Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Home > Cats > My Cat Ate Paint, What Should I Do? Vet-Approved Recommendations

My Cat Ate Paint, What Should I Do? Vet-Approved Recommendations

Paint can and brush on floor with cat in background

Vet approved

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg

Veterinarian, DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

Cats can be very curious and agile by nature. Oftentimes, when they have their mind set on something, they can get into hard-to-reach places. So, it’s essential to be prepared if your cat manages to get into your stash of paints. Some paints are toxic to cats while others aren’t. So, you’ll have to react differently depending on the type of paint your cat eats. Here’s what you need to do if your cat eats paint.


Paints That Are Safe for Cats

Paint is inedible, so it’s best to keep your cat away from it. However, some paints aren’t as harmful as others. Here are some paints that are generally safe if your cat licks up a small amount:

  • Acrylic paint
  • Fabric paint
  • Finger paint
  • Non-toxic paint for furniture and toys
  • Tempera paint
  • Watercolor paint
tuxedo cat and paint cans
Image Credit: Blue Iris, Shutterstock

If your dog ends up eating any of these types of paints, alert your veterinarian and closely monitor its condition in the meantime. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms of poisoning or an upset stomach:

  • Coughing or hacking
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive drinking
  • Fever
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Salivating
  • Seizures or twitching
  • Skin inflammation
  • Unsteady gait
  • Vomiting

If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, make sure to get to your veterinarian as soon as possible or go to an animal emergency care clinic.


Paints That Are Dangerous for Cats

Some paints are extremely toxic and require immediate action if your cat ingests them. Here are some paints that are dangerous to cats:

  • Alcohol Inks
  • Oil paint
  • Spray paint
  • Wall paint

When you notice that your cat has eaten any of these types of paint, contact your veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency care hospital. If your cat has any paint on its body, wash it off thoroughly. You’ll also want to remain as calm as possible to prevent more stress on your cat.

You may be able to help your cat at home with induced vomiting or feeding it charcoal. However, only do this if you’ve received instructions from a veterinarian.

Sick cat
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

If your cat requires more advanced care, you’ll have to visit your veterinarian or a nearby emergency care facility. A veterinarian can induce vomiting and start IV fluids.

In some cases, your cat may have to be under anesthesia for a veterinarian to flush out its stomach. Post-recovery may involve giving your cat additional medication or supplements to help stabilize its condition.

You can contact the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for instructions if you’re ever in doubt. You may have to pay a consultation fee, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and ensure that you give your cat the proper treatment it needs.



The way you treat your cat will be different depending on the type of paint it ingests. Watercolors, finger paint, and acrylic paint are some paints that are generally non-toxic to cats. Highly toxic paints are spray paint, wall paint, and alcohol inks.

No matter the type of paint or how much your cat ingests, it’s best to contact your veterinarian to ensure you know what to do to help your cat. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center is another excellent resource that can help you if your cat accidentally swallows some paint.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Aneta Lusina, Pexels

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets