When it comes to one of our most hated pests, many people resort to using slug pellets in their gardens to kill slugs. However, slug pellets are known to harm other animals that may take a stroll in your garden, and one of these animals is cats. So, are slug pellets harmful to use around cats or not?
Due to the dangerous ingredients in slug pellets, they can be harmful to cats. If you have a pet cat, slug pellets should be avoided.
Commercially available slug pellets include metaldehyde, which is lethal to slugs and other animals like cats. The ingredient stops the production of mucus in slugs, causing them to bloat and eventually die.
Why are Slug Pellets Harmful to Cats?
If you have a pet cat then you’ll know that they can be inquisitive. They’ll roam around your garden, poke around and potentially eat something they’re new to. That is why slug pellets can be quite an issue in the garden.
If cats consume slug pellets, it will cause damage to their nervous system. If left untreated, then there is a risk of death. If a cat has consumed slug pellets (or you suspect this to be the case) then you must seek urgent treatment from a vet.
Symptoms from metaldehyde poisoning can include incoordinations, spasms, fits, twitching and seizures.
Can You Get Cat-Friendly Slug Pellets?
Unfortunately, while slug pellets are a great way to eliminate slugs, they are not ideal if you have pets. Almost all the commercially available slug pellets come with metaldehyde.
While this ingredient kills slugs, it takes down any other animal that consumes it, for example, cats. But are there any cat-friendly slug pellets on the market?
Fortunately, there are cat-friendly slug pellets available. These slug pellets are organically made from sheep wool which irritates any slugs entering your garden, forcing them to go elsewhere.
These slug pellets are safe to use as they will not harm cats or any pets you may have. Most natural slug pellets also biodegrade to nourish the soil as a fertilizer.
Don’t Trust the Labels
Some bottles and pots of slug pellets claim to be pet-friendly but a closer look at the ingredients list reveals that they still contain metaldehyde. Before buying any slug pellets, check the ingredients!
What Are Cat-Safe Methods for Getting Rid of Slugs?
While using slug pellets does counter the problem, if you have a cat (or dog for that matter) then using slug pellets should be avoided at all costs. So what are some cat-friendly approaches you can take to get rid of slugs in the garden?
Pick Them Off
Handpicking may not seem ideal if bugs give you the jitters, but it is important to ensure that you keep the population contained. So you may have to suck it up!
Grab a pair of garden gloves and a pot and head out into your garden, preferably at night, and pick off as many slugs as you can and stick them in the bin. This is one of the easiest, safest and cheapest ways to get rid of slugs without harming any pet cats you may have.
The most obvious way to get rid of slugs is to trap them. Traps can be pushed into the ground, topped up with beer and left to work to attract slugs.
Slugs will drop into the trap and fail to escape. You will need to remember to both empty the trap and top it up with beer regularly. If there’s no beer in there, slugs won’t be attracted to it.
Protect with Copper
There are preventative methods you can also adapt to keep slugs out of your plants and flowers. Copper strips and tape are often purported to keep slugs out of pots.
When a slimy slug touches copper, it will get electrical jolts. Therefore, slugs will avoid coming to your garden.
You can also opt for attracting predators to your garden to keep the slug population under control. There are a number of predators that eat slugs. Ensuring you have water will help to attract frogs. Providing food for birds will also attract another top slug predator.
Slug Pellets Don’t Just Harm Cats
Slug pellets can have a negative impact on pollinators and aquatic life in the garden. Where possible, please avoid using chemical-ridden slug pellets.
The most common way to get rid of slugs is to poison them using slug pellets. However, these pellets are harmful to animals such as cats, attacking their nervous system and potentially causing them to die.
The main ingredient in slug pellets that harm cats is metaldehyde. Other slug pellets are natural and do not contain this ingredient. These pellets are made of wool and are safe to use around cats and other animals.
These pellets also dissolve to become fertilizers, leading to benefits for your garden.
You can opt for other ways to control the slugs in your garden. Other methods of getting rid of slugs include using barriers, handpicking them, and using baits like iron phosphate to kill them.
Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden