A cat’s sense of smell is far superior to that of humans. Cats have 45 to 200 million odor-sensitive cells in their noses compared to only five million in humans. A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times better than that of humans. Those facts alone are reason enough to avoid any products with a strong scent in homes shared with cats. This is especially true for air fresheners.

I’m extremely scent-sensitive (maybe I was a cat in a former life?,) so I may  have a little bit of an idea of the impact scented products have on a cat’s sense of smell. Air fresheners in particular practically make my throat close up. But strong scent isn’t the only issue with air fresheners.

Air fresheners can be extremely toxic to cats

“If we are putting some kind of chemical into the air merely to mask scents, then we have to be concerned about the negative implications for our pets,” holistic veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney of California told PetMd. According to Dr. Mahaney, one of the main offenders in the ingredient list for most air fresheners are volatile organic compounds (VOC).

Dr. Mahaney also stated that air fresheners can have detrimental longterm effects on cats: “Cats have had an increase in feline asthma as a result of living in households where there are air fresheners, incense and cigarette smoke—or even just the aroma of cleaning products.”

Natural alternatives to air fresheners may be toxic as well

Essential oils are the latest catch phrase in natural cleaning products, and they can be extremely harmful, even deadly, to cats.

PetMd features a comprehensive article about the dangers of air fresheners around cats. Read How Air Fresheners Can Affect Your Pet’s Health for more information.

A better and safer way to keep your air fresh

Air purifiers are a much better way to keep the air in your home fresh. Not only do they break down and remove toxic VOC’s from the air, they also capture other air pollutants like pet hair and dander, dust, pollen, and smoke. We love the entire family of Okaysou air purifiers (FTC disclosure:  The Conscious Cat is an affiliate partner of Okaysou.)

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8 Comments on Are Air Fresheners Safe to Use Around Cats?

  1. In addition to not using room freshness, one can clean with white vinegar w/baking soda and kitchen grade peroxide (can buy on line and keep in fridge). That includes sinks/tubs. I took up a piece of carpeting one time and was shocked at how much dirt had fallen through it even though it had been cleaned regularly. Never again will there be carpeting in my house, but plenty of washable rugs LOL.

    A main reason for posting though is to say that I’m on my third air purifier over the years and after about a month, they start affecting my allergy so am wondering if they really are a good idea. Replacing a filter every month can get costly but for that one month, each one was great. Maybe regular cleaning would suffice?

  2. I appreciate all the comments that mention opening windows, I should have included that in the article. For me, that’s so much second nature that it didn’t occur to me to mention it. Even on the coldest or hottest days, I still open the windows for at least a few minutes every day.

  3. Nicely written and appreciated information. I don’t use “air fresheners” anymore, but I did before I lived with cats. Once I learned that strong scents and perumes might be unhealthy and uncomfortable for them, I stopped. Opening windows is ideal, however, there are various reasons why at times I can’t do that. I never thought to add an air purifier. That’s a very interesting and appealing idea!

  4. Tasha had problems with asthma attacks and I had to give her prednisone when they happened. I got rid of all carpeting in my house. I clean the house with vinegar and try to open the windows when it’s not so cold out.

  5. Thanks for confirming my own thoughts about the air fresheners. Like you, I always had a problem with them myself. They would make me sneeze and feel very congested and I stopped using them long before I had my cats.

    I try and keep the use of chemicals for cleaning to a minimum too. I find that soap and water or water and baking soda work well without all of the long term effects and as Holly said, open the windows.

  6. I never use those chemicals I just open the windows for my cats and myself have allergies too a lot of smells!

  7. Of course we love our cats (and dogs!), but I was never too sure that these chemicals being released into the air regularly into the home is such a good idea for human beings either! All they do is muck up the air.
    Better to remove the source….dirt, garbage, mold–whatever–and OPEN the WINDOWS!

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