Excited Cats is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more.

Will Insulation Hurt My Cat If They Touch It? Prevention Tips & FAQ

Insulation isn’t going to harm your feline if they only touch it. However, it isn’t easily digestible, so if your feline eats it, it can cause a gastrointestinal blockage. It can lead to vomiting and stomach discomfort, irritating the stomach lining.

In most cases, insulation isn’t toxic to the touch. However, that doesn’t mean you should let your cat touch it. If your feline is close enough to touch it, they’re also close enough to inhale airborne dust, which can irritate their lungs, nose, throat, and eyes. It’s this dust that’s the real problem. Luckily, this irritation is often short-lived and doesn’t cause long-term damage.

If your cat comes into contact with the dust, they may act itchy or cough. However, these signs are often unspecific and leave after a few hours. If irritation continues, you may want to take your cat to the vet just in case.

3 cat face divider

Is Foam Insulation Toxic to Cats?

If your pet consumes foam insulation, you should immediately call your vet. It isn’t safe to eat and can cause toxicity. Fast action is required to keep your pet safe. This situation does count as an emergency, so you should visit the emergency vet if it’s after hours. That said, just about any insulation can cause toxicity if eaten. It isn’t just foam insulation but all insulation.

Newer insulation is safer than old insulation. Older insulation often contains asbestos, which is very toxic. While this substance is now illegal, it can be found in many older homes. Be extra cautious if you’re renovating an older home. You should always have professionals check for the presence of asbestos, as it can also be very harmful to your lungs.

Even newer insulation can contain harsh chemicals, though. These chemicals can harm your pet, especially if they eat them. Luckily, insulation isn’t toxic if your cat doesn’t eat it. Coming into contact with the dust of the insulation won’t cause serious health effects, though it can irritate felines.

Worker insulates house
Image Credit: Igor Meshkov, Shutterstock

Signs of Insulation Poisoning in Pets

Several potential signs of insulation poisoning may occur if your cat consumes it. Luckily, these symptoms can be treated quickly and efficiently by a veterinarian. It is important to take your pet to the vet right away, though, as putting off treatment can be deadly.

Signs of toxicity include:
  • Agitation
  • Bruising and bleeding
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Problems peeing
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Wobbling when standing

Cats are often very good at hiding their symptoms. Therefore, you may not notice any symptoms until they become rather serious. If your cat is acting weird and you know they came into contact with insulation, we highly recommend seeing them immediately by a vet.

Even if your pet doesn’t eat insulation, coming into contact with it can cause skin problems. Fiberglass is extremely irritating to the skin. Cats can get it stuck in their fur, causing irritation and redness. Often, this irritation occurs in places without much fur like the cat’s stomach.

Some cats do seem more prone to irritation than others. Cats with more fur tend to be less prone, as their fur protects their skin from direct contact with fiberglass. However, cats with less fur are at a higher risk.

3 cat face divider

What is Safe Insulation for Cats?

If you have a cat, you may be wondering about the best insulation to use with them around. No commercial insulation used in a home is safe for cats to eat or be around. Therefore, instead of looking for safe insulation, you should focus on keeping your cat away from the insulation. Preferably, your cat should be elsewhere while adding insulation to your house.

Commercial insulations aren’t the best option if you’re building your cat a house. Instead, you should use straw or a similar material. These materials help the cat stay warm even when wet. Blankets, towels, and newspapers don’t work well in most cases.

A woman with a cat on a leash walking along a path in the park
Image Credit: Nau Nau, Shutterstock

Will Cats Eat Insulation?

Cats rarely eat insulation. In most cases, insulation doesn’t seem like food for cats, and felines tend to be more discerning about what they eat than dogs. Instead, they may play in it and develop dermatitis.

However, some cats may accidentally consume it while playing with it. Even if they don’t mean to eat it, they can accidentally.

How is Insulation Ingestion Treated?

If your cat consumes insulation, there are many treatment options your vet may pursue. An x-ray may be called for to determine where the insulation is lodged inside your cat’s intestines. Your vet may perform bloodwork to check on your cat’s organ function. You may want to bring a sample of the insulation your cat ate to the vet so that they can get a better idea of what they’re dealing with.

Some obstructions may require surgery. Your vet may be able to remove much of the insulation if it is in a big chunk. They can also look at your cat’s intestines for signs of damage. Treatment of signs like vomiting may also occur to prevent complications.

Image Credit: PRESSLAB, Shutterstock

How Can I Prevent My Cat from Eating Insulation?

Cats are naturally curious and playful animals, and it can be difficult to keep them from exploring and playing with new and interesting things in their environment, including insulation.

However, insulation can be dangerous for cats to play with, as it can contain harmful chemicals or fibers that can be harmful if ingested or inhaled.

Here are some tips to help keep your cat from playing with insulation:
  • Block access: One of the simplest ways to keep your cat from playing with insulation is to block their access to it. If the insulation is in an attic or crawl space, consider installing a sturdy door or gate to prevent your cat from getting in. If the insulation is in a more open area, you could use a barrier or fencing to block access.
  • Distract your cat: Cats are less likely to play with insulation if they have other toys and activities to keep them occupied. Provide your cat with plenty of toys, scratching posts, and interactive games to entertain them.
  • Cover the insulation: If blocking access isn’t practical, consider covering the insulation with a barrier such as chicken wire or mesh. This will make it more difficult for your cat to access the insulation.
  • Supervise your cat: Finally, supervise your cat whenever they are in an area with insulation. This will allow you to redirect their attention if they start to play with the insulation and prevent any potential harm.

cat paw divider


Cats shouldn’t be allowed near insulation. It isn’t toxic if they touch it, however, it can cause toxicity and irritation when eaten. Even if cats don’t see the insulation as food, they may accidentally eat it while playing with it. Veterinary care is necessary for this situation, as insulation can cause a blockage because it isn’t digestible.

Furthermore, insulation can cause skin irritation if your cat comes into contact with it.

thematic break

Featured Image Credit: zossia, Shutterstock