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Is Vinegar Bad for Cats? Vet-Reviewed Safety Concerns

Written by: Lorre Luther

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team


Is Vinegar Bad for Cats? Vet-Reviewed Safety Concerns


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo


Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Vinegar is one of the wonder products many regularly use for different purposes such as cleaning. It’s incredibly acidic and can irritate cats’ mucous membranes if consumed undiluted. However, if it’s mixed with water, it’s unlikely to cause harm if cats are exposed to items that have been cleaned with the diluted mixture.

If you are thinking of putting vinegar in your cat’s water, It’s critical to speak to your veterinarian before giving your cat any home remedy to ensure it’s safe and an appropriate way to address any medical issues. Further, we don’t recommend doing so, and no scientific data exists to show that vinegar is helpful in any way to cats. Vinegar and water cleaning solutions are generally fine to use around pets and make fantastic alternatives to toxic products such as bleach and ammonia.

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Why Shouldn’t Cats Consume Undiluted Vinegar?

Undiluted vinegar is extremely acidic and can harm cats if they consume it. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), consuming straight vinegar can cause cats’ mouths to become irritated and lead to stomach problems.

The issue isn’t that vinegar is toxic, but without being mixed with water, it can be an irritant.

a jar of vinegar
Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

What About Giving Cats Vinegar as a Dietary Supplement?

No data exists to suggest that this is safe, effective, or beneficial to cats in any way. Therefore, we don’t recommend this as an option for any cats. Better, simply provide clean, fresh water without anything added to ensure they stay hydrated and a properly formulated diet for their life stage. With this combo, cats will have everything they need to stay happy and healthy.

Can You Use Vinegar and Water to Keep Fleas Away?

Unfortunately, water and vinegar won’t get rid of a flea problem. The mixture doesn’t kill fleas or their eggs. Commercial products that effectively eliminate fleas and prevent new ones from finding homes are available in consultation with your vet. Frequent vacuuming and washing clothes, fabrics, and cat bed covers at high temperatures are also essential for getting rid of fleas.

Image Credit: Liliana-Drew, Pexels

Can You Use Vinegar and Water for Ear Cleaning?

Using an ear-cleaning solution designed for cats is much safer and more effective than using vinegar and water. Using vinegar and water on cats with ear infections may make things worse by increasing the inflammation and soreness, in addition to being incredibly painful. Most veterinarians advise pet parents to avoid vinegar and water for general ear-cleaning purposes.

Does Vinegar and Water Soothe Irritated Skin?

If your cat has irritated skin, it’s safer to use a prescription from your veterinarian than vinegar and water. Skin irritation in cats can be caused by parasites, fleas, allergies, and stress, and your vet can provide a treatment that addresses the cause of the irritation.

close up cat scratching ear
Image Credit: Lubo Ivanko, Shutterstock

Can Vinegar and Water Be Used as Cleaning Solutions for Cat Equipment?

Vinegar and water are considered safer for cats than toxic choices such as ammonia and bleach. You can use the solution to clean the litter box and other items since it doesn’t leave an overpowering smell behind.

It’s unlikely to cause any issues if your cat walks over a floor freshly mopped with vinegar and water and ends up ingesting a bit while grooming themselves.

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Vinegar is incredibly acidic, and consuming it undiluted can burn cats’ mucous membranes and cause them to feel ill, but it’s not toxic. Vinegar is touted as a way to encourage optimal digestion, deal with fleas, clean cats’ ears, and soothe irritated skin, but there’s no scientific evidence backing these claims, and it’s important to speak to your veterinarian before using any home remedies. It’s safe to use vinegar and water mixtures to clean around the house, and it’s a great option for keeping cats’ litter boxes hygienic and smelling fresh.

Featured Image Credit: focal point, Shutterstock

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