Cats can get into all sorts of trouble, sometimes with serious consequences. While most of their antics are harmless, some can be dangerous. Cats are curious creatures and will explore their environment in every way possible. In light of this, leaving a lit candle anywhere your cat can get to is an invitation to disaster. Besides the whole housefire thing, your cat can get wax on its fur.
There are many methods for removing candle wax from your cat’s fur. Which one to use depends on many factors like your cat’s temperament, the extent of the damage, and the type of candle wax.
Types of Candle Wax
Before removing the wax from your cat’s fur, it’s helpful to know what type of wax it is. Knowing this will benefit you in two ways: it will help you determine the damage it may have done to your cat and guide you in the best way to remove it. Generally, candles consist of three main types of wax.
Pure beeswax candles are biodegradable and burn for long periods. As a result, they also require high temperatures to melt. If your cat comes in contact with a beeswax candle while it is burning, it could get burnt. Avoid buying beeswax candles if you have pets at home. If your cat has wax on her fur and you have beeswax candles, assess her skin for any burns.
Another problem with beeswax candles is that the fragrance is more potent. While this is a plus point in your books, it is not the same for your cat. Cats are prone to all sorts of allergies. A candle that leaves long-lasting effects could cause allergies and respiratory problems.
Paraffin candles are the most affordable option but are not the safest. The wax contains petroleum by-products, so it can produce toxic fumes when burnt. Compared to natural waxes such as pure beeswax and soy wax, paraffin wax burns at much higher temperatures. As a result, it can also cause burns if your cat chooses to play with a paraffin wax candle.
Additionally, paraffin wax produces toxins and black soot as it burns — dangerous for you and your pet. It is best not to use paraffin candles, regardless of whether you are a pet parent or not. Inhaling the fumes from a paraffin candle can cause nausea, vomiting, respiratory issues, or even cancer in the long term. These candles can also cause air pollution inside your home.
The safest candles you can purchase for your home if you have pets are soy wax candles. They are much more affordable than pure beeswax candles since they come from renewable sources. This natural, biodegradable plant-based wax produces minimal soot when lit. Another benefit to soy wax candles is their lower burning temperature, which can reduce the risk of burns to your cat. Cleaning is easy, and you only need soap and water to remove spills.
The only downside to soy wax is that it comes from heavily genetically modified sources. It is common to apply pesticides to soy plants, which can harm humans and pets. Some manufacturers might add paraffin wax or artificial dyes and fragrances to these candles. When buying soy wax candles, inquire about the sources and ingredients used.
How To Remove Candle Wax From Your Cat’s Fur
Removing wax from your cat’s fur can be simple if you know what type of wax it is. Follow these simple steps to remove candle wax from your cat’s fur:
Assess The Damage
First and foremost, check your pet thoroughly for burns. The hot candle wax could likely have caused a burn. Check underneath the fur to see if your cat has any burns. You may need to reassure your cat and help it calm down because it is likely already stressed. Most felines will be scared or confused and try to lick the wax off. You should comfort them and hold them gently while assessing the damage to their skin. You should also check the nose and paws for burns.
Determine Wax Type
In most cases, pet parents are already aware of the type of candles they own. If not, you can check the label to determine if it is beeswax, paraffin, or soy wax. It is best not to buy candles with vague or no labels. If you’ve determined the type of wax, you will also know if it burnt your cat or not. Remember that cats are more likely to receive burns from beeswax or paraffin candles. If you have any of those at home, it is best to take your cat to the veterinarian. Burns from candle wax can be very painful, and your cat will require immediate care.
Removing Hardened Wax
Small amounts of wax are easily removed, especially if the wax is on the fur only. In most cases, the wax will have hardened before you remove it. You can gently break it off in clumps, but there might still be small pieces that are difficult to remove. You can use a fine-toothed comb to brush through any remaining wax. You must use a light hand, or you might leave your cat with a bald patch. Use the following methods to remove wax effectively:
If you are scared that breaking off the wax might hurt your feline, you can use a gentle, fragrance-free oil to remove the wax. Be mindful of the oil you use since cats are sensitive to essential oils. Unscented baby oil is the safest and gentlest option. Warm oil works better than cold oil for this solution.
Take baby oil on your fingers and gently massage it onto the hardened wax. Rub gently with your fingers till the wax slides off the fur. If using your fingers is difficult, you can soak a cotton ball in baby oil and massage it onto your cat’s fur. After thoroughly moistening the area with oil, use a fine-toothed comb to brush through it. The key is taking your time, so don’t become frustrated if the wax doesn’t come off in the first few minutes. You might need to massage the spot for ten minutes or so before the wax gives way.
Bob Vila recommends using ice to remove candle wax from a carpet. It could work for your cat if the other methods fail. Instead of rubbing in the ice cube, fill up a plastic bag with ice cubes and place it against the affected spot — making the wax hard and brittle while soothing burns your cat may have. Crumble the wax with your fingers to remove it from your cat’s fur. Some finer bits might still be left, which you can remove with a fine-toothed comb.
You can use your cat’s conditioner if you don’t have unscented baby oil. If you are afraid the oil might irritate your pet’s skin, a conditioner is a great alternative. Take some onto your fingers and gently massage it onto the affected spot. You might need to rub the area for ten minutes or more before removing most of the wax. After rinsing off the conditioner, you can give your cat a bath to loosen up any bits of wax left in the fur.
Removing Scented Wax
If your cat got into the wax burner, she probably did not get a lot of wax on herself. In this case, you can soak a washcloth in warm water and use it to soften the wax.
Press it onto the spot for a few seconds and remove it, so it doesn’t hurt your pet. You will have to do this many times till the wax softens. Scented wax melts at low temperatures, so it is easier to remove it with a warm washcloth. You can comb out any small pieces at the end.
Use hair clippers if you cannot remove the fine bits of wax at all and don’t want to risk your cat trying to lick them off. You don’t need to go to a professional groomer for this. Trim away the fur that still has wax on it. Wait for your cat to calm down before you do this. You will need to hold your cat firmly and slowly trim off the fur from the affected spot. The fur will grow back within a few weeks.
Before removing wax from your cat’s fur, ensure she has no burns. If your cat has suffered burns, you should visit your veterinarian immediately. Candle wax can be tough to remove, so you can try the above methods to see which works best for your cat.