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You probably use a range of household cleaning products around your home for polishing the woodwork, cleaning the kitchen countertops, disinfecting the bathroom or bleaching the floor. Did you know that many household cleaners contain toxic ingredients and are known to cause health issues in both humans and cats?
Cats are particularly sensitive to household cleaning products as they groom themselves frequently and therefore ingest anything that comes into contact with their paws or their fur. Your cat is highly likely for example, to walk across your almost-dry bleached floors, pick up traces of the product and then lick their paws.
At the same time, cats are deficient in a number of enzymes which means that they are unable to effectively metabolise chemicals and toxins. This places them at greater risk of toxicity from everyday cleaning products.
To make your home as cat-friendly and as non-toxic as possible we encourage you to be mindful of the type of cleaning products you use and switch to natural cleaning products wherever possible.
Check the Ingredients
Phenol is extremely toxic for cats and should be avoided; it is also used in the majority of cleaning products. You can check whether phenol is an ingredient in your existing cleaning products by mixing in some water. If the water turns cloudy, it is a sure sign that it contains phenol.
Whilst many manufacturers claim that essential oils are safe to use in households with cats, this is not always true. Tea tree oil is one known essential oil often used in cleaning which can be potentially deadly.
Whenever you use any cleaning products please ensure that you read and strictly follow the directions on the label. For example, often a label will warn you to ‘keep children and pets away until completely dry’.
Keep the Lid Down!
Cats are curious by nature, and many cats like to put their head down the toilet to investigate or to drink from the bowl where there is fresh, running water. Sadly, kittens have had their lives cut short because they have fallen into the bowl and drowned. To reduce the risk, keep the toilet lid-down and the bathroom door closed.
In addition to the risk of drowning, the cleaners we use in toilets are some of the most toxic. Toilet cleaning tablets placed in the cistern and the residue of bleach based toilet cleaners used to scrub the bowl can make your cat very sick if swallowed. Gastrointestinal upsets or vomiting are likely if they ingest even the smallest amount of toilet cleaning chemicals. More serious consequences are chemical burns of the throat and mouth.
In many shared male and female households, the lid-up or lid-down debate often ensues. But for the safety of your cat, lid-down is the only option.
Opt for Natural Cleaning Products
The safest way to clean your home is using non-toxic, natural based products. Not only are they safer for your pets, they are safer for you. They’re also much cheaper. White vinegar and baking soda are two great options for cleaning kitchen countertops, floors and even bathrooms. We encourage you to try them and be surprised by the results. For example, an equal mixture of white vinegar and water will leave your windows sparkling and baking soda is a fabulous abrasive cleaner ideal for removing soap scum and cleaning the bathroom.
By switching to natural eco-friendly cleaning products you’ll help you cat to live a long, healthy and happy life. You’ll get a safer, sparkling, odour-free home and save yourself some dollars.
Images: zaimoku_woodpile / Gordon Flood via Flickr
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