Baby wipes are great to have around, whether you have kids or not. But can you use these for cleaning your cat?
Are baby wipes safe for cats?
No, baby wipes are not entirely safe for cats. Baby wipes contain ingredients that may be safe for humans, including young children. But these same ingredients can be harmful to felines, especially when ingested. You can use baby wipes on kids without fearing for their safety because they cannot lick the areas you wiped with these. Your cat, on the other hand, is remarkably flexible and can easily reach the different parts of his body, including those parts that you have recently wiped.
Cats groom themselves for most of the day. And even if they do not immediately lick the body part that was cleaned using a baby wipe, the residue left from the wipe can still harm your cat when he grooms himself later on.
What are the ingredients in baby wipes that can harm a cat?
Baby wipes contain a diverse array of ingredients that have been formulated to clean and disinfect a baby’s skin. While these may be safe for babies and older people, it is not necessarily the case for your cat. But what exactly are these ingredients that can be harmful to felines?
The primary purpose of baby wipes is to clean the skin. As such, one of the primary ingredients used in making baby wipes is soap. Unfortunately, the type of soap used in wipes is formulated for baby skin and not cats.
If your cat licks the area that you recently cleaned with a sheet of baby wipe, his stomach can get upset.
Formaldehyde is a controversial ingredient that is used in making a diverse array of products, including personal care products like baby wipes.
Usually, personal care products use formalin which is a water solution derived from formaldehyde. Formalin is used in cosmetics and personal care products to prevent bacterial contamination.
The chemical is known to cause irritation and has been linked to cancer.
3. Propylene glycol
Propylene glycol is another ingredient that is used in personal care products. It offers a few benefits like moisturizing the skin and attracting and binding water.
However, the ingredient has been known to cause irritation in some people and cats.
Triclosan is an ingredient that has antibacterial properties that can be beneficial in cleaning a baby’s skin. However, when ingested by a cat, the ingredient can cause harm.
5. Aloe and lavender
Aloe and lavender are two popular plant-based ingredients used in a lot of personal care products.
Aloe is used in baby wipes to prevent rashes and keep the skin soft. However, aloe is known to be poisonous to cats.
Lavender, on the other hand, is used for its scent. But like aloe, lavender is also poisonous to felines.
Fragrances are used in baby wipes to leave the skin smelling fresh. Unfortunately, many manufacturers do not disclose the type of fragrances they use in their products. Some of these can be harmful to felines.
What are the best alternatives to baby wipes?
Although cats do a terrific job in cleaning and grooming themselves, from time to time, they will need a little help from their humans. For example, your cat came home muddied after going home just a little after it started raining.
If baby wipes cannot be used for cats, what are some alternatives that you can use instead?
1. Pet wipes
Pet wipes are especially-made for cats and dogs and do not contain ingredients that are known to irritate or harm pets.
These wipes can be used to give your cat a quick clean, particularly if you cannot bathe your pet.
2. Cloth and cotton balls
A piece of clean cloth and cotton balls are useful in cleaning eye discharge from kittens and adult cats.
Although cats eventually learn how to clean themselves, kittens need help in cleaning their eyes. Flat-faced cats, on the other hand, have regular eye discharges that need to be wiped off immediately to prevent the formation of crusts.
To use either for cleaning cat eyes, all you have to do is to dip these in water before wiping your pet.
3. Dry shampoo
If your cat is dirty all over but you cannot give him a full bath, you can apply dry pet shampoo on his coat. Dry shampoo is formulated especially for pets, with some having an anti-flea formulation.
To use this product, all you have to do is to get a small amount on your palm before rubbing it all over your cat’s body. Even if your cat licks his fur after cleaning him up, you do not have to worry about him ingesting the residue of the dry shampoo.
Bathing your cat
In general, cats dislike getting wet. However, there are instances wherein it is more practical to give your cat a bath rather than use wipes to clean him. But if there is one instance that you should not attempt to give your cat a bath, that would be after he comes in contact with a toxic substance. The better option would be to bring him to the vet immediately.
Start by preparing everything that you will need for bathing your cat. These include a shampoo formulated for cats, towels, a brush for matts, and a large basin or bucket.
You can ditch the bucket or basin if you are giving your cat a bath in the sink or your bathtub. If you are using the bathtub, be sure to place a non-slip floor mat inside it. Once you have your cat’s bath essentials on hand, begin to fill the bath with warm, not hot, water. You do not need to completely fill the bath with water.
Wet your cat slowly while giving him praises. Treats can also help. It would also help if you have another person helping you bathe your pet. Once your cat is wet, you can now apply shampoo on your cat’s coat, paying close attention to the dirty body parts. Avoid applying shampoo on your pet’s head.
Once you have removed the dirt, you can begin rinsing your cat.
After you have finished giving your pet a bath, dry him off using a towel. Generally, cats dislike hairdryers. However, some cats can be trained to tolerate baths and hair dryers for pets.
Once you have towel-dried your cat, place him in a warm room just until he is fully dry. This will help prevent him from catching a cold.
If your cat dislikes taking a bath, you can bring him to the vet or a pet groomer for a proper cleanup.
Baby wipes are not safe for cats
Although cats are fastidious creatures and can clean and groom themselves, they will need your help from time to time. Instead of reaching for baby wipes that can be harmful to cats, try the other cleaning methods mentioned above.
Image: istockphoto.com / Leonid Ikan