Are Candles Bad For Cats? Safe Scents For Your Feisty Feline

Martha Martins
Oct 19, 2023 By Martha Martins
Originally Published on Oct 25, 2021
Gray kitten and a festive cupcake with one candle.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.9 Min

Do you want to know whether scented candles pose a threat to your pet cat or dog?

If you are a cat lover and have an affinity for scented candles as well, you may have a dilemma. While scents bring a beautiful atmosphere to your home, they might be toxic to cats.

Who doesn’t enjoy the pleasures of scented candles in their house? A good smell never did any harm. These candles could act as air fresheners, create a romantic ambiance and make baths more soothing and enjoyable. We all want our homes to smell good but having pets and lighting scented candles can be risky.

There are some scented candles that can be troublesome for your pet cat or dog, but there are also some which are safe for your pets. Poor quality, organic wax candles are not only dangerous for cats but can be harmful to your family and you as well.

After reading about the possible toxic effects of organic wax candles on your pet, you should also read about are spider plants toxic to cats and are roses toxic to cats?

Are scented candle fumes toxic to cats?

The issue is that most industrial candles are composed of wax, which is derived from petrol. This means many scented candles are neither renewable nor ecologically beneficial. Some candles contain animal fat as well.

These paraffin candles are toxic and you shouldn't even light them your homes. The leftovers that are present after burning candles are full of chemicals. These are likely to create respiratory issues for you and are bad for cats.

Another reason why paraffin candles are sold in large volumes is because of how cheap it is to make them. With the rise of petrol-based candles being combined with wax, they are releasing a lot more chemicals which are even more harmful than wax.

You are inhaling poisonous and dangerous gases when these fumes are released from burning paraffin candles.

Although they can’t be seen by the naked eyes, but these paraffin candles emit huge quantities of chemical gases.

The impact on your pets is amplified since a cat is significantly smaller and cannot absorb the poisons as rapidly. Cats are also more responsive to scent than human beings are.

As much as we like to burn candles and make the ambiance better in our homes, lighting even a few paraffin candles could make the air quality worse in houses. It is also a fact that these fumes last longer even after you have blown out the candles and may affect the health of your fur babies too.

So, overall, it could be said that candles are bad for cats.

What scents are safe for cats?

If you are an avid candle lover, it is better to use organic candles which don’t contain paraffin or any other chemical substances. Organic candles are environmentally friendly and better for your health.

They might be expensive when compared to paraffin candles, but they are worth it. Always do your research and look for candles that are made out of wax, coconut, or soy. Cotton candles burn better than those with metal poles in the middle, which may release toxic substances into the atmosphere.

Using organic candles has a lot of benefits. They don’t let out any toxins and burn longer than paraffin candles.

They don’t contain any animal fats that are poisonous. They are environment-friendly, recyclable, and better for your cats.

Also, opt for candles that are made from vegetable wax. Make sure to avoid products manufactured from (or containing) paraffin, since they can emit more possible pollutants and allergens that can cause irritation to both you and your pet's respiratory tract and make you sick.

Some sprays are also available in the market that provides fragrance for a short while but are better than chemical ones. Odor absorbers are also an excellent choice if you want to get rid of unwanted scents without having to create a new fragrance.

If you're curious about what smells are safe for cats, you first need to know which plants aren't poisonous to them. Consult a veterinarian to determine which smells are suitable for your cats.

Is candle wax toxic to cats?

Candles are widely used as air fresheners. Candle wax differs from one product to another. So, be careful to check which wax your candle uses. If it is paraffin, it is harmful and toxic for your cat.

When paraffin wax is burned, it emits poisonous vapors. Candle wax is not toxic, but, if ingested in high quantities, it might create an obstruction in the intestines of humans. The fumes that are generated from the wax are dangerous themselves.

Worse, the colors and perfumes used in paraffin wax candles are laboratory-created compounds, which just adds to their hazardous nature. Candle wax is dangerous for us.

Chemicals from paraffin wax candles can readily accumulate in cats' bodies since they are much smaller than humans are.

So, while we may consider candles as a fantastic way to clean up a home, being around lit candles on a daily basis isn't any healthier for our cats and dogs than being close to the exhaust of a running vehicle.

A person can have asthma, coughing, or vomiting issues as well from using poor-quality candles.

This is one reason to avoid paraffin candles which emit toxic gas. Cats might start having respiratory problems because of this.

It is always advised to take any suggestions from a vet who knows better than most people what is and isn't safe for your pet. When you start seeing symptoms of a problem, go to the vet.

