Does vinegar bother cats?
Is Vinegar Bad for Cats?
Vinegar has lots of uses around the home. I use it for descaling in my kitchen and bathroom; the acidic nature of vinegar means that it reacts with limescale to remove it (very effectively, I might add). It’s also great for de-scaling kettles, although you have to wash them out carefully afterwards unless you want your tea to taste the vinegar. As with any product I use in my home, I checked that vinegar was safe before applying it to any surfaces where my cats might pick it up. Luckily, it turns out that vinegar is generally safe for cats.
Is vinegar bad for cats? Cats should not really consume vinegar in more than the smallest quantity, as it’s highly acidic. You should not give your cat anything seasoned with vinegar; although small quantities aren’t harmful, it could upset her stomach. Vinegar as a cleaning product is safe to use around cats.
If you’ve landed on this article, you have questions regarding cats and vinegar. Maybe you want to use vinegar as a cleaning agent, and you want to make sure it’ll be safe for your cats. Perhaps your cat has licked up some vinegar recently, and you’re worried that it might hurt her. Maybe your cat is prone to stealing a little of your tuna salad, and you’re concerned that she might get sick. You might have heard about vinegar as a flea treatment or a remedy for ear infections, and you want to know if these work. Read on to find out the answers to all your questions.
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Is Vinegar Bad for Cats?
In general, vinegar is fairly safe for cats. I wouldn’t give my cats food containing vinegar, as it could cause a tummy upset. Vinegar is very acidic and could give your cat dyspepsia if she consumes a lot of it. Vinegar could also be irritating to the membranes of her mouth, throat and nasal passages, which is unpleasant for the cat.
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Flavoured vinegar should definitely be kept away from cats, as the ingredients might include things that are toxic to felines. Garlic and onion are the worst offenders here, but some herbs and spices are also bad for cats. When in doubt, keep it away from your cat.
Cats are prone to appropriating food from their human companions’ plates, which might mean that your cat ends up consuming something with vinegar on it. This probably won’t do any harm, although I strongly encourage cat owners to avoid letting cats eat “people food” as a general principle. If your cat has grabbed a bite of vinegar-soaked tuna from your salad, though, there’s no need to be overly concerned. She’s unlikely to suffer any ill-effects, although she might enjoy the tuna a lot less than she anticipated.
Another common use of vinegar is as a cleaning product. Because it’s acidic, vinegar is great for breaking down grease and dirt. Cleaning with vinegar is a good option for cat owners, as it is much less toxic and irritating than a lot of popular cleaning products. Whatever you clean with will leave a residue on floors, counters, tables etc. Even once a cleaning product has dried, it can still cause irritation to the delicate skin of a cat’s paw pads.
Another issue is the possibility of ingestion. Most cats probably won’t try to lick up cleaning fluid or suds from a surface (although I wouldn’t entirely put it past my domestic shorthair, who has been known to nibble paint chips and plastic grocery bags). If a cat walks through a substance or gets it on her fur, though, she’ll instinctively lick it off, ingesting it. I’d far rather that substance was household vinegar rather than whatever gives a floor cleaner its “pine-fresh” scent. Vinegar may not be great for your cat’s digestion, but a tiny trace won’t do any harm and it’s certainly safer than chemical perfumes and cleaning agents.
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On the whole, as household substances go, vinegar is one of the safer ones. As I say I wouldn’t actively feed it to my cats, but it’s unlikely to do them any harm if they happen to consume it anyway.
Vinegar as a Feline Food Supplement
Some people use vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, as a food supplement. This is fine; I’ve heard it’s great for arthritis and rheumatism, as well as being an aid to digestion. What works for humans, however, isn’t necessarily effective for cats.
I’ve noticed a tendency for pet guardians to assume that if something is good for people, it will naturally be good for cats. The problem here is that cats have very different systems from humans. What might be an effective remedy for us might not work on cats. I’ve seen people suggesting that arthritic cats might benefit from a dose of cider vinegar, but very little to support these claims. On the whole, I’d avoid giving my cat anything that wasn’t recommended by a vet.
