Cats are wonderful, but that famous curiosity of theirs is often a recipe for trouble. This is especially the case during playtime, when they get overexcited and gobble something down that they definitely should not have. So, if your cat ate fiberglass insulation, are they going to be okay?
Fiberglass fibers are thankfully non-toxic, but they can still cause obstructions inside your cat in the intestines or at the very least, get all over your cat’s fur and give them a bad case of fiberglass dermatitis. As such, it’s best to get your cat to the veterinarian quickly to avoid either one of these unpleasant possible outcomes.
Today we’ve got some excellent tips to share with you on the subject so that if this happens with your cat, you’ll be well and truly prepared to make a difference. Let’s discuss kitties, fiberglass insulation, and what you need to know!
Table of Contents
Can cats get sick from eating insulation?
While those fiberglass fibers are not technically toxic on their own, they ARE treated with formaldehyde, which you definitely don’t want your cat ingesting. There’s also the question of the dust particles that go with them which make humans and kitties itchy.
These particles can be inhaled, for instance, and this can cause your kitty to get sores in their nose or even in their throat, and aside from feeling unpleasant your cat will likely be rubbing against things like crazy as they try to scratch. This brings us to the next problem, which is generally the most worrisome.
Fiberglass can get on your cat’s fur and this means that they be prone to skin irritation and that they will also be trying to lick the fiberglass off of them, further increasing the chances of sores in their mouth and throat and the chance of getting fibers in their lungs.
Fiberglass is also linked to certain cancers, so heavy exposure is definitely bad news for felines. At the very least your cat will likely vomit and may have a case of diarrhea to go with that, but it can definitely get worse and it’s best to call your vet right away for some assistance with the next steps.
Cats and Fiberglass dermatitis
If your cat has gotten fiberglass in their fur while trying to eat a bit, you can help them with an apple cider vinegar bath. Vinegar is safe, and though your cat will hate the smell, it will help to dissolve the particles that an initial warm bath with a mild soap are unable to remove.
After the warm bath, clean your kitty with a 50/50 mix of warm water and apple cider vinegar, followed with a lukewarm or even a cold rinse to get the vinegar out. After this, depending on your cat’s skin, you may need to apply a cat-safe emollient such as Derma-Vet or another brand that your veterinarian recommends.
While an immediate vet visit is still going to be the best course of action, if you are unable to go right away then this gives you something that you can do to help your kitty to get a little relief. Once you are sure that the fiberglass is out, just don’t forget to follow up with the vet as soon as you can.
If your cat has ingested fiberglass, you really want the vet involved, and they will have soothing creams that can help to take away the itch because with your kitty’s claws, even just the fiberglass itch has the potential to be very dangerous for your cat.
Why would a cat eat fiberglass insulation?
The biggest danger with fiberglass is that it’s soft and flexible, making it look like something that might be fun for your cat to play with. Your cat probably has no intention of eating it, going in to their play session, but once anything is in motion and your cat goes into ‘hunting mode’ then all bets are off.
This is one of the biggest causes of your cat ingesting inedible items. They see it move, they catch it, and then they bite into it! If your cat has been eating other non-edible items in the house, however, then it could be a sign of a condition called ‘pica’.
This can occur as early as 3 months in age, though most cats will outgrow this unseemly habit by the time that they are 1 or 2 years old. If you suspect that your cat might have Pica, this is something that you should mention to your vet when you visit.
In some cases, these behaviors are anxiety related, and your vet can definitely help with this, so be sure to let them know if your cat has been eating more than that nasty fiberglass – it might well be Pica and you’ll want to get on top of this quickly to minimize any health hazards.
What Should I Do If My Cat Ate Insulation?
If your cat only took a quick nip at some fiberglass in front of you, then a warm bath with a mild soap is a good first start, followed by cleaning with apple cider vinegar mixed 50/50 with warm water if they have gotten a dusting of fiberglass on their coat.
If they took a big bite of it or you simply aren’t sure, then call your veterinarian or simply bring your cat in immediately. While they should be okay, the fiberglass can definitely cause gastrointestinal distress, and if it’s gotten in their skin then your vet can prescribe medicines that will be much better than the pet store varieties.
Your kitty should be okay, but get the vets final word on the matter just to be sure. Since fiberglass fibers are treated with formaldehyde, it’s best to err on the side of safety and caution.
In conclusion: Fiberglass and Felines don’t mix!
While your cat should be fine, due to fiberglass dermatitis and the possibility of getting fiberglass dust in their lungs, it’s really going to be best to bring your cat in to the local vet.
Thankfully, cats are rarely going to eat more than a taste of the stuff – it’s definitely unpleasant – but your vet can quickly treat the worst of it and make sure that only a small amount was ingested.
If you can’t bring them in right away, then go with the warm bath and apple cider vinegar and take them in when you can. Your kitty will definitely thank you for helping them to get a little relief!