Is Bleach bad for my Cat?

Our question this week was:

Hi Dr, Debra, I have a problem with my cat and bleach. When ever I do any cleaning in the house with bleach my cat will do anything to get to my hands to clean my hands even after I have washed them. He will just lick and chew lightly on my all my fingers. Do you know why he would do this? and will it hurt him even though I have cleaned my hands?

Laurie H.


Hi – thanks for your email Laurie. You wrote that your cat likes to lick your hands after you have been cleaning with bleach even though you clean your hands well. Yes, bleach can be dangerous. If ingested – it can cause caustic burns to the mouth and esophagus. However, if you have already washed your hands and there is no bleach on them – I don’t think there should be any toxic levels there to lick.

I’d recommend that you wear gloves when you clean with bleach (to protect yourself as well!) and wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning. You can even apply some lotion that may be less appealing to your cat and hide any smell that he is attracted to.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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