Monday 8 August 2022

Cat Hazards **RERUN** ~ The Art of Keeping Your Cat Safer ~ The Dangers of Candles and Spray Air Fresheners to Cats

Cat Hazards Banner ©BionicBasil®

  Happy Monday supurr pals

Today we're sharing a rerun of Part Four of our Cat Hazards series, and if mew missed last week's post click here to catch up on a re-run of one of our Cat Hazards posts and get a free printable of 12 Cut Flowers Toxic to Cats.

If mew're new to being cat staff, then maybe there are a few things mew haven't thought about, and we're here to point mew in the right direction and share tips that we've garnered over 25+ years. And for those seasoned and veteran cat staff, do feel free to add more suggestions in the comments, as all tips and cat hacks are welcome. 

Let's Talk About Candles and Spray Air Fresheners

Who doesn't love the atmosphere of a real candle, and today there are so many delightful ones to choose from.

There are the supurr posh, mega-expensive, top-end designer fragranced candles in chic glass jars with shiny metal lids, all the way through to a simple scented votive available for your aroma-infused whims.

The Dangers of Candles and Spray Air Fresheners to Cats ©BionicBasil® Cat Hazards

And while these are lovely to burn in the home, they can pose a potential threat to Fluffy. A swishing tail near a naked flame is not a good idea, or a curious nose inspecting the flame sends shivers down our spines and visions of singed whiskers, or just a simple fly-by where a burning candle is, could lead to it being knocked over and the cause of a house fire. 

And while mew may think it's safe to burn votives in glass jars, we did have an incident about 16 years ago here at BBHQ - pre-blog- when Basil chased Humphrey over the mantelpiece and knocked two glass jars with burning votives in, and they smashed all over the hearth, so not only was there hot wax everywhere, there was broken glass too. Luckily no one was injured, but it could have been a total disaster. 

The dangers of a lit candle in the company of cats need a serious risk assessment, and we learnt at BBHQ that it's just not worth the risk. Ultimately, it's your decision, though we do hope that extreme care is taken if mew do burn real candles.

Moving on to the cans and bottles of spray air fresheners, and the ones that can be sprayed on furniture too. Purrlease check the label to make sure they are cat/pet friendly, and don't ever let your cat walk or sit anywhere where the spray is still wet or damp as the chemicals could potentially be quite harmful.

Only recently, we read that a poor kitty climbed on a sofa which had just been cleaned with a well-known disinfectant spray. Needless to say, the kitty was at the vets with chemical poisoning.

Even the so-called natural spray alternatives need to be approached with the same care; just because it's natural doesn't mean that it's safe for cats. As we said earlier, always check the label and if in doubt, don't buy it. There are many different ways to bring fragrance into the home without your kitty being near chemicals and burning candles.

Let's Talk Alternatives to Real Candles and Spray Air Fresheners

Today there are lots of alternative ways to bring fragrance and/or ambience into the home, and we know that everyone is different and likes what they like, but here are a few suggestions:
Plugin fragrance diffusers/humidifiers

Plugin air freshener

Electric wax melts

Battery wax melts

Battery candles/votives 

Oil Lamps


Reed diffusers

At BBHQ we use a plugin diffuser in the kitchen - see pic bottom left - and use a couple of drops of neroli or orange essential oil in the water; not only does it smell nice it also humidifies the air and stops it from being too dry. We also have battery candles which look very good, although obviously there is no fragrance from them.

The Dangers of Candles and Spray Air Fresheners to Cats ©BionicBasil® Cat Hazards

We also have several Ashleigh and Burwood Fragrance Lamps located around the house, so if we need a blast of purrfume, say after a particularly stinky litter box visit and an open window hasn't helped, this is the P.A.'s go-to method.

