Are Baby Wipes Safe to Use on Cats? Vet-Reviewed Facts & FAQ

woman trying to clean her cat with wet wipes
Image Credit: Chewy
Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Christian Adams

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For the most part, cats are rather self-reliant creatures. They do a majority of their own bathing and grooming and only occasional input from you is necessary. But there are times when felines need a little additional help to stay entirely clean. Baby wipes seem like a simple and quick way to provide that little bit of help, taking care of a little waste stuck to your cat’s back end or helping to get something out of their fur. After all, baby wipes are safe for babies, they must be safe for cats too, right?

In truth, baby wipes can be quite harmful to cats. They contain loads of chemicals that don’t hurt humans but can pose a health threat to your kitty. Things are even worse if your cat happens to ingest a baby wipe! As a general rule, never clean your cat with baby wipes. However, there are some alternatives that we’ll take a look at after we discuss the reasons why baby wipes have the potential to hurt your pet.

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Do Baby Wipes Hurt Cats?

Baby wipes can absolutely be harmful to cats, but it’s not the wipe itself that causes the harm. The texture of the wipe is perfectly safe, and so is the action of wiping your cat with a moist towelette or cloth. It’s not the physical act of wiping or the actual wipe that hurts your cat. Rather, it’s what’s contained in the wipe.

Image Credit: Abi Porter, Flickr

Dangerous Ingredients in Baby Wipes

Baby wipes are full of chemicals and cleaning agents. Many of these are potentially harmful to your feline. They can be dangerous for external use and double dangerous if your cat happens to ingest one. Here are some of the ingredients in baby wipes that pose a threat to your pet:

  • Aloe: Aloe is known to soothe raw skin and help heal sunburn in humans, but it’s actually poisonous for cats.
  • Soaps and Detergents: Baby wipes are supposed to clean your baby’s skin, and they do this with various soaps and detergents that can irritate your cat’s skin when applied externally and will upset their stomach if ingested.
  • Scents: Lavender, perfumes, and other fragrances are all used in baby wipes to provide an appealing scent. Lavender is poisonous to cats and other perfumes and fragrances can cause sickness if your cat ingests them.
  • Triclosan: You won’t find this antibacterial agent in all baby wipes, though it is in enough of them for us to mention it. It’s a chemical cleaner that is poisonous to cats.
  • Propylene Glycol: This chemical often causes skin rashes and irritation. It’s even worse if your cat eats it.

In addition, baby wipes are made for human skin, which has a different pH than a cat’s skin. The pH of human skin is lower than that of a cat’s. Using human products on a cat disrupts their normal skin pH, which leaves them more vulnerable to skin infections and irritation.

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Safe Alternatives to Baby Wipes

You can’t deny the convenience of using baby wipes. There’s no need for soap, water, or drying off afterward. Just wipe with a baby wipe and everything is taken care of. Since baby wipes are bad for your cat, let’s take a look at a few alternatives that offer similar convenience but won’t harm your pet.

Hepper wipes

It's hard to beat the convenience of pet-safe wipes after a big adventure, between baths, or when cleaning sensitive areas. Our favorite option is Hepper's Wash Wipes, premium wipes designed to safely and gently remove grime from cats and dogs of all ages and sizes. These hypoallergenic wipes are made in the USA and feature moisturizing ingredients to soothe your pet's skin.

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

  • Damp Cloth or Paper Towel: While you won’t get quite the same cleaning power from a wet paper towel or cloth, these can often replace wet wipes for basic cleaning needs and won’t pose any risk to your cat. If plain water isn’t strong enough, you can dissolve a tablespoon of baking soda into six cups of water for a harmless but effective cleaner.
  • Pet Wipes: Pet wipes are essentially baby wipes made specifically for pets. They contain no harmful ingredients and are completely safe to use on your cat. They can also help reduce odors while making cleanup a quick and easy process.

Cat Cleaning That’s Better Than Wipes

cat brushing a home
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Pet wipes might be an efficient way to clean your cat, but there are better ways to do this. Of course, giving your cat a complete bath is probably the best way to get them clean, but that’s time-consuming, messy, and takes a lot of work. Instead, you can try these simple methods.

  • Hairbrush: Often, all you need to do to help keep your cat clean is run a brush through their coat. This can also improve your bond with your pet and reduce shedding.
  • Dry Shampoo: Dry shampoo is a great way to clean up a dirty cat without all the mess that bathing often creates. Just rub some dry shampoo on your cat’s coat and rub it in well. Then, brush your cat with a regular grooming brush. These dry shampoos are totally harmless for your cat and offer a much quicker alternative to bathing. There are plenty of dry shampoos for cats on the market, but our favorite is the Burt’s Bees Waterless Shampoo for Cats. It’s affordable, effective, and 100% cat-safe.

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Baby wipes are great for cleaning up your baby or even yourself, but they should never be used on your cat. They contain all sorts of chemicals that can be harmful to your feline, including aloe, propylene glycol, and various soaps and detergents. You can use pet wipes as an equally convenient alternative, or try a dry shampoo to clean your entire cat without getting wet and messy!

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Chewy

About the Author

Christian Adams
Christian Adams
Christian is the Editor-in-Chief of Excited Cats and one of its original and primary contributors. A lifelong cat lover, now based in South East Asia, Christian and his wife are the proud parents of an 11-year-old son and four rescue cats: Trixie, Chloe, Sparky, and Chopper.

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