthalene often harms a pet’s red blood cells, causing anemia, brown mucous membranes, nausea, lethargy, and even seizures. Cataracts and liver injury are also potential complications.
Naphthalene can also be ingested by the skin and lungs, but ingestion causes the most serious complications.
Disorientation, tremors, difficulties breathing, drooling, depression, and seizures are some of the signs linked with paradichlorobenzene poisoning in pets.
Cataracts and liver injury are also possible side effects. Red blood cell loss and anemia are possible in exceptional circumstances.
Paradichlorobenzene can cause a burning sensation and local discomfort when it comes into contact with the skin.
Both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene contain gases that are irritating to the nose, skin, and lungs. When pets are exposed to mothball fumes or maggots, they can experience swollen, watery eyes, a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.
Do Moth Balls Repel Cats?
Yes, mothballs tend to repel cats because Cats are more vulnerable to mothballs than dogs, and other animals may become ill as a result of contact.
Since inhaling mothball gases, veterinarians have confirmed numerous cases of birds exhibiting symptoms such as lethargy, fatigue, and trouble breathing. As a result, at least one bird died.
Why Are Moth Balls Used To Keep Cats Away?
Mothballs can be used to keep away cats because they have a high level of insect repellent in them.
Ingestion of mothballs by cats or dogs is the most serious cause of toxicity.
Cats are more vulnerable to the poisonous effects of mothballs, but dogs are more likely to consume them.
Pets and humans may be harmed by long-term exposure to mothball gases.
Anemia, lethargy, vomiting, and kidney or liver damage will all result from ingesting naphthalene mothballs.
The most dangerous form of mothball is “old-fashioned” naphthalene mothballs.
Ingestion of naphthalene mothballs can result in anemia, lethargy, vomiting, and kidney or liver injury.
While modern PDB mothballs are less poisonous, they can still cause illness if swallowed. Vomiting, nausea, trembling or tremors, and potential kidney or liver injury are all typical side effects of ingesting PDB mothballs.
Do Moth Balls Deter Cats?
Cats, other species, and birds are poisoned by mothballs, which are used as a pet repellent.
Electronic deterrents and certain plants and herbs will hold cats away from off-limits areas without damaging them.
It is not possible for cats to place mothballs or mothball flakes in a coffee can with holes made in the lid.
Inhaling the fumes is almost as dangerous as swallowing mothballs. Naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene is used in mothballs, mothball flakes, and mothball cookies.
While less harmful than naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene can also cause severe side effects in cats.
Imbibing or smelling naphthalene can damage a cat’s liver, kidneys, and blood cells, as well as cause brain swelling, coma, and death.
In cats, both naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene can induce drowsiness, fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, lack of appetite, behavioral changes, and seizures.
In cats, clinical symptoms of mothball toxicity will appear anywhere from minutes to hours. Mothball toxicity in cats necessitates emergency medical attention.
Check out more details about Do Moth Balls Keep Cats Away?
What to Do if Your Cat is Poisoned by Mothballs?
Keeping pets away from mothballs (or far away whether we’re talking about a bird) is clearly the only way to defend them from naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene.
Despite our best intentions, animals are occasionally revealed. What is a pet parent to do in this situation?
One naphthalene mothball is enough to make cats and small dogs very ill, but this is a case that can not be overlooked.
If you think your pet has swallowed a mothball (or has been exposed in some other way), contact your veterinarian right away.
If your cat has eaten the mothball within the last couple of hours, you should be able to get them to spit it up.
Your veterinarian can advise you to cause vomiting at home or bring your pet in for treatment, depending on your pet’s health and how far away you live from the clinic.
In this case, further care will be required until you and your veterinarian are confident that your pet has no more naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene in its system.
Gastric lavage (washing out the stomach), activated charcoal administration, or fluid therapy and medications can be used to prevent vomiting, seizures, and injury to the liver and gastrointestinal tract.
If your pet’s blood tests reveal anemia, he or she may need a blood transfusion as well as drugs to conserve red blood cells.
Do Cats Hate Moth Balls?
Cats hate mothballs because they are not attracted by the fragrance of their toxic contents.
Mothballs are sturdy poisons that emit a mist over time, killing and repelling moths, their eggs, and other insects from preserved clothing and linen.
Although this use is not recommended and can be dangerous to dogs, children, and the atmosphere, mothballs are often used to repel rodents, mice, and other wildlife.
Moth repellents come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, including cones, cubes, spheres, cakes, scales, sand, and flakes.
