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How to Kill Ants with Borax without Hurting Your Pet Cats

Updated on June 20, 2014

Ants in the Kitchen

Tiny brown ants on the kitchen counter -- this is not acceptable.
Tiny brown ants on the kitchen counter -- this is not acceptable. | Source

Ants Belong OUTside, Not INside

Ants have an entire world to inhabit outside my home. They are not welcome inside it. Ants inside is not my idea of the proper order of things and those are the house rules.

Unfortunately, a few obstreperous insects try to test me on this policy. The challenge is to quickly and efficiently remove them without risking the health of my very curious and busy pets.

Keep this Mixture Away from Cats

Many blogs and websites describe the extermination properties of various solutions or mixtures containing a food lure plus the cleaning powder Borax. In these articles, there is frequent, but unemphasized, mention that Boric acid and Borax are toxic to cats (and to other little living beings, as well.)

I want to emphasize it:


One of My Precious Cats

One of my curious cats, Skeeter.
One of my curious cats, Skeeter. | Source

Choosing Safe Locations and Keeping Them Safe

You want to find spots near the ant sightings, but where not even one whisker or one paw can touch.

Find low, heavy items with only one-quarter to one-half an inch (1 cm) clearance underneath. You will place a small square of folded up paper towel soaked in the ant-killing solution underneath them. I recommend a piece about 2 inches by 2 inches (5 cm by 5 cm.) After placing the treated paper towel and covering it with the appliance or item, carefully clean the adjacent surface just in case a drop of the solution fell in a cat-accessible spot while you were placing the towel.

Also, keep monitoring the sites for unusual interest by your cats. If they are poking around a location with any chance of getting to the ant-killing paper, remove it and thoroughly clean every trace of the toxic material. Better safe than sorry.

A Place Unreachable by Pets

A location for the ant killing solution.
A location for the ant killing solution. | Source

The Recipe

Since you are being extremely judicious about placing the lure-bait-poison, you do not need pints of the solution. This small amount should be adequate.

Mix together in a heat-proof container (Pyrex measuring cup works very well):

1/4 cup (2 ounces) boiling water

1 Tablespoon white table sugar

1/2 teaspoon Borax powder

Stir until the powders are completely dissolved and the solution looks clear.

The Ant-Killing Potion

Boiling water.
Boiling water. | Source
White table sugar, borax powder, and a Pyrex measuring cup for mixing with the boiling water.
White table sugar, borax powder, and a Pyrex measuring cup for mixing with the boiling water. | Source

The Procedure for Making the Ant Exterminator

First, decide on locations to put the Borax ant-killing solution. Move them to the side to be ready to place the paper towels.

Second, get as many paper towels as you need and fold them into small squares or rectangles.

Third, make the recipe as described above.

Fourth, for each location - go to it with the container of ant-killer liquid plus one folded paper towel. Dip the towel into the container just enough to absorb solution - it need not be drippingly wet. Place it. Cover it with the appliance or heavy item. Immediately clean are around to prevent possible small traces of toxic material to remain accessiable to your beloved pet.

Fifth, discard any leftover Borax solution and immediately wash all containers, spoons, and contaminated items so that your cats do not jump into the sink and lick them.


After treating just a few spots in my kitchen, the ants disappeared. My cats were not drawn to the areas and all is well.

I wish you every success, and remember to be diligent about the safety and health of your precious kitties.

Photos and text copyright 2014 Maren E. Morgan.


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    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I am also knocking on wood for you, Peggy W!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 3 years ago from Houston, Texas

      We have never had ants inside of our home (knock on wood!) but this is good information to know just in case it ever happens. Pinning this to my Useful Tips and Ideas board. Thanks!

    • Maren Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks, AliciaC. There is much to consider when little people and little animals live in the house!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for creating this hub. I hate to think of cats being hurt when their owners are trying to destroy ants. An ant invasion is annoying, but people need to think of pet (and child) safety before they try to deal with the problem. Sharing your technique for removing the insects is very helpful.