Understanding the Feline Fascination with Bleach: A Comprehensive Guide

Cats, with their peculiar behaviors and quirks, often leave their owners baffled, and their attraction to bleach is no exception.

While some feline behaviors are merely odd, others, like an affinity for bleach, can pose significant health risks. Here’s what you need to know about why cats are drawn to bleach and how to ensure their safety.


The Peculiar Attraction to Bleach: Why Do Cats Like It?

Many cat owners have observed strange reactions in their cats to bleach, including drooling, purring, and rolling. This fascination is primarily attributed to the presence of chlorine in bleach, which acts as a pheromone-like trigger.

Cats have a keen sense of smell, much stronger than humans, allowing them to detect various compounds in bleach, including sodium hypochlorite, which decomposes to release chlorine and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).


cats seem to have a bleach fetish
cats seem to have a bleach fetish


Bleach Poisoning in Cats: A Serious Concern

While the smell of bleach alone is not harmful, ingestion can lead to bleach poisoning, a serious condition with symptoms such as excessive drooling, vomiting, stomach pain, and skin irritation.

Immediate veterinary care is crucial in such cases, and while essential oils are often used for treating sores, they are toxic to cats both topically and when ingested.


Types of Bleach and Feline Reactions

Cats’ reactions to bleach vary depending on its type and concentration:


    • Regular Household Bleach: Lower chlorine concentration but still harmful, causing skin irritation and digestive tract issues upon contact or ingestion.
    • Ultra-Concentrated Bleach: Higher acidity levels lead to more severe chemical burns and potential eye damage. Immediate veterinary care is necessary for such exposures.
    • Non-Chlorine Bleach: Contains hydrogen peroxide, which can also be harmful to cats, causing mild rashes and digestive issues.



cats seem to have a bleach fetish
cats seem to have a bleach fetish

Safeguarding Your Cat from Bleach

Given cats’ inability to resist bleach, it falls upon pet owners to protect them. This includes storing bleach in inaccessible areas, diluting bleach used for cleaning, and ensuring cats are kept away from freshly cleaned areas until they are dry.

Monitoring your cat to prevent them from licking surfaces cleaned with bleach is also crucial.


Alternative Cleaning Products

To mitigate the risks associated with bleach, pet owners can opt for safer cleaning alternatives like Castile soap, baking soda, lemon juice, and white vinegar. These products are less harmful and reduce the risk of chlorine gas release, which can occur when cat urine mixes with bleach.



Cats’ attraction to bleach components poses a significant health risk. Understanding this peculiar behavior and taking preventive measures can help ensure your cat’s safety and well-being.

For cleaning purposes, especially around pets, opting for natural, pet-safe alternatives is advisable. Share your experiences or thoughts on this topic in the comments below!



  • Amanda Wheatley

    Passionate about animals, Amanda draws her expertise from her training as an educator, pet behaviorist as well as her extensive experience with animal owners. A specialist in dog and cat behavior, Amanda continues to learn about our four-legged companions by studying veterinary reference books but also university research sites (UCD, Utrecht, Cambridge, Cornell, etc..) Why Trust ShelterAPet? At ShelterAPet, our collective is composed of writers, veterinarians, and seasoned animal trainers with a deep passion for pets. Our team of esteemed professionals delves into extensive research to deliver trustworthy insights on a broad spectrum of pet-related subjects. We anchor our evaluations on direct customer experiences, meticulous testing, and comprehensive scrutiny. Our commitment is to uphold transparency and integrity for our cherished community of pet aficionados and prospective pet parents.

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