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Is Vicks VapoRub Safe to Use Near Cats?

If you use Vicks VapoRub for a cold, or something else, you may wonder if it is OK to use it around your cat…

Is Vicks VapoRub safe to use near cats?

Vicks VapoRub may be great for humans but for cats, it should be avoided, according to this site the concern is the camphor ingredient that is known to be toxic for cats. So, to be safe, it is best avoided.

So, now you know it is not a good idea. But, what is this camphor? Are there other ingredients in it that are not ideal for cats? What are the potential side effects? Keep reading to get these answers, and so much more…


What is Vicks VapoRub?

To make sure we are on the same page let me clarify what Vicks VapoRub is. According to Wikipedia, It is a menthol-based ointment used for colds, muscular pain, or even for treating mosquito bites. But, most homes will identify with it being used for colds.

If you have ever been sick with a cold or flu as a kid you may remember your mom applying this to your chest. Well, I do for sure. To be honest, I found it quite effective.

What does Vicks VapoRub contain?

According to Vicks, it contains camphor, eucalyptus oil, and menthol. However, this is what they regard as the “active” ingredients. There are others included, classed as “inactive”. But, for the purpose of this article that is enough,

If you have ever wondered what VapoRub contained you now have an idea of the main ingredients. Each one of the three main ingredients is claimed to be a cough suppressant, hence the reason they are used against colds and coughs.

What is Camphor?

Camphor is an extract. It is taken from Camphor trees, hence the reason it’s called camphor. It is typically found in topical pain, or even rubs used for arthritis. For example, one of the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub.

If you have heard of Camphor before, in the context of health remedies, you may have wondered exactly what it is, and where it comes from. So, now you know more about it.

What are the side effects of Camphor for cats?

The side effects of Camphor for cats can vary depending on how much they come into contact with. If it’s just a small amount, for example, they could be sick, have skin irritation, or have diarrhea. But, if it is a lot, in extreme cases, it could lead to a seizure or acting depressed.

If you have heard about the dangers of Camphor for your cat you may be wondering what side effects you should be looking out for. So, now you know some of the potential effects to look out for.

Is eucalyptus bad for cats?

Eucalyptus is known to be bad for cats. This is one of several essential oils that are known to be toxic to cats. If it is applied to their skin or injected it can lead to chemical burns or other unwanted toxic effects.

This is another reason why some cat owners avoid ointments that contain this, such as Vicks VaporRub, which has it as one of its active ingredients.

Will a vaporizer help my cat?

If your cat is congested, according to this site, a vaporizer is known to help with this. It is important not to overdo it though, just a couple of minutes a day is enough to clear it up.

If you have not heard of a vaporizer before it is used to create inhalable vapor. It often contains herbal or plant-based substances but has various uses.

These devices typically have a negative connotation attached but, in this context, for clearing congestion, it is a different circumstance.

Why do cats like the smell of menthol?

Cats like the smell of methol because it is closely related to catnip. Not literally, but the mint plant produces methol. And Mint is in the same family as catnip and catmint.

There is often some confusion around catmint and catnip. Some cat owners believe they are one of the same things. But, in fact, they are actually two different plants. Also, catnip has well-known effects on cats.

However, catmint does not have the same effect. Anyway, my point is methol, catnip and catmint are all from the same family and it is believed that this is why cats have a fascination with it. This may be the reason why your cat may seem intrigued with the menthol in the Vicks VaporRub.

Can cats breathe in Vicks?

The methol in Vicks can be breathed in, if in small doses. But it’s regarded as toxic for them if it is ingested. This is another reason why some cat owners steer clear of it.

The confusing thing is cats, including large cats, have a natural attraction to it. And, this is why some owners may assume it is OK.

What is cat flu?

Cat flu is similar to a human’s version of a cold. You may see your cat have a runny nose, sneeze, or some aches and pains. It is not regarded as a serious concern for adult cats. But, to their owner, they will appear to be quite ill and cause concern.

If your cat shows some cold symptoms you may be wondering if it has cat flu. The best thing to do is to consult your vet if you have any doubt about it before you try and remedy the problem.

What can you do for a congested cat?

If your cat is congested, after consulting your vet, you can use some natural methods to help with congestion. One method is steam. Steam from heated water has great effects on human colds as well as cats.

To use it, heat some water in a bowl to create some steam and place it on an available counter or even on the floor if that is more convenient.

How can an indoor cat catch a cold?

Indoor cats can catch colds from contact with other cats, especially in households with multiple cats. But, the confusing thing is it can affect cats that do not have direct contact with other cats. This could be from the air they consume or even through the water.

It may be confusing if your cat catches a cold when they stay in all the time, right? But, this is quite common and similar to how we humans pick up colds. So, now you have learned how this may happen in these circumstances.

How can you tell if your cat has a cold?

Some obvious signs of a cat with a cold is when it is shivering, sneezing, or grasping for warmth. It should be obvious but some owners may struggle to notice it. If in doubt it best to check in with your vet.

If you are concerned that your cat has a cold you may be keen to understand what signs or symptoms to look out for. And, now you have an idea of what to look out for to confirm this.

Lindsey Browlingdon