JaneA Kelley is the author
of cat advice blog Paws
and Effect and writes for
Catster.com. She serves
as the secretary and
director of social media
for Diabetic Cats in Need. Find her on
Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter
Use pet friendly
cleaners, and both
you and your cat will
Try nontoxic, plant-based, fragrance-free,
There are plenty that
vinegar and water for
Use cedar in your
closet and sweater boxes
rather than mothballs;
as a bonus, your clothes
will smell a lot nicer!
For bad odors, open
a window or two to get
fresh air inside. Some
air purifiers also remove
odors, but research
before getting one that
will do that job.
Try litters made
from natural products.
Some, such as corn, have
a light, natural fragrance
that some people
(and most cats) find
Found in many pine-scented cleaning
products — or in any cleaner whose
name has the word “sol” in it. Phenol-
containing cleaners include floor
cleaners and disinfectants. They’re also
in paint and varnish removers, some
synthetic resin, and rubber adhesives.
Cats can ingest these chemicals after
walking across recently cleaned floors
and licking their paws or by inhaling
or touching disinfectants. Phenols can
cause burns, hyperventilation, and even
destroy proteins in cats’ cells, leading
to liver, heart, and kidney damage.
Found in bleach, toilet bowl cleaners, auto- matic dishwashing detergents, disinfecting wipes, all-purpose cleaners, and mildew removers. When exposed, cats may develop respiratory problems, eye and skin irritation, and, if the chlorine is ingested in enough quantity, mouth and esophageal burns. Artificial fragrances Found in virtually every cleaning product: laundry detergents, fabric softeners, dryer sheets, carpet deodorizers, spray deodorizers for air and fabric, some cat litter, plug-in air
fresheners, and even some pet odor removers. Some cats exposed to these chemicals
may develop skin and respiratory allergies.
Ammonia Found in oven and window cleaners. It irritates mucous membranes — the mouth, nose, and eyes, primarily. If chlorine and ammonia mix, it can create a chemical reaction that leads to the formation of chlorine gas, hydrochloric acid, and a number of other potentially fatal chemicals. Chlorine gas is heavier than air and settles in lower-lying areas (like near floors), making feline exposure more likely.
Insecticides in some
flea treatments and
shampoos for dogs, as
well as in a number of
like bug spray or ant
powder. Cats exposed
to permethrins experi-
ence muscle tremors,
fever, dilated pupils,
and lack of coordina-
tion (staggering, etc.).
Found in mothballs and can lead to
vomiting, diarrhea, increased drinking
and urination, and seizures. Heavy
exposure or accidental ingestion
can be potentially life threatening.