If your cat is suffering from inflammatory conditions, arthritis etc., you will obviously want to help her. The best way to do this, however, is by getting medical advice from a qualified professional. If your cat is struggling with the symptoms of arthritis or some other medical condition, your vet can prescribe something to help her. It’s likely to be much more effective than untested substances from your kitchen cupboard. A vet will also be able to suggest more effective food supplements, like cod-liver oil. You can help your arthritic cat by giving her lots of affection, providing her with a heating pad, and making sure that she gets the exercise she needs.
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Vinegar as a Skin Remedy
There are a lot of kitty home remedies that are supposed to address common feline ailments. In the interests of transparency, I should say that I’m not a fan of trying to treat your cat’s issues yourself. My domestic shorthair’s previous owner apparently tried to fix a skin condition with vinegar, and the irritation just made the symptoms worse.
Skin infections are one condition that people try to treat with vinegar. These treatments involve dabbing diluted vinegar on the site of the infection, or bathing the cat in water with vinegar added. Again, I’m not a fan. I prefer to avoid bathing my cats at all unless it’s absolutely necessary. Washing your cat removes vital natural oils from her skin and fur, and can make her skin irritated. There are more effective treatments available. Ask at your pet store for something that’s formulated for cats, or consult your vet.
Vinegar for Ear Infections
Ear infections in cats can be quite serious. As well as being uncomfortable and distressing for the animal, they can have long-term consequences if not properly treated. An infection that’s left to run rampant can leave your cat deaf in the affected ear and might impair her balance and coordination.
I have seen a mixture of rubbing alcohol and vinegar touted as a possible remedy, and the combination makes me flinch. While both vinegar and alcohol can kill germs, they can only do so on surfaces. An infection that’s taken hold in the tissues of the ear probably won’t respond very well to those substances. Moreover, both rubbing alcohol and vinegar can be irritating if applied liberally to a sensitive area, which definitely describes the inside of a cat’s ear. Again, I would recommend that you take your cat to the vet if she shows signs of an ear infection.
Is Vinegar Safe for Cats?
When it comes time to adopt a new pet, one of the many things you will have to pay attention to is making sure that your home is a completely safe environment for your pet.
Cats cannot tolerate certain substances in the same way that people and other animals can, meaning that you may need to start putting certain items in cabinets or harder to reach places.
When you are making sure that all of the pet-toxic items are out of your new cat’s reach, you may find yourself wondering what you should do with vinegar.
Vinegar might seem like one of those items that is dangerous for your cat, but the truth is that most vinegar is actually completely safe for cats. You can even use vinegar for certain purposes with your cat, including flea removal.
Not only is vinegar safe for your cats to be around, vinegar is often touted as one of the best pet-safe cleaners that you can purchase without having to invest in expensive specialty brands.
Vinegar is also used in a number of holistic pet products, ranging from flea repellants to an anti-chew (or for cats, an anti-scratch) spray.
Cats generally do not like vinegar because of its strong smell, but aside from that, it is safe for them.
Cats can even ingest vinegar and it can be administered as an aid to them in certain circumstances. Keep in mind that cats should only have very, very small amounts of vinegar at a time, as the acidity of vinegar can mess up a cat’s stomach pretty easily.
Feeding a cat vinegar is a controversial way to treat certain conditions, but you should only ever do it under explicit direction from a qualified vet who knows your cat. It is often safer for your cat for you not to bother at all and to search for other methods of treatment.
Can Cats Eat Vinegar?
The idea of actually feeding your cats vinegar is a controversial one. Just as people recommend drinking apple cider vinegar because it can be a health supplement, some people will try to equate this to what goes on in the cat’s body as well. The problem with this is that cats are vastly different than people.
People have stomach acid that tends to be more acidic than vinegar is, meaning that even if it’s uncomfortable, people can stomach the acid far better and with far fewer problems than a cat can.
A cat can eat approximately one teaspoon of diluted apple cider vinegar before problems occur. This is just a minimal amount of diluted vinegar that you would have to force a reluctant cat to eat. There are supplements in the form of treats that you would likely have better luck with.
