Are Gel Window Clings Toxic to Cats? (Investigating the Risk)

are gel window clings toxic to cats

I went a little overboard last Halloween and really spent more time decorating my house. Apparently, my neighbors have mentioned that my home looks the least ‘Halloweenly’ of the lot.

So in the spirit of being more in line with the neighborly theme, I gave my home a spooky touch.

One thing which I bought and really liked was a couple of gel window clings in the shape of pumpkins and bats.

A neighbor that brought her kids over to trick or treat mentioned that her cat accidentally ate one of those gel window clings that he bought. Fortunately, nothing serious happened to the cat.

Can these window gel clings be toxic to cats when ingested?

Le’s find out

What Are Window Gel Clings?

You can either call them window gel clings or gel window clings but they are the same product.

These gel clings are decorative pieces that you can stick on any smooth surface such as windows or a wall. Many parents like to use them to decorate their kid’s rooms as they come in many cute designs and colors.

Gel window clings are made from thermoplastic polymers which is a type of plastic that allows the window cling to be re-used when taken off the surface.

A thermoplastic is any plastic material that can be molded when it is heated up and hardens up when cooled.

This allows the material to be made into many interesting designs that we see sold in the shops.

Are Gel Window Clings Toxic To Cats?

The good thing is that window gels are not toxic to cats. Many manufacturers are aware that these pieces are commonly used for kids and use a non-toxic material if ingested.

However, when your cat ingests a gel window cling, it can turn into a choking hazard of intestinal obstruction very quickly.

A Choking Hazard

If you were to take a look at your cat’s mouth, you’ll notice that it is rather small compared to a dog’s. That would also mean that your cat’s throat or esophagus will be narrow too.

This is why cats prey on small animals like birds and mice.

You won’t see a cat trying to take down a buffalo or even a prey its size.

These gel window clings comes in an assortment of sizes and some pieces are small enough for your cat to swallow them whole.

I doubt that a cat is able to tear it into smaller pieces given the toughness of the plastic.

When a cat swallows a window gel, there is a risk of it getting lodged in its throat especially if it is a small-sized cat or a kitten.

When this happens, your cat can be at risk of choking to death.

Symptoms of choking include:

  • Breathing difficulty
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Excess drooling
  • Retching or gagging
  • Coughing
  • Highly distressed
  • Seizures

The best way to help your cat when it is choking is to try and remove the window gel from its mouth or throat.

If the object has traveled too far down its esophagus, you will need to be able to perform the Heimlich Maneuver to force it back up and out.

Knowing the Heimlich Maneuver is an important skill as you can apply it not only to your pets but to anyone that is choking as long as you understand the basics.

After removing the gel window cling from your cat, I would still suggest that you bring your cat to the vet for a thorough physical examination to ensure that the choking didn’t cause any unseen damage to your cat’s body.

An Intestinal Obstruction

Let’s assume that you have a big enough cat like a Maine Coon whereby eating a few small pieces of window gel clings won’t pose as a choking hazard.

However, the danger is far from over.

Even when the window gel clings have made it safely down your cat’s esophagus, they can still turn into an intestinal obstruction.

Your cat won’t be able to fully break down the plastic material but its strong stomach acid can partially dissolve it.

These pieces can get lodged within your cat’s gastrointestinal tract and cause an obstruction. An intestinal blockage is very dangerous for cats as it can prevent the cat’s food and stool from properly moving through the intestines.

The sharp edges of the window gel clings can also cut and perforate the thin walls of your cat’s intestines causing sores and infections.

If you suspect that your cat has swallowed a gel window cling, make sure to give your vet a call for advice.

If your cat is showing any of these symptoms, you need to bring it to the vet for treatment immediately.

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Lethargy

An obstruction in your cat’s intestines is a very serious condition and can be fatal for many cats if left untreated.

For cats that are still eating and behaving normally, the vet might ask you to monitor your cat for 48 hours to see if it passes out the pieces in its stool.

Your cat’s digestive tract is a lot shorter than a human’s and it takes about a day or two for a cat to pass out what it ate.

You can help to bulk up your cat’s stool by adding some pumpkin or psyllium husk to your cat’s food. About a quarter to half a teaspoon is enough for most cats.

When using pumpkins, do not use canned pumpkins that contain added ingredients like sugar and other seasonings. Just plain pumpkin puree or blended fresh pumpkin will work better.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Gel Window Clings?

The best and safest way to keep your cat safe is to not use any gel window clings at home. There are a couple of reasons that could make cause your cat to ingest this object.

Your Cat Is Curious

curious cat

Is there a cat out there that isn’t curious about its environment? I will be hard-pressed to find one.

Cats love to investigate anything new around them. It is coded in their DNA and there’s nothing much you can do to change it.

When it happens to find the window gel, its curiosity can cause the cat to take a bite or ingest the whole piece.

It Smells Like Food

Your cat’s nose is an amazing piece of work. It is fourteen times more sensitive than ours and it can pick apart the individual odors of a scent.

There are some plastic materials that are made with animal fat during the manufacturing process. Your cat’s nose is sharp enough to pick up this scent.

Cats are naturally drawn to fat as it is a concentrated energy source for them. This is why some cats are so attracted to plastic as it smells like food.

Your Cat Has Pica

Pica is an eating disorder in both cats and dogs that can cause them to ingest inedible foreign objects such as fabric, metal, wires, plastic, glass, etc.

It can put the cat in a very serious position if it eats foreign objects that are toxic or can cause internal injury.

Doctors are still not certain of what exactly causes Pica but they do think that it could be caused by malnutrition or a genetic defect.

Pica can’t be cured and only managed.

It is advisable to speak to a qualified veterinarian if you suspect that your cat has Pica to see what can be done to keep your cat safe.

Leave a Comment