There are few important guidelines for finding an air freshener that is good for your cat.
First, you should avoid adding fragrances to your house if possible, and instead use products that focus on removing bad odors and leaving no scent in their place. This is because fragrances, and the chemicals that cause them, can irritate your cat and cause allergic reactions.
Second, if you must use a fragrance, you should only use all-natural products to produce the scent, because synthetic scented chemicals are more likely to be toxic to cats and other animals.
Third, even when using an all-natural product, you must observe your pet for any signs of discomfort, erratic behavior, or allergies, and remove the scented product immediately if the cat has a bad reaction to your chosen fragrance.
I’ll explain all of these issues and more below.
The Problem With Cats And Air Fresheners
The biggest problem with cats and air fresheners is that you can’t talk to your cat about their feelings, so you have to observe their reaction to your air fresheners instead.
Many air fresheners use synthetic chemicals that can produce allergic reactions in both humans and animals if the scent is too strong. The problem with this comparison is that cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans do. This means that even though you think the fragrance is fine, your little kitty may think it’s too strong.
Another big concern is this: Never spray a scented chemical or cleaning spray anywhere where your cat is likely to walk. The cat may walk through it and then lick his paws, ingesting harmful chemicals that could seriously hurt him.
Are All-Natural Air Fresheners Okay For Cats?
Sometimes, but not always.
All-natural air fresheners, such as the fragrances produce by scented essential oils, can still be harmful to cats. Just like humans can be allergic to certain scents, or can have allergic reactions if a natural scent is simply too strong, so can your cats.
Even when using an all-natural fragrance in your home, you have to watch your catch carefully for signs of allergies.
Signs Your Cat Doesn’t Like Your Air Freshener
There are a few issues to look out for when introducing an air freshener into your home with cats:
First, watch your cats for signs of abnormal behavior. This behavior can include avoiding the room or area where the air freshener is. This behavior might also include a change in their eating habits, or a change in their pooping or peeing habits.
If the air freshener is in the room with the litter box, and the cat doesn’t like it, they may start pooping and peeing in your closet instead.
Secondly, and more importantly, watch for signs of illness or allergic reaction. This can include drainage around the eyes, sneezing, wheezing, or other symptoms like erratic behavior in general.
If your cat shows any change of behavior when you introduce a new scent to your home, the chances are high that the cat does not like the scent. In this case, you should remove it and see if the cat goes back to normal.
Are Phthalates Or “Volatile Organic Compounds” Going To Kill My Cat?
A phthalate is a synthetic chemical found in many chemical air fresheners that helps the scent of them spread out more thoroughly around the room. Phythalates are not inherently dangerous to living things, but can occasionally cause allergic or asthmatic reactions in both humans and animals. Since cats have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans, they are almost certainly more sensitive to these chemicals.
“Volatile Organic Compounds” – despite the name containing the scary word “volatile” – are actually less harmful. A volatile organic compound is literally just an organic molecule that floats around the air. In the context of air fresheners, it refers to molecule that floats around and causes a scent when interacting with your nose.
Every living plant that gives off an odor is releasing volatile organic compounds. Thus, to say that they are inherently dangerous is obviously a lie. Your cat does not die from simply smelling the flowers outside! The media in general is very alarmist when it comes to volatile organic compounds and their danger, mostly because it’s easy to scare people by using the word “volatile” when talking about something.
The truth is that most cats will be fine with most organic scents. However, some cats may have an allergic reaction to some smells, even natural ones. Or, they might just not like the smell, just like a human. In either case, you should watch your cat’s behavior and adjust your air freshener decisions accordingly.
What Are My Cat-Safe Options?
The best choice for a cat-safe air freshener is to remove bad odors instead of adding new scents.
I’ve listed the products that I recommend most for odor-removal below:
- Odor-absorbing Bags Of Activated Carbon – Set these in any room of the house to absorb odor molecules – Click here to view.
- Hanging Pyramid Sack Of Activated Carbon – Same as above, but more cute! – Click here to view.
- Cat Litter Deodorizer – Add a bit of this to your cat litter to absorb the bad smell of cat poop – Click here to view.
- Standing Air Purifier Tower– Useful for sucking up odors – Must have odor-absorbing activated carbon filter (listed below) to maximize odor removal – Click here to view.
- Activated Carbon Filter (For Air Purifier Above) – Absorbs odor particles that are too small to be caught by a normal air filter – Click here to view.
If you absolutely must add a new scent to your home, I recommend choosing a fragrance that uses all-natural materials to produce the scent. The best solution for this is an essential oil diffuser.
I also recommend not using this in the same room as your cat’s litter box, or his food and water dishes. If the cat doesn’t like the scent, he will still be able to handle his important business with food, water, and the litter box while avoiding your new fragrance as much as possible.
You can also use scented oils in spray bottles, which are great for using right before company comes over. Since the scent only lasts a few hours, it’s less likely to produce an allergic reaction in your cat. He can just leave the room for a few hours while your guests are over and enjoying the smell.
Check out my favorite options here: