Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats? [A Guide For Every Cat Owner]

A humidifier is a great device to combat perennially dry climates or climates with cold and dry winter air. Many American households have at least one humidifier.

Even though it is safe for our human beings, many cat owners are not sure if it is safe for their little kitty. Since it is one of our family members, we should make sure everything in the house will not harm it.

Don’t worry! The humidifier is safe for cats. It can make your cat feel more comfortable and relieve their dry skin, itchy throat, and congested nose. As long as you put it in a safe place, use it properly, and clean it regularly, your feline friend will love it just like you do.

There are more details about this subject waiting for you to explore. Keep reading, and you will have a firm understanding between humidifiers and cats. 

Let’s dive in!

Are humidifiers safe for cats?

Humidifiers work by releasing water vapor into the air so as to improve the indoor humidity level. As water is non-toxic and inhaling moisture particles is not harmful, using a humidifier is safe for cats.

While using a humidifier, there would be some dangers, but it is more related to what you add to the water and where you place the machine. (More on that later) 

In fact, having a humidifier at home is a good thing for cats, especially when the air is dry.

Are humidifiers good for cats?

is a humidifier good for cats

Like human beings, cats like to stay in an environment with comfortable humidity. The ideal humidity level for cats is about 30% to 50%, and the humidity level in many regions is below 30%, especially in the winter months. 

The dry air could lead to a few adverse effects. For example, many cats will suffer from congested noses in dry and cold winter, making them refuse to eat food. Cats are sensitive to smell, and they will not eat the food if they can’t smell it. 

Cats like to groom themselves, and you may find them grooming more on dry days. The reason is that their skin is dry and itchy, making them try to groom more to keep their skin and coat in a good state. 

On top of it, the dry air often comes with more allergens and germs, leading to more allergies and even asthma. 

These symptoms can be reduced by running a humidifier. When the humidifier evaporates more water droplets into the air, the humidity level will increase accordingly, and all the related issues will be alleviated. 

Can humidifiers help relieve cat asthma?

About 1% to 5% of cats have feline asthma, and the dry air and the content in the dry air are often the triggers of asthma attacks. 

The dry air can dehydrate the mucus membranes, making cats susceptible to infections. Add to that more pollen, germs, and other microorganisms floating in the air, and your kitty would become vulnerable to many diseases. 

Feline asthma could be dangerous as it can make cat hard to breathe and even life-threatening. 

Again, since humidifiers can increase the humidity level, keep the mucus membranes hydrated, and decrease the molecules in the air, they can help relieve cat asthma. 

If you happen to have a cat with asthma, keeping it running in the winter is always an excellent solution to prevent asthma attacks.

Can cats be around humidifiers?

Cats can be around humidifiers. Even though humidifiers are electronics, they are hard to give your cat an electric shock. 

Cats are full of curiosity. They may tip your humidifier over. Therefore, you’d better get your cat a cool-mist humidifier to prevent any accidental scald and scar. 

What to look for in a cat-friendly humidifier?

Not every humidifier is created equal when using it with a cat at home. So how to get a cat-friendly unit? There are a few factors that need to be taken into account.


Many species of cats are more sensitive to sound than us. They fear loud sounds, which will make them stressed and distracted. Therefore, it is important to make sure the humidifier you use in its room is quiet. Usually, ultrasonic humidifiers are quieter than other types. 

Warm mist or cool mist?

The cool mist humidifier is a safer choice for cats. If you use a warm mist model, the hot vapor may scald your feline friend who tries to approach the device. 

Beyond that, you can’t stop your cat from checking out the newly come device. If it tips the humidifier over, the hot water will burn it. 

So it is better to be safe than sorry and get a model that only produces cold mist or vapor. It also applies to birds or other pets in your house.

If you can put your warm mist one in a place that your cat can never reach, it is also acceptable.


It is difficult to determine where your cat prefers to stay with a humidifier running. Hence, you may need to move the device to different places initially. 

To save your effort, you’d better choose a one with compact size. It would also benefit cats as the small one has less possibility to hurt your little kitty when the device topples over.


Before your cats get used to this small home appliance, it may be tipped over by them a few times. To ensure it can keep working, you should get one made with solid materials. Otherwise, you should purchase a new one every a few months, if not days. 


Many people have a busy life, and you just can’t stay with your cats every now and then. If you want to take care of your feline friend even though if are not at home, you will need a programmable machine or a one with APP. Then the device can start to run at the proper time.

Are essential oil safe for cats?

No, essential oils are dangerous for cats. You shouldn’t add any essential oil to your humidifier. In fact, we don’t recommend you add any essential oil to the water tank, even if there are no pets in your home. 

Cat’s sense of smell is 14 times better than human beings. The scent released from the essential oil that is calming and relaxed for us may be too overwhelming for your little cat. 

Many common components in essential oil, such as monoterpene hydrocarbon, phenols, citrus, and eucalyptus are toxic to cats. It could be fatal if cats ingest them or cause many health problems if they inhale them often. 

If you are an essential oil lover and want to use a diffuser, you should ensure your cat is not in the room and open the window immediately after finishing the session.

What kind of water do I put in my cat’s humidifier?

A humidifier is a valuable home appliance for many of us, but it is notorious for cleaning and maintenance. If you don’t clean and disinfect the machine, the water tank will become a breeding ground for mold and bacteria. 

Unless you use a warm steam vaporizer, many mold and bacteria can be released into the air, affecting the air quality and posing a health risk to your cat’s health. However, as we discussed earlier, vaporizers could burn or scald your cat, which is not a good option. 

Hence, you should choose another way to inhibit the growth of these microorganisms, which is distilled water. 

Distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals, so it is harder to accumulate buildup in the reservoir and let the germs thrive. 

In addition, the mineral in the tap water can go out with moisture particles, forming white dust which can be inhaled into the lungs.

So, distilled water is the best bet for your cat’s humidifier. 


Humidifiers are safe and good for cats. It could relieve many symptoms due to the dry air for cats. For example, it can reduce pollen and other allergens, reducing asthma attacks. 

However, cats are innately curious creatures, and they will constantly check out the new device. You should choose a cool-mist model made with sturdy materials to accommodate it. Meanwhile, you should avoid using any essential oils. 

To prevent any contaminants in the water tank risk cat’s health, you should clean it regularly and use distilled water. 

I hope the humidifier you get can bring your lovely little kitty a better life.

About The Author

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Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested dozens of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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