Is It Dangerous for My Cat If I Disinfect My Hands?

The corona pandemic has made hand disinfectants a constant companion – after all, it reliably kills bacteria and other pathogens. But does hand disinfection harm animals at the same time, for example, my cat?

Let’s start at the very beginning: What is disinfectant anyway? Most traditional products are based on ethanol – in simple terms, alcohol. It’s not poisonous, which is good. Nevertheless, as a cat owner, you should keep a few things in mind.

“It is definitely safe if you use disinfectants for your hands yourself,” explains veterinarian Dr. Jamie Richardson opposite “Catster”. However, it is important to know that hand disinfection was developed for people.

Although it is not explicitly toxic to cats, you should still keep it away from your velvet paw. And: Under no circumstances should you use disinfectants on your cat!

Hand Disinfection is Not Good for Cats

Even if the intention behind it may be good – you will not protect yourself or your cat from the coronavirus or other diseases. On the contrary: many cats do not like it when you put cream on them. That’s why many try to lick themselves clean. As a result, if you smeared it on your cat, your cat could ingest the disinfectant.

Also, due to the high alcohol content, the disinfectant can dry out your cat’s paws and cause painful cracks. In the worst case, these can ignite if dirt or bacteria get into the wound.

Fortunately, if you don’t put disinfectant on your cat (which, as I said, you should never do!), The chance that it will ingest disinfectant is pretty slim: the vet explains that most cats probably don’t like the taste. Even if the cat licks your disinfected hand, it probably only does it once …

Disinfectants Pose a Risk of Alcohol Poisoning

As long as your puss only licks briefly, it has little effect on her health. “You may also notice that your cat is drooling a little because of the bad taste,” says Dr. Richardson. The situation is different if the cat ingests large amounts of disinfectant while grooming or if its skin absorbs it: Then there is a risk of alcohol poisoning.

Possible symptoms include nausea, vomiting, increased saliva production, lethargy, fatigue, disorientation, collapse, and difficulty breathing. If left untreated, alcohol poisoning can be extremely dangerous for cats – and in the worst-case scenario, it can be fatal.

You should therefore pay attention to this when hand disinfecting:

  • Do not pet your cat until your hands are completely dry;
  • Keep disinfectant in a safe place that your cat cannot reach;
  • Has your cat started hand disinfection? Then immediately to the vet!

And: The same applies of course to dogs and all other pets!

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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