Cats are fastidious creatures and keep themselves neat and clean all the time by licking their paws and coats. But when playing outside, cats often get dirty to the level that just self-grooming would take eons for them to tidy up. You will have to intervene and do something to clean your kitty so that it does not spread the filth all around the house. To tackle the situation, many pet owners tend to use baby wipes on their furry friends.
However, given that cat skin is very different from that of our furry friends, one may wonder: Are baby wipes safe for cats? We will find out the answer below.
HintIt is always a good idea to keep predominantly human products away from the cats.
Are Baby Wipes Safe for Cats?
No, baby wipes are not safe for cats. They contain loads of chemicals and cleaning agents that are fine for the human skin but are potentially harmful to kitties. The matter can go worse, however, if cats end up ingesting these harmful chemicals by licking the area where the wipes were used.
What Makes Baby Wipes Unsafe for Cats?
Aloe vera is a common plant-based product used in different personal care products and especially in baby wipes because it helps keep rashes at bay while making the skin look and feel softer. However, aloe vera is known to be mild to moderately toxic for cats. Cats who ingest this plant or its extract may instantly vomit, become very lethargic, have diarrhea, pee in a different color, or, in the worst case, face serious health issues that may require immediate vet assistance.
Cats do not only abhor the scent of citric acid, but it is also poisonous for them if consumed. While there are many fruits and veggies that cats can eat, citrus fruits, including oranges and lemons, are toxic to cats.
Baby wipes may not have enough citric acid to cause serious poisoning; nonetheless, they may contain enough of it to make your kitty sick. Therefore, it is better not to take any chance with baby wipes on your cat.
Phenoxyethanol is commonly used in baby wipes as a preservative. It tends to cause skin irritation, dryness, and itchiness in kitties. Another problem with it is its ability to break down into formaldehyde, another dangerous chemical that can cause feline eye infection and upper respiratory tract infections, besides other associated problems.
Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol
Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol, also known as humectants, are used in baby wipes to keep the skin moisturized; nevertheless, they can cause skin irritation in cats. In fact, even a small amount of these may lead to serious skin rash in cats. To make matters worse, humectants end up opening the skin’s pores, and consequently, other harmful chemicals can easily make their way into them.
Propylene Glycol is especially bad for felines if ingested in large amounts as poisoning can occur: it may lead to a drop in blood pressure, cardiovascular collapse, and seizures.
Different kinds of fragrances are used in baby wipes to produce an appealing odor in them. Since artificial fragrances are made from different chemicals, wipe manufacturers rarely share details about them, and the exact impact of these on felines cannot be known. Nonetheless, artificial fragrances often lead to dried skin conditions if applied and respiratory problems if ingested. Natural fragrances, likewise, are no different: lavender, a commonly used natural product, is toxic to cats even if consumed in small amounts.
In addition, cats are very sensitive to strong smells. What we think smells great might be quite overwhelming and distressing for them.
Soap and Detergent
Baby wipes usually come with added soaps and detergents to keep the skin clean. However, these ingredients can irritate and dry out cat skin. In case cats ingest such items, the gastrointestinal system may get upset, and vomiting or foaming in the mouth may occur. Also, note that though true soaps are not toxic to felines, the ones with a lot of additives can be.
Triclosan is used in baby wipes for its antibacterial properties. It is also known for considerably slowing down the growth of germs. However, if ingested, triclosan may have serious consequences for cats. According to some recent studies, even a wee bit of triclosan can cause colon problems in pets. Some of them include colon inflammation, increased probability of colitis, and colon cancer. Additionally, ingesting triclosan may also lead to thyroid and skin problems.
What Are the Alternatives to Baby Wipes for Cats?
Indeed, the convenience associated with baby wipes cannot be denied: their hassle-free use and quick action seem to have no alternative. However, since baby wipes are not safe for kitties, it is pertinent to list down some alternatives.
Unlike baby wipes, pet wipes are specifically designed for animals. These can be further subdivided into cat and dog wipes, specially made for the respective pet. They are free from harmful ingredients and, hence, completely safe for use on pets. Some cat skin-friendly ingredients included in pet wipes are vitamins, Hawaiian awaphui, oatmeal, and chamomile.
Vetnique Labs Furbliss Pet Wipes are great and handy at removing dirt from your furry pal. Besides, they are also recommended by pet groomers and vets for proper hygiene.
Note:You might notice that the product contains aloe. However, since these wipes are specially designed for use on cats and dogs, no harmful impact can occur.
Wet clothes can replace baby or pet wipes. However, they might not be as effective, especially if plain water is used. To make it stronger, you can dampen your cloth with a solution of baking soda and water. Also, make sure to test the solution in a small spot on your cat before proceeding with a damp cloth on the entire body of your pet.
Paper towel can be used instead of wipes; nevertheless, make sure you do not dampen them to the point that it starts breaking and tearing apart.
Using Dry Shampoo
Dry shampooing your cat is among the simplest yet effective alternatives to baby wipes for cats. Dry shampoos are completely harmless for their skin and offer a quick alternative to bathing kittens: just apply some of it on your feline pal’s coat, rub it well, and, finally, brush the coat to see the effect.
Davis Dry Cat & Dog Shampoo freshens the coat of your kitty besides keeping the excess oil formation at bay. With sulfate and paraben-free formula, the product is handy and quick. Just apply and see the magic!
Brushing can remove most of the dirt. Besides, it can keep the coat clean if done on regular bases, say every three to four days. Besides, it can also reduce shedding and strengthen the bond between you and your cat. To make brushing easy and more effective, try doing it in the direction of hair growth with the best hairbrush for cats.
What Are the Body Areas in Cats Most Sensitive to Baby Wipes?
In general, the whole kitty body is sensitive to the adverse effects of baby wipe ingredients; nevertheless, the specific areas most prone to hurting are:
- Around the anus and genitals
- And nose
What to Do if You Have Already Used Baby Wipes on Your Cat?
Should you be worried if you have already used baby wipes on your feline? Sorry to disappoint, but yes. To mitigate the impact, as a first step, monitor your cat for a few hours to see if there are any visible signs of sickness and deteriorating health. If they appear, contact a vet immediately. However, even if the health is not impacted, it is still advisable to take your pal to the vet for a professional check-up just to be on the safer side.
Also, note that kittens have more sensitive skin and underdeveloped immunity as compared to adult cats. Hence, they are far more prone to the disastrous effects of baby wipes and require extra care.
If you are caring for newborn kittens, check out our Kitten Growth Chart and Kitten Feeding Chart to learn how to provide the best possible care to young kittens.
Are Dog Wipes Safe for Cats?
Some dog wipes are safe for cats, while others are not because it depends entirely on the ingredients used in dog wipes. If you have a cat and dog living together under your roof, you should get pet wipes that are safe for both cats and dogs. Therefore, before purchasing, you should make double-check by reading the label carefully and make sure that the dog wipes you select for your feline do not contain any ingredient that may be harmful to her.
Conclusion: Are Baby Wipes Safe for Cats?
No! Baby wipes are not safe for cats. One may say that baby skin is more sensitive than an adult cat’s skin but what they are missing is that both have very different sensitivities. Many ingredients used in baby wipes are perfectly safe for a baby’s skin but are harmful to a cat’s skin and could lead to serious health issues if the cat were to ingest them.
If it is an emergency and you are out of cat wipes, you can use a damp cloth to clean up your cat or check out other alternatives discussed above.
If you are also caring for a canine friend, you may want to check out our post on Are Baby Wipes Safe For Dogs? They are not!