The Dangers of Candles and Spray Air Fresheners to Cats ©BionicBasil® Cat Hazards

Here's how to use one of these lamps if mew've never tried one before:

Remove stone/wick assembly and fill with your chosen fragrance oil 2/3rds full, replace small snuffer-cap and leave for about 30 minutes or so, as the fragrance oil saturates the internal wick and stone. Remove snuffer cap and light stone; it should flame straight away. If not, then it needs more time and mew should replace the snuffer cap and wait. Anyhoo once lit, yes we know it's a naked flame, but we're sure mew can stay with it for 2 to 3 minutes while the stone heats up. Blow out the flame and place the decorative larger crown cap over the stone and let whatever gorgeous fragrance mew have chosen fill your home for around 30 minutes or so.

Remove the crown cap, although be careful as it might be a little warm/hot to the touch. Replace the snuffer cap, which will stop the oil from evaporating, so mew can have many more aroma sessions as and when mew like.

There are many different fragrances too, and the P.A. just bought one especially for cold and flu, so it has more of a menthol smell.

As long as mew don't leave the lit lamp alone while the stone is heating up, we think this is a great way to fragrance the home.

The plugin and battery wax melts are also nice, although there is the issue of hot wax to consider.

Reed diffusers are also an option, although to be honest we've always been disappointed with this method and find them very overrated and expensive with very little purrfume payoff, plus if they get knocked over this could also be a chemical hazard.

The actual wall socket plugin air fresheners are ok too, but if left switched on can become rather intense, and some of the scents can be very overpowering and cloying for sensitive noses.

Incense is another option, although it can be smoky and some fragrances are rather not very pleasant.

Next time mew reach for that can of air freshener or smelly candle, consider some of the alternatives.

What To Do If Your Kitty Ingests or Licks Something That Might be Poisonous or Toxic

If mew think that Fluffy may have ingested something that he or she shouldn't have, call your emergency vet immediately.

Or call the Animal Poisonline run by the PDSA on 01202 509000 - calls cost £30 payable at the time of the call. 

If mew are in the USA, mew can call Pet Poison Helpline on 855-764-7661 - they have a $75 charge payable at the time of the call.

Our advice, check online for your country and keep the number handy, whether that's stored in your phone or on the fridge, or where mew keep your emergency numbers.

Please note: these are not affiliate links, and we are in no way linked to either organisation in any capacity.

(Prices accurate at the time of posting - August 2022)

It doesn't take long to make your home a safe place, and mew'd do it for a baby/toddler/child, so do it for your cat too, and our K9 buddies, of course!

Next time on this new series we'll cover the Top 12 Safe Flowers For Cats, and if mew missed any of our previous Cat Hazards posts, stop by our Top Tips for Pawents page, and mew'll find oodles of useful stuff and pointers to help mew safely navigate pet pawrenthood.

Until next time...

Wing Commander Basil & The B Team

Disclaimer: We are not vets, animal medical professionals, animal doctors or have any formal qualifications in animal health. If mew are worried or concerned about anything at all, purrlease take your feline furiend to your purrsonal veterinarian or other health care provider and seek expert advice and assistance immediately.
Graphics created with paid licence 


  1. Great advice!
    Some essential oils for diffusers can be toxic as well. Even for dogs. And Petcretary is allergic to the propellant(s) in many of the pressurized spray bottles.

  2. Excellent post!
    We must remain vigilant; everything brought into the house can have consequences for our cats.

  3. That about oil diffusers...true enough. Found out that I myself am allergic to many and afraid for Katie.

  4. Excellent advice. We need to keep our babies safe.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend. Scritches to all the kitties and a hug to mom. ♥

  5. Excellent post. No real candles here, only battery ones. :) XO

  6. Great advice! Cats are very sensitive to many substances that we may think are benign. And I became disenchanted with any kind of candle or lighted thing in or around homes long ago.

  7. This is such important info, mew guys. Thank you for the great reminders! We are hyper vigilant about not having candles and being careful about anything we use not being toxic for our kitties.

  8. Great information! Thanks so much for sharing at


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