Is Acrylic Paint Toxic To Cats? Know The Answer Here

For most of us, a craft, a hobby, or an art project is a great way to unwind and take the mind off things after a long hard day. 

They become the right channel to put our stress into and what comes out of it reduces tension and anxiety from before you made them.

Painting is one of the hobbies that are relaxing for a lot of us. But, with a curious cat around, you will always have that pit in your stomach when you notice them lick or ingest some of the paint you are working with.

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

Acrylic paints, being the water-based paint that they are, are generally safe and not toxic to humans. 

There are acrylic colors, however, that may contain toxic chemicals, but you will see them on the label. 

These may only become toxic when used with airbrush, sanding, or when ingested in large amounts.

But, are they safe for cats, you ask?

Small amounts of probably licked paint are mostly non-toxic and safe with cats. Some veterinarians, affirms that a few teaspoons of swallowed paint are not enough to cause a toxicity alarm.

If your moggy just curiously licked some of the acrylic paint you left on the table, keep calm and don’t go hurrying an appointment to the vet.

Instead, monitor your cat for the next few hours. You should be on the lookout for any symptoms of toxicity, particularly drooling. 

Salivating signals nausea. It lets you know if your cat feels like vomiting.

Make sure to keep an eye on your cat’s dish bowl and litter box. Are there any changes in their appetite? 

Do they have more business in their litter box? Are they acting differently, lethargic, or odd?

Acrylic colors’ common ingredients include zinc and lead. These elements can cause tremors or seizures if consumed in huge amounts. 

If you think your kitten ingested too much and are overly concerned, you can always take them to the vet for a quick check-up.

Bring them immediately to the vet or contact a Pet Poison Helpline for instructions especially if you notice symptoms of paint toxicity as listed below:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • In coordination or trouble in walking or standing straight
  • Depression
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty in breathing

If you can’t take them to the vet right away, (which I would say is fine, if they licked or ingested just a small amount) you may want to check on your paint tubes’ labels. 

Most of them will have a warning about whether they are toxic or not. Although these non-toxic warnings are usually intended for humans, you can rest assured it is safe for your cat, too.

Also, cats may most likely expel what they consumed later. They may vomit or you will see a colorful art in the litter box. 

Pun intended. Just keep in mind, that unless they swallowed the entire can of paint, they should be fine.

If you think you need to flush the taste of the paint out of your cat’s mouth, offer a light meal – boiled chicken, white fish, scrambled egg. 

Encourage them to drink – water, low salt chicken broth, or cat milk. Drinking will dilute anything ingested and will reduce the risk of any associated gastrointestinal upset for your cat.

What Happens If a Cat Drinks the Water I Have My Brushes Soaked In?

Yes, your curious cat will try on anything they can put their paws on, including that bowl of water that you had your brushes washed with or soaked in.

If they manage to drink some of the water from that bowl, unless they are vomiting continuously, they should be fine. 

A few sips of paint water are nothing too grave to worry about. More often, we use way too much water to clean our paintbrushes while leaving the paint diluted well from the water.

Ingesting paint water is less concerning than consuming the actual paint directly.

Still, you should be mindful of monitoring your cat for any changes in behavior, appetite, and bathroom habits that may be caused by toxicity or bad reactions towards paint water.

To avoid this from happening, you can use a long, narrow, or tall glass. Something that your cat won’t easily have access from. 

Tall glasses will require your cat to tip it over first to smell or taste what’s in it. And, cats get startled by loud bangs and once the glass tips over and falls, they’d get away from it and stop from even trying.

Better yet, be sure to take out the cats from the room before you paint to guarantee safety not just for them, but for you, too. You know how costly it is to take a cat to the vet!

Getting Acrylic Paint Off of a Cat

The first sign that your cat laid a paw on your paint is the paint spots on them. I would be more concerned about taking the paint off of their paws than worrying about the ingested paint since I’m pretty sure anything foreign they ingest, they will try to expel later.

It is always wise to get the paint off as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove, especially if the paint dries out immediately. You can use regular dish soap to clean up the paint.

When cleaning your cat, be sure to remove everything from them – collars, tags, shirts, etc. 

The materials these items are made from absorbs paint pretty quickly and are hard to clean. You might want to throw and replace them instead.

Use the cone collar or Elizabeth collar to make sure they are not licking the part where they have paint on. 

Spot treat the part where the paint is with dish soap and water. If they have paint all over their body, a deep clean with a bath may be the best option.

Final Word

Acrylic paint is rather harmless, especially in small amounts. Unless your cat has ingested more than a few tablespoons worth of it, then a trip to the vet should be the best way to go.

However, you may always avoid such accidents by being conscious of your cat’s whereabouts when you are trying to have fun with your hobbies.

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