My Cat Drank Soapy Water! What Should I Do?
Cats are known for their dietary indiscretion, including the consumption of unsanitary water. If your cat drank soapy water or anything similar, it’s essential to know what to do in case adverse reactions occur.
Almost every cat owner knows that felines love drinking water anywhere except their bowl. Such a nature can prove dangerous if the kitty sips on the water with chemicals.
Specifically, some cats tend to be attracted to soapy water. It can turn into an emergency if your cat drinks a substantial amount or if the soap has toxic ingredients.
In this post, I will share my knowledge about this topic and what you can do when your cat shows untoward reactions.
Why do cats drink soapy water?
Cats are picky creatures when it comes to the water they drink. It’s a survival instinct that traces back to their wild ancestors.
Basically, cats prefer running water since it indicates freshness and cleanliness. Imagine a stream or a river in the wild.
In a domesticated setting, cats will also look for the same running water. It explains why some kitties would go the extra mile of opening faucets instead of drinking from their water bowls.
Unfortunately, the pursuit of running water can become a problem if your cat gets into your soapy sink or bathroom.
Aside from that, your cat probably likes the taste of the soap. This could lead to excessive soapy water consumption, which will negatively affect your cat’s health.
Signs that your cat drank soapy water
Knowing whether or not a cat drank soapy water can be challenging. Most of the time, pet owners remain unaware since their cats don’t show any adverse reaction.
But if you suspect that your pet quenched his thirst with detergent-laced water, you should look for these symptoms:
- Poor appetite
- Labored breathing
- Lethargy or weakness
- Burns in the mouth (when it ingested strong detergents)
- Pawing at the mouth
Take note that these are general symptoms. It may or may not be a sign of soapy water ingestion, but it requires veterinary attention just the same.
You should still call the vet if your cat exhibits these symptoms for hours. Conditions like dehydration can escalate fast and put your pet’s life at risk.
Can dish soap make a cat sick?
It depends on the ingredients of the dish soap. For example, the popular Dawn dish soap is usually non-toxic and unlikely to kill a pet.
However, all dish soaps aren’t supposed to be consumed in any way. Even if there are no poisonous ingredients, dish soap products can still trigger diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach upset.
The good thing is that many dish soaps are scented, which keeps cats away. Still, there are more tolerant felines who will still sip on heavily scented, soapy water.
Also, artificial dyes and fragrances can trigger severe irritations in felines. And even if they are free from these ingredients, dish soap and soapy water should be kept out of your pet’s reach.
What happens if your cat drinks slightly soapy water?
Slightly soapy water rarely causes deadly consequences to cats. Most of the time, a kitty who drinks it will experience stomach upset, nausea, drooling, and vomiting.
Some cats may not experience any discomfort after drinking soapy water. Still, you should observe your pet for unusual symptoms that may indicate irritation.
The irritation would be much worse if your cat drank a lot of soapy water. A significant amount of soapy water will cause more severe problems than harmless tummy troubles.
Your enemy here is dehydration. If your cat’s diarrhea and vomiting don’t abate, the kitty will soon lose too many fluids than its body can tolerate.
This situation can turn deadly in a matter of hours. So if your cat drank soapy water and had been having diarrhea/vomiting for more than 12 hours, you should call the vet immediately.
Also, it’s important to know that dish soap is way different than detergents. Water with detergent is toxic to pets, and veterinary attention is necessary.
What should I do if my cat drank soapy water?
If your cat drank soapy water, you should observe it for any negative reactions. Most cats will not show any serious symptoms for the first 3 to 4 hours.
While observing, try to encourage your cat to drink clean water. This can help flush out the soap faster and prevent dehydration.
Don’t try to induce vomiting in your cat unless instructed by the vet. And whether your cat has symptoms or not, it’s wise to call a veterinarian for proper guidance.
Above all, never try to self-medicate your cat. Without veterinary supervision, home remedies will only make your cat’s condition worse.
How to stop a cat from drinking soapy water
Cats are naturally curious beings, so it’s hard to keep them in one place. If your kitty won’t stop seeking soapy water, here are some steps you can try:
1. Get a cat water fountain
Cats love flowing water, which is why they may try to get on your soapy sink. In this case, a water fountain will solve the problem.
Water fountains for pets are designed to keep the water flowing. This will oxygenate the water to keep it fresh and attractive for your pet.
Aside from that, the trickling sound of the water can encourage your cat to drink more. With this, you’ll have a well-hydrated cat who no longer seeks faucets.
2. Don’t leave stagnant soapy water
This is a no-brainer but still a worthy reminder for all cat owners. Never leave any container with soapy water that your furry friend may drink.
Always drain all used soapy water and rinse the container. If you wish to recycle the water later, put it in a container with a lid that your cat can’t easily open.
3. Rinse your sink after each use
Cats use their mouths to explore everything, including a sink with traces of dish soap. With this, you should always rinse your sink after each use to remove any soap or detergent.
You should do the same for your tub, bathroom floor, and laundry area. Aside from preventing your cat from ingesting soapy water, it will also eliminate slippery surfaces.
4. Keep your toilet lid down
My cat Watson used to be obsessed with drinking water from our toilet. It’s a big problem because we use toilet bowl cleaners.
The easy fix is to keep the toilet lid down all the time. If your cat can lift it, you can use a child lock to make it foolproof.
5. Keep all dish soaps and detergents away
Lastly, keep all your soap products away from your cat’s reach. Cats are curious, and yours may try to play with a bottle of dish soap, spill some, and try to lick it.
Overall, you should treat pets like kids. Don’t trust them around toxic substances.
What should I do if my cat ate a soap bar?
If your cat went too far and ate a soap bar, you should call the vet immediately. Soap bars have active ingredients, and consuming them directly can lead to straight-up poisoning.
Eating a bar soap is far more intense than drinking soapy water where the chemicals are diluted. Whether your soap is organic or not, this situation must be considered an emergency.
What happens if my cat licks shampoo?
As with soap products, licking shampoo can trigger gastrointestinal upset in your cat.
Licking traces of shampoo are often harmless for kitties. However, if your pet licked an entire dollop, you have to watch out for adverse reactions.
Shampoo products with strong chemicals warrant a visit to the vet if ingested by your cat.
In the end, it’s best to keep your shampoo bottles away from your cat’s reach. Also, make it a habit to rinse your bathroom floors and walls of shampoo suds after a shower.
Your cat should never consume soapy water. It’s inedible and can cause a slew of health problems.
Ingestion of soapy water isn’t always life-threatening for cats, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. It’s important to observe your pet and take action to prevent it from happening in the future.
If your cat exhibits harsh symptoms, you should call a veterinarian right away. Don’t try to self-medicate your pet or induce vomiting without veterinary instruction.
Also, it’s best to take precautionary measures to avoid emergency visits to the vet. Overall, it will save your cat from danger and your pocket from a hefty vet bill.
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco's love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.