Risks of Cats Ingesting Vinegar
Vinegar actually poses a fair few risks for cats as well. Vinegar does not mix well with most cat medication, and you should never ever feed a sick cat vinegar for any reason. The vinegar’s acidity will interact with prescription food or medicine, rendering it useless and potentially causing more damage.
Cats with kidney diseases can die from eating just a little bit of vinegar, as the kidneys are what process acid in cats, and feeding a cat almost pure acid when it cannot process it is simply cruel.
When all is said and done, you should never directly feed your cat vinegar. Cats don’t like vinegar and are not going to be inclined to try vinegar past a simple sniff or a lick.
Cats can safely work with vinegar that has been used for cleaning or as a topical flea treatment, as vinegar in these amounts is not enough to damage a cat’s stomach or digestive system, especially if the vinegar has had time to absorb into whatever surface you were cleaning.
Using Vinegar Around the House
Using vinegar is often one of the best things that you can do when you are being mindful of what cats can and cannot interact with.
Vinegar is a fairly good cleaning agent, and it is safe enough that many places recommend that you use vinegar to clean areas of your house if you have pets, as it is generally considered non-toxic (in the amount your cat would lick if it was trying to figure out what you sprayed on the countertop).
Cats tend to be quite bothered by the stench of vinegar, so they rarely go out of their way to try it themselves, but if they are curious enough to take a lick of a surface you just cleaned, the amount of vinegar they would ingest would do no harm to them aside from the mild discomfort of drinking vinegar.
Apple Cider Vinegar is Safer for Cats
If you are using vinegar around your house, apple cider vinegar is going to be your best bet, especially if you are using the vinegar as a topical treatment for your cat. Apple cider vinegar has a bit of a sweeter smell than your standard white vinegar, making it easier on your cat’s sensitive nose compared to white vinegar.
White vinegar is also perfectly safe for cats, but if you are fully cleaning a room with white vinegar, your cats are likely not going to want to enter that room for a bit of time because of the smell.
If you are planning on purchasing vinegar to use around the house, and you know your cat is the type of cat to take an interest in it (albeit a short interest), you should spend the extra money to purchase the highest quality vinegar that you can make use of.
The lower quality vinegars might cause more problems for your cat, especially if they try to ingest it, and it is never worth taking that risk with your pets.
Dilute Vinegar Before Cleaning
Primarily, people use vinegar as a way to clean the house without using pet-toxic chemicals. Some people choose to dilute the vinegar a bit before using it around the house, simply because vinegar can be incredibly strong-smelling. Your cat will likely appreciate you doing this.
Other uses for vinegar include creating an anti-scratch spray for your cats and a topical flea treatment.
Can You Use Vinegar to Stop a Cat From Scratching Something?
Using vinegar as an anti-scratch spray is incredibly simple and straightforward. Cats hate the smell of vinegar, so when you spray some vinegar at something they would normally scratch at, they would have no interest in trying to scratch it.
Most cats also don’t appreciate the taste of vinegar, so if your cat has a problem of biting everything, you can use vinegar as an anti-chew spray as well.
Using Vinegar to Get Rid of Fleas
The same idea is actually used if you want to get rid of fleas, but you aren’t fond of the harsh chemicals that many flea-removal products use.
Fleas also do not appreciate the smell of vinegar, meaning that they will be less inclined to jump onto your cat and use it as a host. Vinegar does not and will not kill fleas that are already on your cat, but it can lessen the problem if they are already there.
If the fleas are already there, you may need to consider another option to kill the ones that have made your cat into their home.
When using the vinegar as a topical solution, your cat will likely try to groom it out, and as long as you don’t use too much vinegar, this is typically fine. It actually helps to spread the vinegar into their fur and skin a little bit more.
What’s even better for your cat is that because the vinegar will get onto its skin, it will be less inclined to bite and scratch at the fleas, since it will only come back tasting the vinegar. This can make vinegar a decent flea-deterrent as well as helping your cat not hurt itself from scratching at the fleas.
Simply put, you will have to be conscious and careful about how much vinegar you use around your cat, but it is perfectly fine if they ingest a little. It’s better than leaving ice cream around for them to eat!