are plug ins bad for cats

Plug-in air fresheners are unhealthy for cats because the chemicals they omit can be poisonous to felines if inhaled or ingested. To release the scents into the air, they need a carrier, and that carrier is a chemical known as phthalates. It has been linked to hormone imbalances, cancer, and reproductive problems.

Long-Term Effects of Using Air Fresheners

A house with even a mildly toxic air freshener could be harmful to your cat. Since there might not be any immediate effects, cat owners have no reason to quit using the harmful substances. However, chronic exposure to these substances can cause cats to develop asthma after years of use.

You’ll see that the cat is weaker and more lethargic than usual, and that it is having trouble breathing. You may also see wheezing, coughing, or respiratory distress. Sadly, asthma is a chronic condition, so even with treatment, the cat’s respiratory system will continue to be sensitive. Cats and plug-in air fresheners don’t mix well.

There are plenty of natural, non-toxic alternatives to air fresheners for keeping your home smelling clean. Also, is an excellent website that helps you discover the toxicity of products in your home.

  • Baking soda: This works wonders for getting rid of smells throughout the house, but especially in the carpeting, where your cat spends a lot of time. You want to stay away from chemicals there.
  • Cat-friendly plants: Although they can purify the air in your house, make sure your plants won’t hurt your cat if it decides to nibble on one of them.
  • Herbs and Seasonings: Adding seasonal herbs or other natural scents, such as cinnamon sticks, cloves, or peels from lemon or orange citrus, to a pot on the stovetop or crockpot can accomplish more than just masking odors. They won’t annoy your pets and will create a wonderful scent in your home.
  • Natural Oils: Burn natural oils like vanilla or lavender in an oil burner. When applying oils around your house, be sure that the substances you choose won’t be harmful to your cat’s skin or digestive system in the case of a spill, and that the oil is kept safely and securely out of their reach.
  • Another method of naturally purifying the air is with salt lamps, which emit a small amount of negative ions. Though it’s a great substitute for noxious smells, keep the salt lamp out of your cat’s reach as it could be extremely dehydrating if they lick or eat it. My cats never bother the two of these salt lamps I have in my home, but there was a major panic about them on Facebook recently.
  • Essential oils: Contrary to popular belief, cats can safely use essential oils. Read our in-depth discussion with veterinarian Sarah Brandon about essential oils and cats.
  • Air Naturalizer: By energizing your home’s air, an air naturalizer can significantly improve its quality. It produces both positive and negative ions, which disintegrate pollutants and purify the air. Read the air Naturalizer in the full review.
  • Purified Air Litter Box Air Filter: This excellent product will not harm them or you and is great for handling litter box odors.

The Ingredients That Makes Air Fresheners Dangerous for Pets

According to Dr. Mahaney, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a major offender in the ingredient list of the majority of air fresheners. At room temperature, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, have a high vapor pressure. Because of this, these substances readily transition from a solid or liquid state into a gas or vapor. This transformation is called volatility. Put another way, volatility is the natural way that air fresheners are supposed to act—that is, they should dissolve into the air and change its smell.

Regrettably, paints and varnishes, fossil fuels, benzene, formaldehyde, refrigerants, aerosol propellants, cigarette smoke, and the dry cleaning process all exhibit this same volatility. Though opening a paint can in your living room isn’t a good idea to improve the air quality, the effect of using an air freshener is similar.

These substances can cause a laundry list of maladies. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the health effects of VOCs may include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • headaches, loss of coordination, lethargy and nausea
  • damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Not all volatile organic compounds (VOCs) cause cancer in humans, but some are known or suspected to cause cancer in animals.

And in a study published in the Environmental Impact Assessment Review, testing of top selling air fresheners and laundry detergents “found 133 different VOCs emitted from the 25 products, with an average of 17 VOCs per product. Of these 133 VOCs, 24 are classified as toxic or hazardous under U.S. federal laws, and each product emitted at least one of these compounds. For “green” products, emissions of these compounds were not significantly different from the other products.”

Signs of a Toxic Reaction to Air Fresheners in Cats

Your cat may react differently to toxic air fresheners depending on how the cat and the poisonous substance interact. You might experience mild symptoms, for example, if you sprayed a toxic room freshener in the same room as your cat.

On the other hand, you might see a far more aggressive response if your cat licks the spilled area due to a leaky air freshener. Here’s what you can expect. The low-grade symptoms can include tearing up, sneezing, coughing, and producing nasal discharge. These happen when the cat comes into minimal contact with the poisonous material.

But the cat becomes distressed right away, as evidenced by its behavior. If you notice this, you should try smelling your cat. The smell should still be there if it has come into contact with a toxic compound from an air freshener, and it may help you determine what is wrong with your cat.

Take your cat to the vet even if the symptoms seem minor, as the vet may need to perform certain tests to determine whether the cat’s liver or kidneys have been impacted by the toxic substance. Furthermore, a demagogical examination of the area contaminated by the toxic compound and an eye examination are necessary.

The cat may exhibit more serious symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or appetite loss. Since these symptoms could manifest hours or even days after the cat has been exposed to the toxic chemicals, it could be challenging to connect them to toxic exposure. Nevertheless, bear in mind that exposure to harmful substances from air fresheners may be the reason if your cat exhibits any of these signs.

Since your cat’s face and paws are the most likely places for contact, try smelling them. Depending on how much toxic air freshener the cat has come into contact with and how long ago this occurred, the smell may be milder or stronger.

Most likely, the cat consumed the toxic material because it was exhibiting symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.

In the event that your cat exhibits these signs, examine any air fresheners you may have in your house. Look for any spills or leaks to determine whether these could be the source of the symptoms. Then, it would be best to schedule a check-up with the veterinarian for your cat.

This is the best course of action because, in the event of a toxic exposure, these general symptoms could become much more severe, and if you wait longer to see the veterinarian, you might arrive too late to have your cat treated.


Can plug-in air fresheners make cats sick?

Plug-in air fresheners can be harmful to animals, particularly if they contain certain chemicals that are toxic to pets.

Are wallflower plug-ins toxic to cats?

Moreover, the rise in asthma cases has been seen in cats exposed to particular toxins found in wallflowers. If you are to use the Wallflowers, think about putting the plug-in in a higher location. Also, do not use them in every room.

Are plug-in diffusers safe for pets?

“So, you know, just kind of thinking about that, I avoid plug in diffusers. If those fragrance droplets collect on your pet’s fur, paws, or skin—licking it off of themselves could make them sick too. If you must use an air freshener, do so sparingly, with good ventilation, and away from pets entirely, if possible.