Most of us have childhood memories of our mother setting up a humidifier next to our bed at night when we had a bad cold or even the flu. The vaporized water filling the room helped us breathe better and calm the tickle in our throat. But did you know that a high-quality humidifier can also be beneficial for your favorite feline friend as well?
If your cat struggles with upper respiratory infections, has a runny nose, or sneezes frequently, your home’s humidity level could very well be the problem. In addition, turning up your home’s heating system during the winter months can dry out your cat’s skin and fur coat no matter how much grooming they do.
When this happens, your fur baby is at risk of getting a bacterial infection. The answer to these problems? Use a humidifier.
What is a Humidifier?
A humidifier is an electrical appliance that injects moisture into the air in your home. A reservoir holds either filtered or tap water and dispenses it into a basin. Most humidifiers on the market use a wicking filter to absorb the water from the basin. A fan then blows air through the moistened filter releasing either warm or cool mist into your home.
However, our Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier uses no filter. That’s because ultrasonic humidifiers generate mist through sound vibrations. A ceramic diaphragm vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency creating water droplets that are silently released into the air with the aid of a tiny fan. The cool vapor raises the humidity in your home but not the temperature.
Humidifiers are self-regulating -- as humidity increases, the humidifier's water-vapor output naturally decreases.
The added moisture pumped into the air can help open your cat’s nasal passages, improve cold symptoms, and restore the suppleness of their skin. According to the Mayo Clinic, the humidity in your home ideally should remain between 30% and 50%, a level that best suits both humans and their cats.
If the humidity in your home is too low, it can cause dry skin, itchy eyes, and irritate your nasal passages and throat. High humidity, on the other hand, can stimulate the growth of bacteria and mold which can trigger allergy and asthma attacks that can cause allergy and asthma.
The best way to test humidity levels in your home is with a hygrometer. This thermometer-looking device measures the amount of moisture in the air and can be found at your local hardware store.
Why Use a Humidifier?
The humidity level of your home is important for you and your family – including your pets. Our fur babies depend on us not only for food and general care but also for good air quality. This makes the purchase of the right humidifier an important decision.
Good humidity levels combat viruses, bacteria, dry skin, sinus congestion, and other respiratory ailments that can make breathing difficult for everyone in your household. Studies show that cats are much more susceptible to colds and congestion than other pets such as dogs.
Particularly among cats, the ability to smell what they’re eating is important. Felines with upper respiratory infections can refuse to eat their food because they can’t smell it, making clear sinus passageways that much more important.
In addition to challenges with cold congestion, between 1 and 5% of cats suffer from asthma, a disease of the lower airways of the lungs. Cats with asthma may show signs of difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing, or hacking. Open-mouthed breathing and vomiting can also signal asthma in cats. These signs can vary in intensity from acute distress to chronic low-grade coughing and breathing difficulties. Dry air encourages asthma attacks, so a humidifier is a valuable tool to ward off complications, especially during the winter months.
If you are a cat owner, ultrasonic cool mist humidifiers are the best type of humidifier to remedy these issues. Cats have a limited number of sweat glands which means sweating alone is not enough to lower their temperature during the summer months if they are overheated. Cats help cool themselves by grooming. When their saliva evaporates, it cools their skin and helps release excessive heat from their bodies. This is why you may notice your cat grooming more in the summer -- and why a cool-mist humidifier compared to a steam-based one can help your cat’s skin feel cooler and fresher year-round.
Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats?
If you are a cat owner and are thinking about buying a home humidifier, the ultrasonic cool mist variety is your best and safest choice.
Just plug the humidifier in a corner of your kitty’s favorite room. You should see a significant improvement in their skin and coat after just a few days. Although warm mist humidifiers are popular, they are dangerous for pets since they boil water. Cats are innately curious creatures and will undoubtedly spend time checking out your new humidifier. If they manage to tip it over, they could accidentally burn themselves with a warm mist humidifier.
Another benefit of choosing an ultrasonic humidifier is that their vibration technology makes them whisper quiet. This can help create a calming environment for you and your favorite feline.
Below are some additional safety tips for using humidifiers around cats:
- Make sure your cats stay well hydrated.
- Provide your cats with a cozy spot to sleep.
- Periodically open a window in the room to ensure stale air is released.
- Encourage your cat to exercise and play with you when they are in the mood.
- Seek the advice of a veterinarian anytime you notice signs of sickness or unusual behavior in your cats.
What to Look for in a Cat-Friendly Humidifier?
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to purchase a humidifier, there are certain specifications you should always look for if you have a kitty in your home:
- Noise Level: Always select a humidifier that has a low noise level that might cause your cat stress or become a distraction. Our humidifier has a soothing cool mist and whisper-quiet operation will help create the ideal ecosystem in your home for both your family and your cat.
- Size: Choose the smallest, best quality humidifier you can afford. Your cat undoubtedly is going to inspect the newest contraption in the room--count on it. Keep your fur baby safe by opting for a humidifier that won’t hurt him, even if it topples over out of their simple curiosity.
- Sturdiness: The other curiosity factor is sturdiness. Opt for a humidifier that is small and low to the ground, giving it the highest probability of remaining upright even when your cat is checking it out.
- Hot versus cold mist: A cold mist humidifier is the ideal choice for any cat owner. Because of their playful nature, the hot mist variety of humidifiers and the chance they could scald themselves make them too dangerous to operate with a cat. Because cats groom themselves specifically to cool their bodies, a cold mist humidifier will help bring them heat relief and improve the overall quality of their skin and coat.
- Programmable: If you plan on leaving your cat alone during certain times of the day or night, a programmable humidifier will add a lot of flexibility to your schedule.
- Filter or No Filter: The choice of a filtered or filterless humidifier may not affect your cat but it certainly affects your time and your wallet.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats?
Some people enjoy putting a few drops of essential oils in the water basin of their humidifier to diffuse pleasant, stress-relieving scents throughout their home.
However, cat owners need to be aware that essential oils can be potentially toxic to their precious pets. Cats have a sense of smell that is 14 times greater than humans. As a result, the scent that appears mild and enjoyable to you can be overpowering and overwhelming to your kitty. Essential oils also are dangerous to cats if they are ingested, even in small amounts, or come in contact with their skin.
Much like common houseplants, essential oils pose a threat to cats, especially when concentrated. Two compounds found in most essential oils, monoterpene hydrocarbon and phenols, can build up in a cat’s liver and cause health issues over time. Because of their special sensitivity, cats that have managed to get essential oils on their fur and lick themselves may have trouble walking and, in serious cases, low body temperature. Those that ingest concentrated essential oils can suffer vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. There are many essential oils that can be poisonous to cats, including cinnamon, citrus, eucalyptus, peppermint, pine, wintergreen, and ylang-ylang.
If you still desire to use essential oils in your humidifier, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center suggests using only small amounts of essential oil in a well-ventilated room for a limited period of time, preferably in a secured area that your cat cannot access. However, if your cat has a history of breathing problems, it is strongly advisable to avoid using essential oils altogether.
If you are still trying to decide whether you should buy a cool-mist humidifier, think about the improved health and harmony it could bring to your home’s ecosystem. Not only will you and your family feel better physically and mentally but your cat will as well. A humidifier can help improve your cat’s breathing, food intake, and coat appearance.
Beyond those physical benefits, the calming, cooling effect of a humidifier will provide him with a sense of serenity that will allow your cat to enjoy life for years to come.