Vaseline used to be a universal panacea in my household while I was growing up. If we had minor cuts, use vaseline. If we had burns, use vaseline. If we had dry lips and skin from the cold, use vaseline.
If we needed to grease a creaking gate or door, it’s vaseline to the rescue.
You might have heard of some cat users using vaseline on their cats to treat certain ailments. If your cat is having a sore bum, is it safe to apply some vaseline to that area?
Vaseline is generally safe to be used on your cat’s bum if it’s sore. You can apply some vaseline to try and soothe that area. However, depending on the underlying issue that is making your cat’s bum sore, vaseline can start to make a bigger mess of things.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what vaseline is and if it’s the best option for cats with sore bums.
What Exactly Is Vaseline?
Vaseline is made out of petroleum jelly which consists of natural waxes and mineral oils. It has been touted as a healing balm for many years.
However, the origins of vaseline might not be appealing to some of you.
The main ingredient, petroleum jelly, was a jelly-like substance that was discovered at the bottom of empty oil barrels by oil miners.
They began rubbing this substance on their cuts and burns and noticed that it had a healing effect.
I guess you do find something good at the bottom of a barrel from time to time.
The founder of vaseline, Robert Chesebrough, took this newly discovered substance and refined it into the vaseline that we know today.
Vaseline works by trapping the moisture in the skin which allows it to heal faster. If you have sore skin issues that are dry or wounded, vaseline can help with the healing process.
Apply it like a lip balm or directly to the skin.
Is Vaseline Toxic To Cats?
Before I use anything foreign on my cat, I will make sure to have some knowledge of the product’s potential toxicity to my cat.
The good news is that vaseline isn’t considered toxic to cats.
Your cat will be fine even if it were to ingest a small amount of vaseline. I myself have fed my cat some vaseline to help with his chronic hairball issues in the past.
Why Is My Cat’s Bum Sore?
We all have those days when our bum gets sore due to a digestive system issue that can make your bum burn and tear.
It can happen to your cats too for a number of reasons.
If you have a pet at home, you can expect it to get loose and smelly poop every once in a while. My cat gets it about once a month for no reason at all and it clears up on its own.
There are some potential causes of diarrhea in cats:
- Eating something toxic or has gone bad
- Eating too much (especially kittens)
- Intestinal parasites
- Food allergies
- Inflammatory bowel disease (IDB)
- Currently on medication
- Poor gut microbiome
If your cat is going to the litter box every hour to poop, the bum will be sore after some time. For diarrhea that is severe, your cat could even be leaking poop everywhere around the house due to bowel incontinence.
Diarrhea that goes on for too long is dangerous for your cat as it can lose too much water and electrolytes in the body.
There are many pet owners who will use baby wipes to wipe their cats’ bums after they poop. It might seem ok since the wipes are meant for babies but they can contain ingredients that can irritate your cat’s sensitive behind.
Being constipated is quite the opposite of having diarrhea.
Instead of having to poop too much, your cat’s bowel movements have almost come to a grinding halt.
A cat that is constipated will be going to the litter box often as well but won’t be able to poop. It will be straining and meowing in pain while trying to poop.
Constipation in cats can be caused by:
- Not drinking enough water
- Eating an inedible object
- Anxiety or stress
- Kidney issues
- Intestinal blockage
Too much fiber and plant matter can also give your cat constipation. Cats are obligate carnivores and can do without any form of carbs or plant matter as part of their daily diet.
Just feed your cat wet food or raw meat. Stay away from dry food as it isn’t healthy for cats.
Similar to diarrhea, prolonged constipation isn’t healthy for cats as all the food and poop get stuck in the digestive system.
It can lead to a blockage in your cat’s intestines and lead to megacolon which can be life-threatening.
A prolapsed anus is when your cat’s rectal tissue is partially sticking out from its bum. It can happen when your cat is having either diarrhea or constipation.
The rectum can protrude out this way from all the straining and overuse while your cat is pooping.
You can notice some dark red tissue sticking out of your cat’s anus. This is more than just a superficial sore and needs medical attention immediately.
Anal Sac Infection
Your cat has a pair of anal sacs that are situated at the entrance of its anus. They are not visible as it located on the inside.
Most cat owners are rather surprised to know their cats have anal sacs too as it is usually more talked about in dogs.
The cat’s anal sacs contain a dark, oily and pungent fluid which contains the cat’s unique profile. It’s used for territory marking and poop lubrication.