They can include naphthalene, paradichlorobenzene (PDB), or camphor, which are insecticides (rarely). Naphthalene is commonly used in older mothballs. Because of the flammability and toxicity of naphthalene, most modern mothballs now contain PDB.
Mothballs are intended to be used in an enclosed jar in order to keep their vapors contained. They are reasonably safe to use in a household with pets when used and stored properly.
How To Protect Your Cat from Mothballs?
Cats like playing in out-of-the-way places like closets, but if you use mothballs, danger can lurk because harmful chemicals are present in mothballs which can cause damage to their health.
Mothballs are made up of a variety of substances that work together to repel moths and drive them away from your prized garments and coats.
These chemicals, on the other hand, can pose a threat to your other pets, so you should be mindful of the dangers.
Naphthalene, a compound used in mothballs, is poisonous to cats, even though they only smell the fumes. This compound has the potential to cause significant side effects, such as dehydration, liver injury, lack of balance, and coma.
If you insist on using mothballs to save your clothing, you should take a few steps for your mothballs. Mothballs should be stored in garment bags or locked trunks.
They should be kept in areas where your cat can’t get to them; if your cat can’t get to the mothballs, it’ll be away from them and their dangerous consequences!
If you suspect your cat has been exposed to mothballs, email your veterinarian right away.
Mothballs can do the job and do what they’re supposed to do, just make sure they’re not doing more than that. Keep mothballs away from your pet, and both you and your cat will be happy!
Is It Safe To Use Mothballs?
Kids, cats, and animals that frequent your garden are at risk when mothballs are used to repel pests.
Animals and young children can mistake for food as they explore their environments by placing items in their mouth.
Only a small amount of the poisonous chemicals in mothballs will cause significant damage, necessitating medical or veterinary treatment right away.
If you ingest the gases or get the chemicals on your skin or on your eyes, mothballs in gardens can be dangerous.
Mothballs are often harmful to the ecosystem and are used in gardens. Naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene are commonly found in them.
Any of these compounds are extremely harmful and have the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater. These mothball dangers could end up harming the plants you’re trying to save.
The Environmental Protection Agency regulates mothballs, which are insecticides. This makes it illegal to use them for any reason or in any manner other than what is stated on the box.
Mothballs are only labeled for use in closed containers to keep clothes moths at bay.
Do Cats Hate The Smell Of Mothballs?
Cats hate the smell of mothballs because the fragrance of mothballs is quite pungent and thus cats feel unattracted towards them.
Mothballs serves as both a repellent and an exterminator, with the aim of killing and repelling clothes moths and their larvae (webbing clothes moth and casemaking clothes moth), as well as other fabric-infesting bugs such as carpet beetles, in stored garments and fabric.
They can, though, be a health threat for pets and anyone else in the house.
This misapplication can be stopped to keep animals like raccoons, squirrels, skunks, pigeons, and rodents out of attics and crawl spaces, as well as other home pests like mice and rats.
When eaten by a dog or cat, even one mothball may be poisonous.
Mothballs are reasonably harmless to use in a household with pets if used and stored properly, according to VCA Hospitals.
But why take a gamble as a pet parent when there is still the risk of inhalation or accidental poisoning even though you follow the instructions to the letter, and when there are healthy solutions to handling clothes moths that pose no danger to your pets or other family members?
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the smell of mothballs harmful?
Humans and livestock are both poisoned by the toxins in mothballs. Inhaling the gases from mothballs exposes people to toxins. You’re being exposed to these compounds if you detect mothballs. Long-term exposure to mothballs can damage the liver and kidneys.
Are mothballs harmful to pets?
Mothballs have a high level of insect repellent in them. Ingestion in mothballs by dogs is the most frequent cause of toxicity. Pets and humans may be harmed by long-term exposure to mothball gases. “Naphthalene mothballs can cause anemia, lethargy, vomiting, and kidney or liver damage if consumed.”
Mothballs are dangerous to dogs as cats, and as solid poisons, they contain almost 100% active chemicals that are lethal, even though only one mothball is consumed.
Dogs are most likely to consume a mothball, and cats are especially vulnerable to toxic vapor.
Mothballs become a threat to pets and persons in the household when they are poorly handled or used, such as tossed loose into an attic or wardrobe, or used for some use other than destroying fabric-infesting insects in a sealed, airtight bag. Never use mothballs outside.
If there are any loose mothballs in or near your house, collect them with gloved hands and store, use, or dispose of them as instructed.
If your cat or dog catches a mothball or you think the fumes have harmed your pet, contact your veterinarian right away.