Is Baking Soda Bad for Cats

icon June 25, 2024

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a common household item with various uses, from cooking to cleaning. However, pet owners often wonder if it is safe to use around their cats. In this comprehensive article, we will explore whether baking soda is bad for cats, its potential uses in a litter box, and whether it is safe to add baking soda to cat litter.

Is Baking Soda Bad for Cats?

The safety of baking soda for cats largely depends on the context and the amount they are exposed to. While baking soda has some benefits, it can also pose risks if not used properly.

Ingestion Risks

Cats are curious creatures and may accidentally ingest substances they come into contact with. Baking soda, when ingested in large amounts, can be toxic to cats. The primary risks include:

  • Electrolyte Imbalance: Sodium bicarbonate can disrupt the balance of electrolytes in a cat’s body, leading to conditions like hypernatremia (high sodium levels) or hypokalemia (low potassium levels).
  • Gastrointestinal Issues: Ingesting baking soda can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain in cats.
  • Alkalosis: Excessive baking soda can lead to metabolic alkalosis, a condition where the body's pH levels become too alkaline, affecting normal bodily functions.

Topical Exposure

Baking soda is generally safe for topical use on cats. It can be used in small amounts to clean fur or as a dry shampoo. However, care should be taken to ensure the cat does not lick it off and ingest it.


While baking soda is not typically harmful when inhaled in small amounts, large quantities of airborne baking soda can irritate a cat's respiratory system. This is particularly concerning for cats with pre-existing respiratory conditions like asthma.

Baking Soda in Litter Box

Baking soda is commonly used in litter boxes to control odor. Its natural deodorizing properties can help neutralize unpleasant smells, making the litter box area more pleasant for both cats and their owners. However, there are some considerations to keep in mind.

♦ Benefits of Using Baking Soda in Litter Box

1. Odor Control:
Baking soda effectively neutralizes acidic odors, which are common in cat urine. This can help keep the litter box smelling fresh for longer periods.

2. Cost-Effective:
Baking soda is an inexpensive and readily available product, making it a budget-friendly option for pet owners looking to control litter box odor.

3. Non-Toxic in Small Amounts:
When used in moderation, baking soda is generally safe and non-toxic for cats.

♦ Risks of Using Baking Soda in Litter Box

1. Ingestion Risk:
Cats may ingest baking soda when they groom themselves after using the litter box. While small amounts are unlikely to cause harm, large quantities can be toxic.

2. Respiratory Issues:
Fine baking soda particles can become airborne when the litter is disturbed, potentially causing respiratory irritation, especially in cats with asthma or other respiratory conditions.

3. Skin Irritation:
In some cases, baking soda can cause mild skin irritation if it comes into contact with a cat's paws or skin for extended periods.

How to Safely Use Baking Soda in Litter Box

To minimize risks and maximize benefits, follow these guidelines:

1. Use Sparingly:
A thin layer of baking soda at the bottom of the litter box is usually sufficient for odor control. Too much can increase the risk of ingestion and respiratory issues.

2. Mix Thoroughly:
Mix the baking soda well with the cat litter to prevent it from clumping and reduce the chances of your cat coming into direct contact with it.

3. Choose Cat-Friendly Litter:
Some cat litters are already infused with baking soda or other safe deodorizers. These products are designed to be safe for cats and may be a better option.
→Also Read: A Guide To Cat Litter Boxes

Can You Put Baking Soda in Cat Litter?

The short answer is yes, you can put baking soda in cat litter, but it should be done with caution and consideration for your cat's health and safety.

Guidelines for Adding Baking Soda to Cat Litter

1. Moderation:
Use a small amount of baking soda. Typically, one to two tablespoons of baking soda mixed thoroughly with the litter is sufficient for odor control.

2. Monitor Your Cat:
Observe your cat for any signs of irritation or discomfort after adding baking soda to the litter. If your cat shows any adverse reactions, discontinue use immediately.

3. Use High-Quality Baking Soda:
Ensure the baking soda you use is pure and free from additives, fragrances, or chemicals that could be harmful to your cat.

Alternative Odor Control Methods

If you are concerned about the potential risks of using baking soda in your cat's litter, consider these alternative methods for controlling odor:

1. Frequent Cleaning:
Regularly scooping the litter box and changing the litter can significantly reduce odors.

2. Activated Charcoal:
Activated charcoal is another natural deodorizer that can be added to cat litter for odor control.

3. Litter Box Liners:
Using litter box liners can help contain odors and make cleaning easier.

4. Air Purifiers:
Placing an air purifier near the litter box can help eliminate odors and improve air quality.


In summary, baking soda can be both beneficial and potentially harmful to cats, depending on how it is used. While it is effective for controlling litter box odor, it should be used sparingly and with caution to avoid potential health risks. Always monitor your cat for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions when introducing new substances to their environment.

When used correctly, baking soda can be a safe and cost-effective solution for maintaining a fresh-smelling litter box. However, pet owners should also consider alternative methods and products specifically designed for cats to ensure the health and well-being of their feline companions. As always, consult with your veterinarian if you have any concerns about using baking soda or any other products around your cat.

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