Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

Picture of a cool cat

Painting with acrylic is very popular these days, especially as people are looking for new hobbies and ways to pass their spare time while at home.

But is acrylic paint toxic to cats or is it safe? What happens if your feline buddy accidentally licks some? What could happen if she breathes in paint fumes or particles? We’re answering these questions and more in today’s post, so keep on reading!

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

Giving a clear answer to this question is actually rather difficult. It depends on the specific product that you use. There are non-toxic brands available for sale, and that can be marketed as being safe for pets – it’s quite likely that those aren’t going to hurt your feline companion’s health in any way.

But there are some other factors that have to be considered to tell whether acrylic paint is toxic or not. If your cat drinks paint water, it’s likely that she’s not going to develop any symptoms overnight.

However, you can’t have the same peace of mind if your cat ingests any undiluted acrylic paint, especially if you look at the label and it’s not marketed as non-toxic for pets or kids.

So our first piece of advice for you is always to make sure that you invest in acrylic paints that are safe for animals. If they aren’t marketed as such, you can get a brand that’s safe for children – since young kids always tend to somehow get in trouble and in contact with things they’re not supposed to eat.

Are Some Acrylic Paint Colors More Dangerous than Others?

The concise answer to this question is yes. Some colors can be more dangerous as they can have certain ingredients that might make them toxic for cats.

White, blue, and yellow are likely to be riskier as they could contain manganese, chromium, lead, cobalt, or cadmium. Some of them are even called ‘cobalt blue,’ for example, which can give you a clue as to whether they are safe or not right off the bat.

If at all possible, try to look for eco-friendly and pet-safe paints, especially those that have clearly stated all of their ingredients on the label so that you know whether you should purchase them or not.

When Is Acrylic Paint Dangerous for Cats?


If you wish to remove paint from your canvas, you might feel tempted to use sanding as a technique for the task. Well, think again. Unfortunately, the procedure involves releasing small paint particles into the air (which is why you should wear a mask, too, by the way!).

The particles can cause a variety of breathing problems in all animals, including cats, and some can even make your feline buddy develop chronic respiratory issues such as bronchitis.

That doesn’t mean that the particles themselves, so the paint, would have to be toxic — merely that they are so small that they can be breathed in by your cat and can end up into your cat’s trachea, bronchi, and lungs.

Paint fumes

These might also not be that bad for your cat, especially if you are using acrylic paints, but your feline buddy is likely to avoid your room anyway during the procedure.

If you are concerned about your cat getting into the room while you’re focused on airbrushing, you should apply some citrus essential oil to a mat right at the door — and your cat is not going to want to get anywhere near there.

What Types of Paints Are Toxic for Cats?

Besides some types of acrylic paints that could contain dangerous ingredients, some of the most toxic paints for our feline friends are those that can contain cadmium.

Paints that come in the form of volatile organic compounds are dangerous, too, as they can cause respiratory irritations as well as other symptoms such as headaches — both in people and in animals.

So which paints have volatile organic compounds? Well, almost all oil paints do, so they’re considerably less safe to use around your feline companion.

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests Acrylic Paint

Whether you believe that your cat ate a bigger or a smaller amount of paint, you have to always get in touch with your veterinarian. While you are trying to get them on the phone, look at the label to see whether the paint is marketed as pet-safe or not or if it has any text that advises against its use in the presence of kids or pets.

Most cats are not going to want to eat paint on purpose, but it can happen. Your veterinarian is the correct person to contact if this occurs. Do not try to induce vomiting using objects like pencils or whatever else you might have available.

If you do not know how to induce vomiting with hydrogen peroxide, simply take your cat to the clinic as soon as possible.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint from Your Cat’s Body

If some paint fell and stained your cat’s coat, you don’t have too many things to worry about other than the fact that your cat might want to groom herself, and so, the risk of paint ingestion appears.

Acrylic paints are water-based, so all you have to do is give your cat a bath or wash that area. If you can’t be bothered with all this, you can even trim that portion of your cat’s coat (it sounds weird, but your cat’s hair grows back, as you probably know).


In most cases, acrylic paint is not toxic to cats, but you can never be too sure, which is why you should only get pet-safe paints. If your cat somehow ends up ingesting acrylic paint, go to the vet clinic right away.



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