Dryer sheets are toxic to cats. Personally I wouldn’t have them in the house or fabric softeners which are similar. Dryer sheets are durable tissues soaked in chemicals one of which is dipalmitoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate. This chemical is dangerous to cats. It is harmful to many or all animals we are told. Why then is it manufactured at all? The manufacturers know that millions of cats live in millions of homes.
The cat, as we know, is particularly vulnerable to ingesting chemicals because they are such fastidious groomers and they lie around bed clothes and other items that have been treated with dryer sheets.
In addition, some cats like to play with used dryer sheets. Some cat owners rub their hands on dryer sheets to a prevent static charge being created when they stroke their cat. This may happen in cat shelters. It shouldn’t. It is dangerous for the cats.
As we are coming out of winter there is less chance of a static charge on your cat’s fur because cold winter air is dry and dry air asssists the production of static electricity. A humidifier in the home therefore may help reduce static electricity when petting a cat. There are other things to try. But not dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets are just another typical household product containing chemicals toxic to cats. There are many examples. These chemicals are everywhere and we are not aware of them. Vets don’t talk about it and the manufacturers don’t care.
I am convinced that many undiagnosed, mysterious cat illnesses such as a defective immune response or skin diseases are caused by these chemicals. Some hair loss issues may well be caused by chemicals on all manner of household items from carpets to bedding. This is because the chemical causes an allergic response resulting in itching and overgrooming which removes the fur.
I believe that cat caretakers should be vigilant about the use of cleaning and ancillary products. They should be minimised. It means thinking about the cat rather than having nice fluffy towels etc.. One vet believed that a cat’s conjunctivitis was caused by the chemicals left by dryer sheets on bedding and clothing.
For the technically-minded the major chemical in dryer sheets is referred to as a quaternary ammonium cation. One Yahoo Answers responder listed some other chemicals that can be found in dryer sheets:
- Benzyl acetate: Linked to pancreatic cancer
- Benzyl Alcohol: Upper respiratory tract irritant
- Ethanol: On the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Hazardous Waste list and can cause central nervous system disorders
- Alpha-Terpineol: Can cause respiratory problems, including fatal edema, and central nervous system damage
- Ethyl Acetate: A narcotic on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list
- Camphor: Causes central nervous system disorders
- Chloroform: Neurotoxic, anesthetic and carcinogenic
- Linalool: A narcotic that causes central nervous system disorders
- Pentane: A chemical known to be harmful if inhaled
The chemicals are listed as being carcinogenic to people on one website. Other chemicals can be a respiratory irritant. The US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve these products on the basis there are very small amounts of the chemicals but the chemicals are in clothing and bedding which is next to the skin of people and the fur of cats and dogs. Cats will ingest these chemicals.
The usual chemicals in fabric softeners are:
- Benzyl acetate
- Y-methyl ionone
- Methylene chloride
These products are designed to leave chemicals in the bedding or clothing. Personally, I believe it is highly negligent of the manufacturers to make these products when disregarding the health of pets. The government agencies should operate tighter controls. I sense they are too biased towards the free market and the creation of wealth at the expense of health.
Sources: Catster.com – healthwyze.org – Wikipedia – Yahoo Annswers – Me.