When winter finally arrives, every cat parent dreams of cuddling up next to their feline friend, watching a Christmas movie, and drinking hot chocolate. We can’t imagine a more purrfect way to spend cold, winter nights. Until, of course, your cat’s static electricity decides to zap you out of this ideal scenario.
No one likes feeling tiny zaps and ripples of electricity on their skin, especially when it’s coming from their favorite cuddle buddy. Seeing her run for cover and leave the warm place next to you is a true definition of heartbreak.
Don’t worry, this is all normal, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for petting your dear fluff. Sometimes, nature has some interesting ways to stop us from enjoying our night, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Or, maybe there is. You don’t want your kitty to be scared of coming for a petting session in the future, do you? Luckily, there are some ways to prevent static shocks in cats. Before we get to them, let’s learn what causes this annoying reaction, first.
What causes static electricity in cats?
Static electricity is a common issue every cat parent has to deal with from time to time. However, it mostly happens during winter when it gets colder outside. So, why exactly does it happen?
During winter, low humidity levels in our homes can make the air especially dry. The negative charges in everything around us aren’t huge fans of dry air, which is why they cling to pretty much everything that has some moisture. With us being 60% water, we’re their dream come true.
When walking over our carpets and rubbing our hands on furniture, we collect negative charges on our bodies. Our feline friends do the same with their fur. When it’s time to give some cuddles, the charges you’ve collected get transferred to your kitty’s fur quickly, which creates shocks. Science!
Does static electricity hurt cats?
Just like you feel brief static shocks when you reach for a doorknob during a cold winter’s day, your kitty will likely feel the same when you pet her.
But don’t worry, it won’t actually hurt her, although the slight zap might annoy or even scare her a little. That’s simply because she doesn’t understand where it’s coming from.
I mean, imagine trying to explain static electricity to your feline… Most of us don’t even understand it. So, if she avoids you for some time, don’t give her a hard time because of it. The best thing you can do is let her calm down, and come back to you when she’s ready.
How to reduce static electricity in cats
Although there’s nothing we can do to completely stop our cats from dealing with static electricity, there are some things we can do to lessen these little shocks. Listed below are some of the easiest ways you can do it, so let’s see which option’s the best for you.
1. Humidifier might become your savior
Since dry air is the main reason why your cats experience static electricity in the first place, it’s important to find a way to make the air in your home more humid. The best way to do that is by using a humidifier.
In many ways, air humidifiers can become your best friends during winter. They work by releasing water vapor or steam into the air. This moisture in the air spreads excess charges evenly throughout the environment, which results in less static charge accumulating on the surface of your skin.
You can try adding some scented oil to the water for that spa experience, too! Using a humidifier during winter is beneficial in other ways as well, both for your kitty and you. It can help with dry skin and throat, which can be especially harmful to kitties with respiratory issues.
So, having a humidifier in your home doesn’t only prevent the build-up of static electricity, but it also helps with some health issues related to dry air.
Humidifiers are purrfectly safe for your fluff. However, if you decide to use scented oils, make sure you do a bit of research on which ones are cat-friendly.
2. A water spray
If you’re not willing to spend money on a humidifier, there are some other methods you can use that will help you reduce the effects of static electricity on your cat. For example, one pretty easy and effective way is to simply mist your hand with water before petting your kitty.
That way, you’ll prevent static shocks, and the whole experience will be a lot more enjoyable for both of you. Misting your hand will help you neutralize the negative charges that might be accumulated on the surface of your skin.
Another thing you can do is mist your cat’s fur, as well. However, considering how much our feline friends hate water, that might not work out so well. Spraying your cat with water will probably cause her to run away, which is the last thing you want before a petting session.
3. It’s time to take a bath
Since water is pretty much the main character when it comes to solving the problem of static electricity, it comes as no surprise that there are many ways you can use it. Although bath time might be the last thing on your mind when it’s snowing outside, it helps beat those tiny zaps you feel when patting your cat.
On top of that, a quick bath can help you keep your cat fresh and clean. We know how much cats hate bathing, so don’t let your kitty know we gave you this idea…
If you decide to make bath time more frequent during winter, make sure you use high-quality shampoo and conditioner for felines. They’ll help you maintain her coat shiny and healthy, while also moisturizing her skin and fur. Still, make sure you don’t bathe your cat too often.
Frequent bath time can be really harmful to your kitty’s skin health. On top of that, she’ll probably hate every second of it, so you’d want to avoid putting too much stress on your lovely fluff.
4. Try using an anti-static brush or comb
If using water is absolutely out of the question as it would disrupt the peace and harmony of your cat-ruled family, we’ve got another solution for you. And it involves some quality time and bonding with your fluff. Doesn’t that sound like a dream?!
If it does sound like that to you, then you should definitely consider getting an anti-static brush. Brushing your kitty’s fur with this will keep her coat tangle-free. That way, you’ll prevent the build-up of static electricity that leads to annoying shocks.
The important thing is to use an anti-static metal brush because not all of them are good for this cause. Some of them might even make it worse! When choosing the right brush for your kitty, make sure you choose the one without hard bristles, as they can cause pain and discomfort while scratching your kitty’s skin.
This is a great way to spend some time bonding with your cat without sudden jolts of energy stopping you. Your cat will love the massage and the time she’s spending with her favorite human, while you’ll also prevent her fur from forming mats. It sounds like a win-win to us!
5. Stay away from synthetic fiber
One thing static electricity loves is synthetic fiber. Clothes, mats, or blankets made of polyester, for example, cause the build-up of static charge pretty easily. That way, when your kitty lies on the bed, the synthetic materials will start rubbing against her fur, which will cause the accumulation of electric charges.
She’ll be like a walking cloud carrying lighting ready to zap the first person who touches her. Because of that, you should avoid using blankets made of synthetic materials as much as possible. If you already have them, maybe consider changing them for those made of natural fiber to keep your kitty warm and comfy.
It will make all the difference, and you’ll be able to cuddle your dear fluff without being scared of hurting her. On top of that, using blankets and rugs made of natural fiber is a more environmentally friendly option, because they’re made of sustainable materials.
So, not only will you add a few new blankets to your home and reduce your cats’ static electricity, but you’ll be doing a good thing for the environment, too! We see no cons to this one.
6. Avoid dryer sheets
Although it might seem like a good idea at first, you should never use a dryer sheet to deal with static electricity. Rubbing it on your cat to reduce electricity can be extremely dangerous to your dear fluff. Just because it works when it comes to getting rid of static in your clothes, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use it on your kitty.
Dryer sheets contain cationic detergents, which can cause serious health issues in felines and other pets. They can lead to burns on the skin, vomiting, muscular weakness, seizures, collapse, and, in extreme cases, even coma.
If your kitty suffers from asthma, you should keep dryer sheets as far as possible from her. You should even stop using them in your dryer, let alone anywhere near your feline.
Our feline friends are always self-grooming, which is why we should be extra careful about the things we use on their skin and fur. Whatever there is on their coat, they’ll inhale and ingest it. If you use any toxic products, such as dryer sheets or fabric sprays, it can be detrimental to your feline’s health.