Household Disinfectant and Cats

Household Disinfectant and Cats

Have you ever looked closely at the label of your household disinfectants? You might notice that many of them contain the active constituent “benzalkonium chloride”. This is a cationic disinfecting surfactant that is often found in household disinfectants, floor cleaners, and hard surface wipes.

The Animal Poisons Helpline has received a large number of calls regarding cats becoming unwell after being exposed to this surfactant. Cats can develop drooling, fever, and oral ulceration after ingesting liquid preparations. Even exposure to diluted preparations, including licking recently treated surfaces or grooming residue off paws has the potential to cause harm.

If you are a cat owner, pay close attention to the active constituents or your household disinfectants and wipes. If using benzalkonium chloride-containing products in a household with a cat, ensure the cat is kept away from treated surfaces until they are thoroughly dry or consider using disinfectants that do not contain this surfactant.

If your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU) or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice. The Animal Poisons Helpline provides a free service for all pet owners in Australia and New Zealand, and we can rapidly determine if your pet requires immediate veterinary assessment or can be observed at home.

This post had been proudly sponsored by Bow Wow Meow for Pets, who are currently offering two months free pet insurance in the first year of coverage for Animal Poison Helpline followers. Visit and enter APH368 at checkout to take advantage of this offer.