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How to Safely Burn Incense Around Cats: 3 Vet-Reviewed Tips

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	Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

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

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Incense is a plant material that gives off certain scents when burned, and it’s been around for centuries. People use it for multiple purposes, such as meditation, to get rid of negative energy, relaxation, aromatherapy, and more. Incense is deeply embedded within our culture, and cat owners may not think about the health risks to their cats while burning incense.

That said, how do you safely burn incense around cats? The truth is incense really shouldn’t be burned around cats at all. Smoke inhalation is bad for cats and should be avoided around your cat. It may be possible to burn incense with your cat in the house if you take necessary precautions for your cat’s health. Read on to learn more about burning incense around cats.


The 3 Tips on How to Safely Burn Incense Around Cats

1. Put Your Cat in a Different Room

cats outside the bedroom
Image Credit: Lucamato, Shutterstock

As we’ve mentioned, smoke from burning incense is harmful to your cat. If you plan to burn incense, place your cat in a different room, ideally at the opposite end of your home, from the one in which you will be burning the incense. The last thing you want is your cat sitting beside you and inhaling the smoke.

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2. Open All the Windows

Ventilation is vital while burning incense with your cat in the home to air out the smoke. One downfall is that the scent will not be as potent with the windows open, but it’s much safer to allow the smoke to escape windows for the safety of your cat. Cats are super sensitive to smoke, and when cats inhale smoke, it can cause upper respiratory symptoms, such as watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and congestion.

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3. Remove Your Cat From the Home

Calico maine coon cat sitting outside
Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

The best bet is to simply remove your cat completely from the inside of the home before lighting the incense. This will be easy for those with outside cats, but if your cat is strictly an indoor cat, you may want to ask a friend or family member to keep your kitty for a while.

Be sure to air out your home entirely before letting your cat back inside as an extra safety measure.

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Safer Alternatives Opposed to Incense

Clearly, burning incense around your cat is not recommended due to safety purposes, but if you’re looking for ways to make your home smell pleasant, you can try other methods that are more cat-friendly.


Febreze can make your home smell nice, and it has been deemed safe by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). You still need to take precautions while using this product, though. You don’t want to spray it near your cat, and it’s best to let it dry completely before letting your cat near the product.

Burn Pet-Friendly Candles

Pet-friendly candles are made with non-toxic materials like soy wax, coconut wax, beeswax, or vegetable wax. They still burn and give off smoke, and it’s best to light these candles out of your cat’s reach. You should still avoid burning any candle if your cat has asthma or some other respiratory condition, even if it’s organic. When burning candles, ensure you have them in a safe place where your cat cannot knock them over.

hand holding a scented candle
Image Credit: Daiga Ellaby, Unsplash

Use Air Purifiers

Air purifiers help eliminate pet odors by using UV light to destroy germs and allergens that cause odor. They also sanitize the air by drawing in pollutants by way of a fan, which then goes through a filter. The cleaned air is then released back into the environment.

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As you can see, incense can be dangerous to cats and should be avoided. If you must burn incense, follow the methods mentioned above to do it as safely as possible.

Ideally, you should use safer alternatives, such as pet-friendly candles, air purifiers, and Febreze. Ensure you take precautions while using Febreze, and never spray it directly on your cat. Always have your home well-ventilated when burning incense, and don’t allow your cat to be in the same room while burning incense.

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Featured Image Credit: Denis Oliveira, Unsplash