Hydrogen peroxide is a common household chemical often used as a disinfectant, bleaching agent, and wound cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide can kill bacteria when applied to wounds in humans and can even be used in some animals. It is generally safe for humans, but there are some important considerations to keep in mind if you’re thinking about using hydrogen peroxide on cats. 

Why is Hydrogen Peroxide Unsafe for Cats?

Hydrogen peroxide is an effective emetic substance in some animals, but not for cats. Dogs can safely be given hydrogen peroxide in controlled quantities to induce vomiting. Administering hydrogen peroxide to a cat can cause serious inflammation and ulcerations to the stomach and esophagus. It can also damage epithelial tissue, leading to intestinal bleeding. Because most of the damage is done internally, it may go unnoticed until your cat starts exhibiting external symptoms. At this point, the internal damage might be too far gone, and shock, and possibly death could follow.

Even to humans, hydrogen peroxide has an unpleasant smell and can be irritating. If your cat has a wound, do not use hydrogen peroxide on the wound because it can cause tissue damage. Call your veterinarian for an alternative disinfectant that is created exclusively for cats. Your vet may be able to prescribe an alternative disinfectant. 

Symptoms of Hydrogen Peroxide Poisoning

Administering hydrogen peroxide on cats can cause a number of problems. Some severe issues may not externally show until it is too late. Here are common signs of hydrogen peroxide poisoning in cats: 

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Bloody stools
  • Intestinal bleeding
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Foaming in the mouth

Treatment for Hydrogen Peroxide Poisoning 

If your cat ingests hydrogen peroxide, the situation requires prompt medical attention. Call your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 for medical advice. A veterinarian might recommend treatment to help the gastrointestinal tract and minimize additional damage. Your cat will need lots of supportive care and possibly hospitalization for some time. Contact Pet Poison Helpline® immediately if you can confirm or suspect your cat has consumed hydrogen peroxide.