We Lost 4 Cats In One Week by Mothball Poisoning
ITMm writing this account of what happened to two of the most beautiful cats I've ever owned with the hope no one has to repeat this experience. Whiskers and Scrappy were brother and sister and ITMd had them since the day they were born.
One of the neighbors had placed mothballs under her house to repel snakes. I live in the deep south and snakes can be a problem during the hotter months. I've always associated mothballs with the funky smell in grandma's closet to repel moths.
As it turned out mothballs are an old folk remedy. Scatter them under the house and the snakes won't go there. There had been a lot of rain that week and it turned out that was the problem. The cats had gone underneath their house and drank from a puddle where the mothballs had dissolved. Mothballs contain several poisons with very long names. All of the symptoms fit.
We had lost a total of four neighborhood cats in less than a week. Maybe more that I never knew about. If this article can save even one cat from this horrible ending it will be worth it.
Can I Use Mothballs in the Garden?
Using mothballs to repel pests in the garden presents a danger to children, pets, and wildlife that visit your garden. Young children explore their surroundings by putting things in their mouth and animals might think they are food. Ingesting even a small amount of the toxic chemicals in mothballs can cause serious harm that requires immediate medical or veterinary attention. Mothballs in gardens also present a risk if you breathe the fumes or get the chemicals on your skin or in your eyes. Using mothballs in gardens also causes significant environmental problems. They usually contain either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Both of these chemicals are highly toxic and can get into the soil and groundwater. These mothball hazards may even harm the plants you are trying to protect. Mothballs are insecticides that are controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency. This makes it illegal to use them for any purpose or by any method that isn't specified on the label. Mothballs are labeled only for use in closed containers for the control of clothes moths.
The Facts about Mothballs
Mothballs, moth flakes, crystals, and bars are insecticides that are formulated as solids. As such, mothballs are registered as pesticides because they contain high concentrations of one of two active ingredients — naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene (sometimes referred to as 1,4-dichlorobenzene). Through sublimation, they exude gas, acting as a fumigant. Paradichlorobenzene is also found in deodorant blocks made for trash cans and toilets.
Naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, the active ingredients in mothballs, are registered as pesticides. As such, their label directions carry the force of the law, including use intent and the sites where they may legally be used. Using mothballs with the intent of repelling various forms of wildlife is not a legal use of these materials and can result in penalties. Always read and follow pesticide label directions.