If you’re a cat owner, then you only want the best for your furry friend (even if they’re not always ~the most~ adept at reciprocating the feeling). There are plenty of things you do on a day-to-day basis to keep your cat safe, but some of the risks posed to cats are subtler than others. For instance, you may not have known that there is a very specific reason why salt lamps are bad for cats, and any cat owners should be very cautious before bringing them into a home where a cat is present.
The reason why salt lamps pose such a risk to cats — and to dogs as well — is that salt is toxic to both animals. But because cats are limber, have no regard for our human wishes, and will generally come into more contact with something on an elevated surface than a dog will, the risk of them licking a salt lamp is much higher. And lick that toxic salt lamp, they sure will.
“I’ve noticed my boy being very taken by one.. he sits by it often,” wrote a concerned cat owner in a forum on The Cat Site. “But something I didn’t expect is that he is now licking it. It’s crazy but it didn’t even enter my head that he would do this.. it’s salt, and it’s toxic to cats!”
And that toxicity is not at all a small matter. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, “Salt poisoning in dogs and cats results in clinical signs of vomiting, diarrhea, inappetance, lethargy, walking drunk, abnormal fluid accumulation within the body, excessive thirst or urination, potential injury to the kidneys, tremors, seizures, coma, and even death when untreated.”
Ordinarily, the recommended amount of salt intake for cats is around 16.7 mg — a number that can easily be out-licked on a salt lamp by a determined cat. Other household items to keep an eye out for include play-dough, paint balls, and table salts.
If you suspect that your cat has consumed a toxic amount of salt, take your cat to a local veterinarian immediately, or call the Pet Poison Helpline at 855-764-7661 (a $49 fee per incident applies). In the meantime, if you own a salt lamp, make sure you perch it somewhere out of reach from your cats and dogs, and store it safely when not in use.