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What To Do If Your Cat Licked Bug Spray!

Due to how many families have a pet cat, we constantly see a large number of people reaching out with various questions about caring for their cats and the various problems they have with their pets.

We really do see a large number of questions ever month and with the recent surge in the popularity of keeping a pet cat, the number of questions that we have been seeing has actually increased.

More recently though, there has definitely been an increase in the number of people reaching out saying that their cat licked bug spray and asking for advice.

Before we go any further with our article, we want to say that this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for a check up with a vet.

Many commercial bug spray products can be a serious problem if ingested by a cat in small amounts so our number one piece of advice is to get your cat to a very for a check up as soon as possible.

Is Bug Spray Toxic To Cats?

The simple answer to this question is yes, bug spray can be toxic to cats if they lick it or ingest it in any way.

There are a number of different ingredients that are commonly found in bug sprays that can be problematic for cats.

These ingredients include but are not limited to the following…


This is a man-made version of a natural insecticide that is found in a number of different plants.

This ingredient is commonly used in a number of different bug sprays and can be toxic to cats if they ingest it.


This is another ingredient that is commonly found in bug sprays and can be toxic to cats if they ingest it.

This ingredient is actually more toxic to cats than pyrethroids and can cause a number of different problems including seizures, tremors, and even death.


This is an ingredient that is commonly found in mosquito repellents but can also be found in some bug sprays.

This ingredient is not as toxic to cats as the other two but can still cause a number of different problems including stomach upset, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What Are The Symptoms Of Bug Spray Poisoning In Cats?

If your cat has licked or ingested bug spray, it is important to be on the lookout for any potential symptoms of poisoning.

Depending on the age of your cat as well as any preexisting health conditions in your cat, different symptoms may be displayed with different severities of the amount of bug spray ingested.

In general, for the average healthy adult cat, the symptoms that a cat may display after licking or ingesting bug spray can be broken down into mild symptoms and severe symptoms.

Even if you noticed these mild symptoms in your cat, you should really be taking your cat to a vet as soon as possible but if you notice any of the severe symptoms being displayed then a check up with a vet is essential.

Mild Symptoms

Most cats who lick bug spray will either not have issues and display no symptoms or display some of these mild symptoms:-

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting.
  • Overall Weakness.
  • Excessive Salivation.
  • Unsteadiness While Walking.
  • Eye Tearing.
  • Dilated Pupils.
  • Lethargy.
  • Head Tilt.
  • Loss of Appetite.
  • Disorientation.

Many cats will display more than one of these, especially if they have licked lots of bug spray to a level where they have ingested lots of the chemical.

Severe Symptoms

The severe symptoms of a cat licking bug spray really do suggest there is a potentially serious health problem with your cat that will usually need professional treatments or in some cases an operation to fix.

These severe symptoms in a cat after licking bug spray include:-

  • Sudden Collapse.
  • Labored Breathing.
  • Abdominal Discomfort.
  • Seizures.
  • Tremors.
  • Lack Of Coordination.
  • Twitching.

Even if these symptoms pass quickly in your cat and the only visible symptoms are the mild ones after a day of your cat licking the bug spray, we would still recommend that you take your cat to the vets for a check up.

It’s just not worth the risk as the chemicals that your cat may have ingested when it licked the bug spray are literally designed to deal with bugs quickly and although a cat is much larger than a bug, if the chemicals are not purged from their system quickly then it can cause serious issues in your cat.

How Long After Spraying Bug Spray Is It Safe for Cats?

It is not just the act of licking bug spray that can be problematic for cats but also being in an environment where bug spray has been sprayed.

The chemicals in bug spray can linger in the air and on surfaces for a long time after it has been sprayed and this can still cause problems for your cat if they come into contact with these chemicals.

The best thing to do if you have sprayed bug spray in your home is to try and keep your cat out of the room for at least 2-3 hours after spraying.

This will give the chemicals time to settle and dissipate before your cat comes into contact with them.

If possible, it is also a good idea to open some windows to help ventilate the room and remove any lingering chemicals.

How Is Bug Spray Poisoning In Cats Treated?

The first thing you should do if you think your cat has licked bug spray is to call a vet straight away and explain the situation.

They may ask you to bring your cat in for a check up or they may give you some advice over the phone about what to do.

If your cat is displaying any of the severe symptoms of bug spray poisoning then it is essential that you take them to see a vet as soon as possible.

For milder cases, the vet may just want to keep an eye on your cat for a few hours or days to make sure that the symptoms pass and that there are no further complications.

They may also give your cat a wash to remove any residual chemicals from their fur and skin and they may also give them some fluids to help flush the chemicals from their system.

For more severe cases, your cat may need to be admitted to hospital for treatment and they may need to be given oxygen or placed on a drip.

They may also need to have their stomach pumped if they have ingested a large amount of the chemical.

In some cases, surgery may also be required to remove any damaged tissue.

How Can I Prevent My Cat From Licking Bug Spray?

The best way to prevent your cat from licking bug spray is to keep them away from it in the first place.

If you are using bug spray in your home then try and keep your cat in another room until the chemicals have had time to settle.

You should also make sure that any surfaces that have been sprayed with bug spray are out of reach of your cat until they are dry.

If you are using bug spray outside then make sure your cat is not around when you are spraying it and if possible, keep them indoors until the spray has had time to work.

You should also be careful about where you store bug spray as many cats are inquisitive creatures and will often investigate anything that smells interesting.

Make sure that bug spray is stored in a cupboard or drawer that your cat cannot access.


Bug spray can be very dangerous for cats if they lick it or come into contact with it.

If you think your cat has been exposed to bug spray then you should take them to see a vet as soon as possible.

The best way to prevent your cat from being exposed to bug spray is to keep them away from it and to store it in a safe place.