While cat owners may be accustomed to the unique feline aromas lingering in their homes, not all their house guests will be. To mask the smell of their kitties, owners may reach for an air or fabric refresher, such as Febreze. However, some cat lovers may also be aware of Internet rumors stating that Febreze products are dangerous for cats and wonder if they are true.
When used as intended, Febreze fabric sprays are considered safe to use around cats. However, some other Febreze products could be a cause for concern, not because of concerns about the brand but the items themselves. We’ll cover the good and bad of Febreze products in this article and let you know how to use them safely around your cat.
Note that Febreze recommends not using their products around pets with sensitivities to scented products and aerosols.
Febreze: What Is It and Is It Effective?
The brand Febreze produces a line of products designed to neutralize odors in the air, fabrics, and laundry. These include air fresheners, fabric sprays, and plug-ins.
Febreze products contain a chemical, cyclodextrin, that works by capturing and trapping scent molecules, preventing them from reaching your nose. The products don’t clean or disinfect, but function solely to eliminate odors. They are generally quite effective at neutralizing smells rather than simply overpowering them with added fragrance.
Febreze Spray and Your Cat
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), Febreze fabric refresher products are considered safe to use around pets, including cats, when used as directed. Stick to the instructions on the product label, and don’t deliberately spray your cat with Febreze.
If your cat touches or licks Febreze spray before it dries, they could experience some mild stomach upset or skin irritation, so keep them out of the room until it dries.
What About Other Febreze Products?
Air fresheners in general, not just Febreze specifically, can be problematic for cats, especially those with breathing problems, such as asthma. The volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in air fresheners could trigger a response in your cat, causing symptoms like coughing, sneezing, eye and nose discharge, lethargy, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Plug-ins of any kind, especially those containing essential oils, should also be used with caution around cats. Many popular essential oils are toxic to cats and breathing them could cause respiratory irritation or other side effects. Cats could also poison themselves if they lick unseen microdroplets of essential oils off their fur.
Chewing on or swallowing old plug-in cartridges could cause digestive issues or even more concerning neurological problems, depending on what type of oils and chemicals they contain.
Keeping Your Cat Safe When Using Febreze
As we already discussed, Febreze fabric sprays can generally be used safely around your cat, with minimal risk of side effects. If you prefer the better safe than sorry approach, keep your cat away from sprayed surfaces until the Febreze dries.
If you want to use a Febreze air freshener, read the directions and spray only the recommended amount. Try to keep your cat away from the area until the area dries. Monitor your cat carefully for any signs of a reaction.
To be completely safe, avoid using Febreze and essential oil plug-ins around your cat. If you do have these products at home, use them in well-ventilated areas and keep your cat out of the room.
If you believe your cat is experiencing a toxic reaction to any product, including Febreze, contact your veterinarian. Try to have the product label or information on hand when you call so your vet knows what potential toxins they’re treating.
As a reminder, here are some signs of a toxic reaction to sprays or essential oils:
Thanks to science, Febreze products offer effective odor control, often a pressing need in households with cats. Despite Internet rumors to the contrary, Febreze fabric sprays don’t seem to pose a serious risk to your cat’s health when used correctly. Other odor control products, including plug-ins, should be used with caution no matter what brand manufactures them. Thanks to their curiosity, cats tend to investigate every new sight and smell, whether it’s safe for them to do so or not. It’s up to us as cat owners to maintain a safe environment, including choosing non-toxic odor control products.
Featured Image Credit: Kristi Blokhin, Shutterstock