Cat walking around clothes, book and a candle.

Is incense safe for cats?

Though incense is a popular method to provide a lovely smell and a sense of serenity in many households, it combines several things that are dangerous to cats. Cats can be incredibly susceptible to smoke, which is a key contributor to the aggravation, and possibly even the onset, of cat asthma and other respiratory problems.

Some natural essential oils like cinnamon oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil and tea-tree oil can cause similar symptoms in cats and dogs.

Incense smoke may be a significant source of particulate pollutants in an indoor environment. Particulates emitted by lighting incense can accumulate in the respiratory system.

These emissions may include pollutants that can have a number of negative health consequences. The aroma from incense may keep your house smelling good but may affect cats negatively.

Even if you want to use incense, it is advisable to use high-quality incense. Keep it as far away as you can from your cats and dogs.

There should be enough space and ventilation in your rooms so that the aroma from the incense can go away, meaning that the cat doesn’t end up feeling suffocated because of the incense. Cheaper quality incense contains unhealthy chemicals so make sure to avoid it.

Traditionally, incense is created by a method of combining raw materials into powder. This powder is then combined with nectar to form a dough, which is gently formed onto a simple wooden stick.

Because this is a sensitive and time-consuming operation, it is also more costly. But, it is better to use this incense.

Incense can be lethal enough to kill cats, but this is uncommon. It is far more probable that smoking incense on a daily basis will reduce your cat's quality of life and reduce their lifespan due to long-term physiological problems.

While it is unlikely that incense will quickly kill your cat if there is no established health condition or intolerance, burning incense can have serious consequences for the duration of your cat's life and general health.

Tips For Burning Candles In A Pet Household

Make sure to keep oil diffusers and candles away from your cats. Keep them in such a place that they don't reach your cat or dog.

You might keep them in a room so that your cat doesn’t have access to that room. One of the major drawbacks of incense is the particles generated by burning it. Make sure the location where you're burning incense has enough air flow to reduce the number of particles that can collect into your cat's lungs.

The simplest method to accomplish this is to open a window, but it is also necessary to check the dimensions of your room. If you really want to burn candles or incense, only buy high-quality candles and incense which are organic and don’t contain any chemicals.

Make sure there are no combustible things around the candle, including furniture, mattresses, drapes, carpeting, paper, and whatever else that may catch fire. Chances are that your dog or cat might find sneaky ways to get a hold of candles and flammable items.

Always burn candles within vision. Also, make sure to only burn the candle for a short period of time since the aroma will fill a room quickly.

A lot of aromas can fill up a room and suffocate your pets. Keep monitoring your pets so that your cat doesn’t get any symptoms of dizziness.

Alternative Essential Oils & Oil Diffusers

When you are using essential oils for scents, make sure they are heavily diluted to reduce the chemical proportions in them. Try using soy candles too. They don’t have chemicals and burn cleaner without any hazardous substances.

Natural essential oils provide the scent of soy candles. These produce less smoke and are less irritating to the nostrils. These fragrances may still be a bit overwhelming for your pets, but they will not produce toxic burning to overwhelm their organs.

Oils such as cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, clove oil are dangerous for your cats and dogs. Utilizing an oil diffuser for a short amount of time in a safe place that your cat or dog cannot reach is unlikely to be a problem.

If your cat has a record of respiratory issues, it may be better to skip using them entirely.

Allowing your pet to lick your skin after using essential oil products is not a good idea. Airborne oils from essential oils, aroma diffusers and candles, can be inhaled or licked off of the coats and fur of cats.

It's always a good idea to do some study on each oil before dispersing it in a place where your cat could stray or putting it on your body. Essential oils that are made from plants aren’t always safe.

There is usually a higher rate of toxins in essential oils, so be aware of that.

Research about safe, organic oils and diffusers and contact a vet for more information. Essential oils might sometimes pose a threat so, if you see any symptoms, be sure to act upon them quickly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for are candles bad for cats then why not take a look at are sunflowers poisonous to cats, or arabian cat facts.

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Written by Martha Martins

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha Martins picture

Martha MartinsBachelor of Arts specializing in Linguistics

Martha is a full-time creative writer, content strategist, and aspiring screenwriter who communicates complex thoughts and ideas effectively. She has completed her Bachelor's in Linguistics from Nasarawa State University. As an enthusiast of public relations and communication, Martha is well-prepared to substantially impact your organization as your next content writer and strategist. Her dedication to her craft and commitment to delivering high-quality work enables her to create compelling content that resonates with audiences.

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