You may like the calming scent of incense but this poses a problem if you’re also a cat owner. Cats have lungs that are more sensitive than humans and incense may be harmful for them. Incense is bad for cats because it emits smoke which may lead to issues such as respiratory infections and asthma.
Is burning incense bad for cats?
So, why is incense bad for cats? The incense is bad for cats because of the smoke that it emits when it is burned. Incense is made up of ingredients that result in an inhale-able particulate matter which is may be carcinogenic or cause cancer. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) further attests that incense increases the risk not only for cancer like lung carcinoma but also for asthma and skin dermatitis.
Cats also have a very intense sense of smell compared to humans and because of this, the strong and aromatic incense smoke can trigger headaches and respiratory problems. Cat experts confirm that exposure to smoke is the leading cause of asthma in cats.
What you can do to ensure your cat’s safety
If you’re a pet parent who adores your pets but also loves incense then there are safety steps that you can do to make sure that your cat is protected from the harmful smoke of burning incense. These are the things that you can do:
- if you’re using incense make sure that your pet is in another room
- open the windows and see to it that there’s plenty of ventilation
- store incense in a covered storage box so it’s out of reach from your pets
Incense alternatives that you can try
You may also want to try these alternatives to incense and who knows there could be one or two that suits your taste and preference. These are the following:
- diffuser sticks
- Himalayan sea salt lamp or air purifier
- soy candles
- essential oil diffuser
More information about Incense
Incense is a smoke-emitting substance and composed of various materials and scents like cedar and rose. Some are made with resins or powders and first made from aromatic materials like sage, oils, and wood. It comes from the Latin word “incendere” which means “burn”. It has been used since ancient times in Egypt to fumigate tombs and during funeral ceremonies. It was also used by Egyptians to drive bad spirits away and as an offering to their gods during rituals.
Incense has two main types and these are :
- Indirect burning incense – this is incense that contains loose resin and needs a separate source of heat to keep it burning. This type is commonly used in contemporary settings.
- Direct burning incense – this type of incense is lit once and extinguished after awhile. A glowing ember is created which burns the material and releases a fragrant smoke.
Here are the four main forms of incense:
1. Stick incense – This incense is mostly used in countries like Tibet, India, Japan, and China. It usually burns just for a short time although longer ones can also be availed. These are some common types of incense sticks:
- cylinder incense stick – made directly from the dried paste of incense materials.
- joss sticks – it originated in China and used in different traditions
- stick incense with a bamboo core – it has a central bamboo core with a paste of incense material wrapped around it.
- dhoop – it’s available in many sizes, soft, can be broken easily, and common in India and Tibet.
- hand-dipped incense sticks
- Agarbatti – it comes from the word “agar” which means agarwood or aloeswood and “batti” which means stick. It’s an incense stick made of wooden core and a common type of incense used in Indian culture.
- masala sticks – it’s made from a paste that consists of various kinds of wood, gums, oils, herbs, flowers, and resins. The paste is spread on a bamboo core’s surface and dried.
- Champa incense – it’s similar to masala and durbar sticks and contains sandalwood and plumeria. It’s named Champa incense because the fragrance resembles the Champa flower. It absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and it feels wet to the touch.
- Simpoi sticks – these Tibetan variety sticks are hand-rolled and thick stick incenses.
- durbar sticks – its aroma is sweet and spicy and soft to the touch.
- Senko sticks – this type originated in Japan and doesn’t have a wooden core.
- Fluxo incense – its fragrance is pungent and quite popular in India but this may not suit well to western cultures.
2. Cone incense – It’s made from a mixture of powders and essential oils and releases a pungent and aromatic scent that’s suitable for yoga and meditation. It should be placed in an incense burner that holds the ash when the incense burns.
3. Coil incense – It’s also called incense spirals and considered as a modified version of stick incenses. It doesn’t have a bamboo core and made solely of incense material. The coil shape allows it to burn longer and a popular choice for worshippers and often used in spiritual sites and religious ceremonies.
4. Powder incense – It only contains incense material without any core and usually added to an ignited charcoal disc in a bowl.
Materials used in incense include sandalwood, frankincense, amber, patchouli, citrus, cinnamon, coconut, evergreen, and dragon’s blood. Among these materials used in incense, there has been some debate and some have even asked the question, “is dragon’s blood incense safe for cats?”. The answer is, it’s safe for cats if it’s not burned or used in an enclosed space while your pet cats are nearby. Dragon’s blood is a very expensive resin and has a perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and earthy scents. It’s commonly used and burned for protection, love, exorcism, and sexual potency. It’s a popular kind of incense but, like all the other incense types, it’s best used while your pets are in a safe distance.
These are some of the known benefits of burning incense:
- for meditation and yoga
- to reduce anxiety and stress
- for relaxation
- helps cure insomnia
- to increase focus