Chlorine is a chemical compound that is found in many of our daily items. It is used in the production of paper and cloth, cleaning products and bleah and most importantly, chlorine helps to disinfect water making it safe for our consumption.
We know that the amount of chlorine used to disinfect our drinking and pool water is safe for human consumption.
But is chlorine bad for cats?
Chlorine isn’t bad for cats if it is diluted and used in the right amounts in our drinking and pool water. The diluted levels of chlorine won’t be toxic enough to cause any chlorine poisoning in cats. However, a strong enough dosage of chlorine can be harmful to cats.
In this article, we will further discuss how harmful is chlorine exposure to your cat’s day to day life and what you can do about it.
What Is Chlorine?
It is safe to say that chlorine is one of the most important chemical compounds in the world. Without chlorine, the human race would have issues purifying the water that we consume. Chlorine is also used in the manufacturing process for many of our daily essentials.
Chlorine is derived from salt and is made from the electrolysis process of sodium chloride solution.
Chlorine is also naturally produced by volcanoes and some plants.
Why Are Cats Obsessed With Chlorine?
If you have ever smelt chlorine before, it isn’t something that one would label as pleasant. It has a very sharp and pungent odor that is quite off-putting.
But for cats, it could mean something else.
Cats have an amazing sense of smell due to having over 200 million odor sensors in their nose. The smell of chlorine to cats is said to resemble that of the mating pheromones.
When cats are in their mating cycle, they will mark their territory with their scent and pheromones. This is to signal to other cats that they are single and ready to mingle.
If you have smelt the urine markings of an unsterilized cat, it can be really pungent, almost chlorine-like.
This is why some cats love chlorine as they mistake it for sex hormones.
They can become aroused when smelling chlorine and start rolling and rubbing on spots that have the chlorine smell.
Smells Like Catnip
Some cats are addicted to catnip and can have a ready interesting reaction to it. The common feedback that most cat owners will tell is that their cats get ‘high’ on catnip.
And it is true.
Cats have a similar reaction when they smell chlorine thus giving them a feeling of ‘happiness’.
Is Chlorine Harmful To Cats?
Yes, chlorine in its undiluted and concentrated form can be harmful to cats. Chlorine-based products like bleach or window cleaners can alter your cat’s behavior and cause chlorine poisoning.
You should keep any cleaning products or solutions away from your cat as many of such products contain chlorine.
Is Chlorinated Pool Water Bad For Cats?
It won’t be much of an issue if your cat happens to drink chlorinated pool water. The chlorine has been diluted to a concentration that isn’t toxic to cats.
The problem arises when your cat uses the outdoor pool as its main water source and likes drinking pool water frequently.
There can be a long term exposure risk for cats that do this.
Drinking a small amount of water from a properly maintained pool is fine for cats. But doing so daily can cause chlorine build up in your cat’s body.
Symptoms Of Chlorine Poisoning
There are some cat breeds that enjoy being in the water like the Maine Coon and Turkish Van. Don’t be surprised to find these cats hanging out and swimming in the pool frequently. A wading pool that has a high chlorine content can cause symptoms like red eyes and itchy skin.
These cats are also more prone to ingesting larger amounts of chlorinated water than cats who don’t swim.
Here are some symptoms that cats who are affected by the chlorine can exhibit:
- White patches around the mouth
- Stomach upset
Some symptoms need to be treated by the vet so please take your cat to the clinic immediately.
How To Keep Your Cat Away From The Pool?
For pool owners who have an outdoor pool, it would be better to only grant your cat access when you are around to supervise.
You don’t want your cat to be able to access the pool as and when it wants to.
Here are some ways that you can prevent your cat from drinking pool water or swimming in it.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
Even though your cat isn’t allowed to roam outside but has outside to the pool in the backyard, lock the doors and windows to prevent it from getting out.
Cats are pretty smart creatures when it comes to escaping so make sure you deal off all access points to the pool.
Cover Your Pool
These days, you can easily get a pool cover that can cover up the entire pool. This is great for protecting your pool during the winter months or if you have small kids at home that can slip and fall in the pool.
It is also great for cats and dogs and can keep them away from the pool. Just make sure to cover your pool well or your cat can slip in through the gaps.
Get An Indoor Water Fountain
If your cat has a thing for water, you can satisfy its desire for playing with water by getting an indoor water fountain.
Many pet stores sell water fountains for pets that they can play with and also drink from. You definitely want to fill the water fountain with drinkable tap water for your cat.
Would be a good idea to place the water fountain on a waterproof mat as the floor can get wet with your cat’s splashing.
Swim In The Bathtub
For pet owners whose cats love to swim, keep your cat away from the pool and fill up your bathtub with fresh water for your cat to swim in.
Don’t just fill your bathtub to the brim and leave your cat alone in there which is dangerous.
Change into your swimwear and spend some quality time with your cat doing something that it enjoys. Throw in some pool toys in the water to make it even more fun for your cat.
When planning a swim in the bathtub for your cat, leave out the bubble bath as the soap can irritate your cat’s eyes and skin.
Rinse Your Swimwear Properly
I know that this might sound rather trivial but the devil is in the details. If you use your outdoor pool often and leave your chlorine soaked swimwear lying around the house, your can get ingest chlorine by licking it off your swimwear.
It might not seem like much if done a few times but we are looking at long term effects here. Cats are much smaller than us and have different biological make-up.
It can be more of a problem if you have a cat that is very sensitive to chlorine.
Keep All Pool Related Products Away From Your Cat
You might do a great job in keeping your cat away from the pool but don’t forget to keep all your pool products like chlorine tablets and high chlorine concentration sanitization solutions.
Inhaling or ingesting any of such products could spell big trouble for your cat.
If you hire a pool care professional to maintain your pool, make sure you are around to keep your cat away from the products as it might be drawn to the smell of the dangerous chlorine products.
Most Common Chlorine Alternative
There is a safer alternative to chlorine and it’s called bromine. It smells less pungent and isn’t as harsh a chemical as compared to chlorine.
A few downsides are that it is more expensive than chlorine and not as stable under direct sunlight which isn’t ideal for outdoor pools.
As fun as it can be for the family when it comes to having an outdoor pool at home, you also need to think of the potential hazardous risks that it can pose to your cat.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have a pool if you are planning on getting one. Make sure to keep your cat away from the pool and stash all chlorine-based products in a safe place away from your inquisitive cat.