Neem oil on cats

by Karen Goold

My cat Maggie has scabies. I bought neem seed cold pressed oil 85%, as neem plant spray was all I could get. How can I use this on my cat in a shampoo form?
Thanks, Karen

Comments for Neem oil on cats

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Using neem on cats
by: Birgit

Hi Karen,

I'm not totally sure what you bought there.

Neem plant spray would be a very diluted neem oil solution, typically 0.5-2%.

85% neem oil is not a spray, it's the oil. Did you mean you bought oil to be diluted and used as plant spray? In that case, do you know what ingredients make up the remaining 15%?

Sometimes neem oil is mixed with lighter oils that help keeping the neem oil pourable (it becomes solid at lower temperatures). Sometimes it is blended with soap to save you adding the soap extra.

If that's what it is then your oil is fine.

But I'm a bit worried about it being called plant spray. Because there are some neem oil products that are meant to be used only on plants and that combine neem oil with other synthetic insecticides.

Make sure that your neem oil does not contain any insecticides before you use it on your cat.

Let's assume your oil is fine. In that case you can just add it to the shampoo that you usually use for your cat. Just as you would for humans. That's the easiest way to make neem shampoo.

(Warning: I mention the addition of tea tree oil on that page, it's not a page specifically for cats. Don't use tea tree oil on cats, ever. It's toxic to them.)

Neem oil is not stable when mixed with water. Many shampoos contain water. If yours does, then you need to mix your neem shampoo freshly every time you want to use it. You can just mix a few drops of neem oil with shampoo in your palm.

I hope your cat doesn't mind bathing and shampooing too much, because you will need to do it several times. I'd also leave the shampoo in for as long as she will tolerate it before rinsing, to give it the best chances of affecting the mites and eggs.

I can't tell you exactly how often you will have to do it. Neem oil just isn't enough of a standard treatment yet (unfortunately). There just isn't enough data and research to give specific directions.

Read the pages on how it's used on humans to understand how it works. Then start with little and carefully to see how your cat responds, and take it from there.

I hope Maggie will get better soon!

More info:
  • Neem and scabies: note that the traditional treatment for scabies is neem leaf
  • Neem oil for cats: see notes on tea tree oil and also comments on neem leaf. Neem shampoo is safe to use on cats, but neem leaf is also a great alternative.

(Please also read the disclaimer. I'm not a doctor or veterinarian, so don't take this as medical advice.)

Use only Pure Neem Oil for animals or humans
by: Anonymous

Only pure, cold pressed Neem Oil should be used on animals and humans. An 85% Neem Oil Plant spray most likely has inerts and other ingredients that are toxic to skin.

Neem Oil
by: Anonymous

DO NOT use plant spray on your animals. There are different grades of Neem oil and you need a higher grade. Only purchase the oil that says it can be used for humans and animals.

Using neem fruits instead of oil for cats?
by: Bhante

Here we have a semi-wild cat that is highly emaciated due to a heavy mange infestation. He hates water, I would expect a water-based spray to be impossible, and I imagine an oil-based spray would be just as difficult - unless just a slight puff of spray would suffice before he runs away. I would not particularly want to have the very close and prolonged contact with him to rub with oil or something similar, even if that is possible, in his present condition. I don't imagine I can persuade him to eat neem leaves or drink neem leaf tea, but what about the fruits, which don't tast bad at all? I thought of hiding a few fruits in some fish. How many fruits (taken internally) would it take to have an effect, and how many would it take to poison him?

Neem fruit solution
by: Bhante

Well, it "didn't work". I mixed a few whole fruits in with some food, and he just ate all the food and left the whole fruits untouched, apparently licked clean of any gravy. Next try - I chopped a few fruits up small and mixed them with the food. He stood with his nose just above the food quietly sobbing, with a very forlorn look on his face. He wouldn't eat it.

But did it work after all?? After a week or so I suddenly realised he has a substantial new growth of hairs on his head and neck where he was previously totally bald. Maybe he did eat one of the fruits whole after all? I then found a lump of fish that was about the right size to gulp down in one go and hid a whole fruit inside it, covering it up with gravy. He gulped it all down without hesitation. For good measure I added a second fruit loosely mixed with food, which I persuaded him to eat as well. Maybe he realises now that neem is good for him. He is looking better and better day by day.

Conclusion: One or two fruits per dose taken internally is currently looking promising for a cat. It is worth noting that the fruits I used were immature, not sure how that changes when they are fully ripe.

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