These anal sacs can become infected if there are not sufficiently emptied or by bacteria from the feces.
When this happens, the anal sacs become swollen and painful.
Your cat will try to relieve some of this discomfort by dragging its butt across the floor which can cause a sore bum too.
This action is called ‘scooting’ and it’s commonly seen in dogs too.
Can I Put Vaseline On My Cat’s Bum?
Putting vaseline on your cat’s rear end is ok as a temporary band-aid. The petroleum jelly in vaseline isn’t toxic to cats so you can rest at ease even if your cat licks a little off.
You can put some Vaseline to help with the redness and soreness.
There are a few things that you need to be aware of before applying it to your feline friend.
If you have touched vaseline before, it is very oily and sticky which makes it a good skin protectant.
On the flip side, it can also trap and seal in bacteria and other unsanitary stuff like poo on your cat’s skin.
Before you even apply vaseline on your cat’s bum, you really need to make sure that the area is very clean.
When applying the vaseline, use a cotton bud instead of your bare hands to prevent any form of contamination.
We are dealing with a very sensitive area here.
Another thing to consider is when your cat is having diarrhea. The poo will be very soft and ‘liquidy’ which can get stuck to the vaseline.
When that happens, totally clean off everything and reapply a thin layer again.
Can I Apply Vaseline On My Cat?
The same rules apply if you plan to use vaseline on your cat’s body if it has a minor scrape or wound. For example, your cat has a minor scratch on its tail when it brushed against something sharp.
This can cause your cat’s tail to bleed and you can apply some vaseline to the wound.
What I would normally do is clean the area with some saline solution before applying vaseline. I wouldn’t recommend using the saline solution on your cat’s butt as it can really sting for such a delicate area.
If you have a really fussy and inquisitive kitty (they all are) that keeps licking the vaseline off, you might have to use an Elizabethan collar to prevent your cat from doing so.
Are They Any Dangers To Using Vaseline On Cats?
As safe as vaseline can be for cats, it isn’t exactly totally 100% risk-free. Here are some potential health risks that can affect your cat.
Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or (PAHs)
Petroleum jelly is known to contain concentrated amounts of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or (PAHs) in their natural form.
PAHs are toxic to animals as they can cause issues such as:
- Depression in the central nervous system
- Cardiac arrest
Although vaseline is made with the same substance as its main ingredient, it claims that its petroleum jelly goes through a triple purification process to eliminate the hydrocarbons.
That might be good to know but hydrocarbons have been shown to accumulate in the body over time, meaning that continued exposure can have cumulative, adverse effects.
So even if the trace amounts won’t do any harm to our cat today, there’s no telling what the long-term side effects are if it’s used on a regular basis.
Unlike humans, cats are very sensitive to toxins and it won’t take much to have an adverse effect on them.
Whatever you do. please do not apply vaseline on or in your vat’s nose. Vaseline can easily obstruct your cat’s nostrils due to its thick and sticky consistency.
This can make breathing very difficult for your cat.
There’s also the danger of your cat inhaling vaseline into its lungs. Small amounts of petroleum jelly can enter the lungs via the windpipe and start to accumulate over time.
This can eventually cause the cat’s lungs to become swollen and inflamed which is also known as lipoid pneumonia.
It can make your cat cough and have breathing difficulties.
Although considered to be a rare risk, it can happen if your cat is small and has ingested a large amount of vaseline.
Given the sticky texture of vaseline, it can get stuck in your cat’s intestinal tract. This can start to cause a blockage in that area which can be life-threatening for your cat.
Can Vaseline Treat Constipation In Cats?
There are cat owners who will give their cats the occasional serving of vaseline to help with constipation. Vaseline is known to help coat the intestinal tract of the cat which makes it easier for the poop to ‘slip out’.
I used to give my cat some vaseline as hairball control and mild constipation remedy. But I’ve stopped doing that for some time now and prefer using more natural alternatives.
These days, I feed my cat either fresh pumpkin or psyllium husk which does a pretty good job. Just mix in a small amount (1/4-1/2 teaspoon) for a few days and that should help your cat.
What Can I Put On My Cat’s Sore Bum?
If you are not too keen about using vaseline on your cat or if your cat is allergic to it, there are some other alternatives that you can consider.
Cold pressed coconut oil and cold pressed olive oil are some other skin protectants that you can use instead of vaseline.
If your cat has constipation or hairball issues, both types of oil can work. But for topical application, I prefer coconut oil as it has better anti-inflammatory and healing properties.