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My Cat Drank Soapy Water!

Almost half of all homes in North America have a pet cat so we constantly see a range of questions being asked from the cat owning community about various problems that they have with their cats.

More recently, we have seen a number of people reaching out and saying that their cat drank soapy water with the cat owner being worried about any potential side effects that may cause issues with their cat’s health.

Due to cats easily being able to climb onto kitchen counters and get access to any left over soapy water, it is very common for a cat to drink the soapy water that they find so we only expect the number of people reaching out with this issue to increase in the future.

On top of this, most of the information that we have seen on social media from people having issues with their cats drinking soapy water is not even close to correct so we decided that we wanted to publish our own article.

There are a large range of disk soap products on the market making it difficult to offer specific advice and recommendations though. If you do notice any strange behavior such as vomiting, lethargy or diarrhea in your cat then booking a video call with a vet to have them check your cat over is probably a good idea.

The vet will be able to assess your pet cat and ask you a few questions to get a much better idea of what is happening and how to treat your cat in its unique, specific situation.

Can Soapy Water Make Cats Sick?

Soapy water can make cats sick and there is a relatively high chance of a cat vomiting directly after drinking soapy water but that will usually be the end of the issue with most cats.

The specific dish soap that you use will come into play though and some products may cause your cat to vomit and have other issues until the soap has been purged from its system.

On the flipside of that though, some cats can drink soapy water without vomiting or having any other issues due to most of the modern popular dish soap products being non-toxic.

You also have to factor in that dishwater that has been left to sit for an extended period of time can have issues in it with the food washed from the dishes going bad and then causing additional problems in your cat too.

Cats are obligate carnivores too meaning they really shouldn’t have sugar in their diet so any dissolved sugar in the dish water may cause vomiting too.

The bottom line is that the majority of cats will either be totally fine or experience some light vomiting with a small number of cats having further problems that may require you to seek advice from a veterinarian for advice on.

What Happens If A Cat Drinks Soapy Water?

The majority of the time when a cat drinks soapy water your cat will usually be fine and not have any problems. In some situations, your cat may drink the soapy water, vomit once or twice and then be totally fine.

In a very small number of situations your pet cat may vomit and end up having various other problems too but this does tend to be rare for most adult, healthy cats who drink soapy water.

You are sometimes able to discourage your cat from drinking soapy water by always making sure that it has access to clean drinking water in its bowl.

As we covered in our article on how to stop worms from growing in your cat’s bowl, you should be changing your cat’s water supply around every six to eight hours to keep the water fresh.

Some cats will tend not to drink water from their bowl that has been left to sit and choose to drink the dirty water in your sink that can be soapy and dirty.

Depending on your situation, you may be better off going with a cat water fountain as it can supply your cat with fresh water throughout the day.

If you are out most of the day then spending around $30 on a water fountain for your pet cat can be a way to discourage it going to look for other water sources in your home it gets thirsty.

Although we don’t know why, keeping the water moving in the cat water fountain seems to reduce the chances of your pet cat not drinking it and potentially choosing to drink soapy water instead.

Is Soapy Water Toxic To Cats?

Soapy water can be toxic to cats but it will depend on the specific type of soap that you use. The majority of modern dish soap products that people tend to use are perfectly fine to use and should not cause any serious issues if your cat drinks water with the soap in.

Some of the industrial or super strength cleaners can contain bleach and other strong cleaning agents potentially resulting in problems.

If you do use a stronger dish soap then you really should be watching your cat closely for signs of toxicity poisoning.

These can include constant vomiting, shaking uncontrollably, lethargy, and diarrhea usually making it obvious that there is clearly something wrong with your cat that needs to be checked.

If you do notice this in your cat then a quick video call with a veterinarian is probably the best option to take for most of our readers as it will usually help you narrow down exactly what is wrong as well as give you a plan for moving forward specific to your cat.

As we mentioned earlier in the article though, some mild vomiting, usually right after drinking the soapy water is totally normal for most cats and is generally nothing to worry about for the most part.

If your cat vomits once after drinking soapy water then there is generally nothing to be worried about but a quick checkup with a vet may still be worth it if you have an older cat.


That brings our article going over what to do if your cat drank soapy water to an end. We hope that we have been able to help our readers better understand the potential issues and health risks if their cat does end up drinking soapy water but thankfully, the vast majority of healthy adult cats will be totally fine and not have any serious problems other than a little vomiting.