Curious cats and kittens can get into all kinds of inappropriate items around the house. There are many hazardous materials and items in the average home.
They include liquid and dryer sheet versions of fabric softeners. Even while you might not think that something as seemingly safe as a dryer sheet might be hazardous to your cat, it actually is.
Cats Using Dryer Sheets Run a Risk
Dryer sheets and fabric softeners frequently contain the harsh chemicals known as cationic surfactants. In the dryer, significant amounts of these chemicals are discharged. In order to soften the texture and reduce static cling, chemicals are applied to the cloth. The bulk of dryer sheets are also constructed of synthetic materials, which are challenging for the digestive system to digest. Dryer bedding is especially dangerous for cats because of these two features.
Fabric softener chemicals are no different from other toxins that cats are frequently particularly sensitive to. The caustic chemicals may cause inflammation and the development of ulcers in the mouth and GI tract. Inflammation of the skin is another possibility. In severe cases, eating these hazardous compounds may result in organ damage or central nervous system depression.
A cat that eats a dryer sheet also runs the risk of developing gastrointestinal obstruction. Curiosity-driven cats are persistent and frequently breach boundaries. These operations may increase the risks to your cat’s health. Surgical or endoscopic removal is usually required for GI obstructions.
Second, the chemicals in fabric softeners may irritate the skin, mucous membranes, and stomach lining. If the damage is concentrated, it could be severe and show up as burns or ulcers. Several of these substances have also been connected to lung damage, central nervous system depression, and acute renal disease.
A Cat That Consumes Fabric Softener: How to Handle It
If you think that your cat has ingested a dryer sheet or some liquid fabric softener, you need to contact your veterinarian immediately once. Never try to force yourself to vomit; doing so could aggravate the irritation in your mouth and esophagus. Gather all the information you’ll need to provide the veterinarian, such as the brand of the chemical, the time it was taken by your cat, and an estimation of how much.
Depending on the situation, your veterinarian may urge you to take your cat to an animal hospital for treatment. Though it’s more likely that you’ll need to make an appointment, it’s possible that your veterinarian will be able to recommend at-home care. Try to bring the fabric softener packaging so that your veterinarian can determine exactly what your cat ate. Your veterinarian might need to get in touch with animal poison control to find out more about the risk posed by that specific brand.
How to Protect Your Cat
The best defense against cats eating dryer sheets is to keep them out of their reach. If at all feasible, all household chemicals ought to be kept behind closed doors and out of sight. A blockage in the GI tract can cause serious sickness and even death.
If you don’t have a laundry room with a closed door, the chemicals should be kept in a locked cabinet and up high. Close the washing and dryer’s doors at all times.
Despite having fewer pollutants, used dryer sheets are still not safe. Remaining chemicals from self-grooming may be enough to irritate your cat’s skin and mouth. Additionally, ingesting used dryer sheets might potentially clog the digestive tract.
Cats love to curl up in warm, recently laundered clothing. You never know when your cat will lick or eat a dryer sheet. Because of this, you should keep clean items out of your cat’s reach and get rid of used dryer sheets in a hidden location. Better better, immediately after you remove fabric items from the dryer, fold and store them.
“Natural” and environmentally friendly items are not always safe, even though they can be less harmful. However, none of the household animals should have access to them. Consult your veterinarian for advice even if your cat drinks natural fabric softener.
Fabric softeners should not be used on your cat’s bedding since the chemicals may still be hazardous. Remember that cats can swallow the poisons since they are careful groomers.
You may have heard of people using dryer sheets to remove dead hair from their cats’ fur and reduce shedding. Since your cat might lick the chemical accumulation from his fur, this is never recommended.
Consider using wool or plastic dryer balls as a safer alternative to fabric softeners. These can soften fabrics in the dryer without the use of chemicals. You may also find that drying clean tennis balls in the dryer efficiently softens clothing.
If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your pet.
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