Cats are known to be particular about their cleanliness. They are fastidious groomers and can spend a couple of hours each day licking themselves clean.
As clean as cats can be, there will be times when your cat will need some human intervention in keeping them clean.
As a cat owner myself, I prefer to wipe my cat’s butt after he has taken a poop in the litter box. This is to prevent him from leaving ‘skid marks’ on my bed or couch which is rather gross.
Can you use baby wipes to clean your cat’s butt?
Let’s find out.
Do Baby Wipes Hurt Cats?
Using baby wipes as a cleaning method is not ideal as they might not be very safe for cats. Baby wipes can contain ingredients that are safe to humans but can be harmful to cats. Your cat can suffer from toxin poisoning if it licks these ingredients after getting wiped. There are safe ways to clean your cat’s bum than using baby wipes.
What Do Baby Wipes Contain?
There are many types of baby wipes available in the market these days. You can find baby wipes that are scented or unscented, has anti-bacterial properties or contain aloe vera that helps soothe the baby’s skin since it is more sensitive than adults.
In general, the main components of most baby wipes will be water, cleanser, oil and a preservative.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the ingredients in baby wipes that can be harmful to your cat.
Baby wipes that have anti-bacterial properties usually contain a certain amount of alcohol to kill germs and bacteria. The use of such baby wipes isn’t recommended for babies as alcohol can be very drying on the skin.
The pH level of your cat’s skin is also different from ours. Cat’s skin is more alkaline in nature compared to humans which is more acidic.
The presence of alcohol on the cat’s sensitive skin can cause dryness and irritation and even more so on such sensitive areas like your cat’s bum. If your cat licks the alcohol off its fur, it can cause, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness and digestive issues.
The main purpose of baby wipes is for cleaning and they do contain a small amount of cleaning agents like lauryl glucoside. Some wipes can contain harsher cleaning agents like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate.
These components are known to be toxic to cats when inhaled or ingested. It can cause cancer, respiratory issues, skin and eye irritation.
Such cleansing compounds are also widely found in the toothpaste that we used. Cat owners need to keep their cats away from toothpaste as it is very toxic to pets.
Preservatives are used in baby wipes to keep them smelling fresh and moist. Dry baby wipes don’t do a good job. There is a high propensity for mold and mildew to form due to the wet environment.
The thing about such preservatives is that it’s usually harmful to cats to their citric nature like grapefruit seed extract and citric acid.
The inhalation or ingestion of anything citrus is bad for cats. A cat’s sense of smell is very sensitive and inhalation of citrus can cause damage to the scent receptors found in the cat’s nose.
These citrus compounds may contain extracts like limonene and linalool that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and weakness.
Some baby wipes can also contain stronger preservatives like sodium benzoate that can lead to cancer and blood disorders in cats.
Most baby wipes are scented to give the baby a nice clean smell after cleaning the kid. These fragrances can be from essential oils like peppermint, tea tree, lavender or citrus.
Both ingestion and exposure to your cat’s sensitive skin can cause breathing difficulty, skin irritation and muscle tremors.
Are Unscented Baby Wipes Safe For Cats?
Anything unscented works better on cats and pets in general unless it is made specifically for pets. Even though the baby wipe might be unscented, it can still contain the above chemicals that can cause irritation and harm to your cat. Do note that not all types of baby wipes are safe for dogs too.
Home-Made Cat Wipes
Even though you should not be using a baby wipe on your cat, there are much better alternatives that you can use that are safe for cats.
This is something that I use rather frequently to clean my cat’s bottom. All you have to do is to wet the paper towel and wipe your cat. A few things to note, it is better to use a paper towel that isn’t too thick to clean your cat. I find one that is slightly thicker than a 3-ply tissue paper works best.
Dry Mop Refill Cloths
If you use a dry mop to clean your home, you can use the refills as good homemade cat wipes. These refills are usually made from fabric like polyester without any chemicals or preservatives which makes them safe for cats.
One dry mop cloth is too big for one single use so you can cut it up into quarters or eighths and use it when necessary. Just wet the fabric and wipe your cat’s butt.
Some dry mop cloths can be rather rough, so choose one that is gentler on your cat.
Make sure to not use the wet mop refills as those can contain chemicals that can harm your cat.
If you are looking for something that is reusable, a small microfiber cloth will do the job nicely. The fabric is soft enough for your cat’s behind and can be easily washed and dried.
It would be good to not use the same cloth to clean other parts of your cat since you are wiping its butt with it.
Rinsed and Washed Baby Wipes
I have used this homemade method a few times without any issue. The aim is to get a very gentle baby wipe that contains no alcohol and fragrance.
Remove all the wipes from the packet and soak them in warm water first remove any chemicals from it. Once this is done, I will rinse the wipes properly under running water and hang them to dry before storing them in a clean container.
If you find pet wipes too expensive this can be a cheaper alternative for many pet owners.
Do not apply solutions like witch hazel which can irritate your cat’s skin.
Are Pet Wipes Safe For Cats?
Most pet wipes that are sold in pet stores have been tested to be safe for pets in general. The pet wipes manufacturers will be using chemicals and ingredients that are a lot safer for cats. However, it would still be best to avoid pet wipes that are heavily scented or contain essential oils.
Even though pet wipes are made for cats, many cat owners tend to not use them due to the costs. One box of wipes can be rather expensive and they get used up fast.
Are Aloe Vera Wipes Safe For Cats?
Aloe vera is considered a double-edged sword when it comes to cats. The ASPCA considers the aloe vera a toxic plant for cats.
But here’s the thing.
The inside soft gel of the plant that we use on wounds and cuts is fine for cats to consume. However, the white sap which is found on the outside of the plant is toxic for cats.
Cats that consume this part of the aloe vera can get bad side effects like diarrhea, vomiting and dizziness.
Pet products that use aloe vera as an ingredient do not contain the white sap. Therefore it is safer to use pet wipes for your cat.
Why Does My Cat Not Clean His Bum?
Most cats are rather capable of cleaning up after themselves after using the litter box. It is usually due to a physical issue that might prevent a cat from doing so.
Older cats with arthritis or joint problems are no longer as nimble and flexible as they once were to accomplish such a feat.
Some very young kittens are also bad at grooming themselves if they have not been properly taught by their mothers. This can happen if they are taken away from their litter before 14 weeks old and have not learned the grooming techniques for maintaining proper hygiene.
Will Cats Lick Poop Off Themselves?
Cats will usually lick their own butts clean if things get a bit messy down there. They don’t have the capability of using toilet paper like humans hence nature gave them a tongue that can do a good job.
The good thing is cats don’t get sick when it comes to licking their own bums. Their immune system is strong enough to handle this function.
If your cat is healthy, its poo should be firm and non-watery allowing a clean exit without dirtying your cat’s bum area,
But if you find your cat’s poo too watery and runny most of the time, it is time for a vet visit as something isn’t right with your cat.