Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Is acrylic paint safe for cats? That’s the question we’ll answer in this article! It’s a popular paint medium for artists, with a wide range of colors. Both beginners and experienced painters use it. But could it be toxic for cats? Let’s investigate!

Is Acrylic Paint Toxic To Cats?
Is acrylic paint toxic to cats?

Types of Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints are made from synthetic pigments consisting of acrylic resin and a polymer emulsion. There are various types for different surfaces and artwork. All acrylic paints contain compounds that can be toxic if ingested or inhaled, so it is important to use the right type and take safety precautions.

The most common type is water-based. It has tiny plastic beads suspended in a liquid emulsion of pigment, copolymer acrylates, and surfactants. It can be applied with brushes or sprayed on canvas, paper, or wood. It usually dries quickly but is unsuitable for porous surfaces like fabric.

Solvent-based acrylic paints use a resin-like chemical compound. It provides an oil-free finish and higher durability. It also dries slower due to resins that lower evaporation rates. It can be used on most surfaces but not on fabrics.

Airbrush or aerosol spray paints are used for airbrushing techniques. They work well on canvas artworks and mural paintings. They have finely ground pigments in a solution that can be sprayed quickly and evenly with minimal overspray. However, this type should never be used indoors without protective measures.

Safety Considerations

Safety is always key when using acrylic paint. It’s not toxic to cats, but they can have an allergic reaction. If a cat comes into contact with it, it can be unpleasant. To help keep cats safe, cover the painted area and keep them away.

When done painting, seal used containers tightly and wash brushes outdoors for ventilation. After the painting is complete, regularly test surfaces with a pet-safe cleaning solution designed for pet hair removal and stain removal. That way, all paint particles can be removed.

Potential Health Risks

Symptoms Of Paint Toxicity In Cats
Symptoms of paint toxicity in cats

Cats can get exposed to the toxins in acrylic paint in many ways. Since cats groom themselves and anything on their fur, they are at risk. Also, if a cat inhales particles from the paint, it can cause health risks. What are these health risks? Let’s explore:

  • Risk of ingesting the paint
  • Risk of inhaling the paint fumes
  • Risk of skin irritation from contact with the paint

Ingestion of Acrylic Paint

Ingestion of acrylic paint can be life-threatening for your cat. Stomach and intestinal irritation, vomiting, and diarrhea can result if swallowed. Some types of acrylic paint are toxic even when wet due to the low pH level. Cats often lick surfaces to clean themselves, so make sure art supplies are out of reach.

If your cat has ingested acrylic paint, seek medical attention quickly. Symptoms may worsen over time. Your vet may recommend the following:

  • Intubation
  • Fluid IV to expel toxins
  • Antibiotics or other medications

Inhalation of Acrylic Paint

Inhaling acrylic paint—whether it’s an accident or not—can be risky for cats. It contains VOCs, like formaldehyde and styrene, which are bad for breathing. This can cause asthma, bronchitis, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Long-term exposure? That can even lead to cancer and kidney disease.

If they inhale it accidentally, move them to fresh air quickly. If they swallowed it on purpose, get help. This can harm their organs: liver, kidneys, and brain.

People who work with acrylic paints around cats should make sure there’s good ventilation. This reduces the chances of the paint fumes being inhaled.

Skin Contact with Acrylic Paint

Cats and acrylic paint don’t mix. The paint contains VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as styrene, toluene, formaldehyde, xylene and phthalates. These can be toxic when inhaled and cause itchy skin and dermatitis. Symptoms of exposure include red eyes, breathing difficulty, nausea, vomiting and feeling unwell.

To prevent harm, keep cats away from containers of acrylic paints until they are cured and sealed. Also, keep all containers securely closed to stop cats from drinking from them. If signs of illness occur, consult a vet immediately.

Prevention and Treatment

Got a kitty who’s licked acrylic paint? Seek vet help right away! Acrylic paint isn’t deadly, but it can still irritate. So, let’s avoid it. Plus, here are some tips if your cat has already ingested it:

  • Monitor your cat’s behavior.
  • Look out for signs of discomfort or distress.
  • If your cat experiences vomiting, diarrhea, or loss of appetite, contact your vet immediately.
  • Consider giving your cat activated charcoal to help absorb the paint.

Keeping Cats Away from Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint can be hazardous to your cats if ingested. Keep cats away from acrylic paint and any other harmful substances. Lock up or store all paint supplies out of reach. When painting a room, close and lock the door. Clean and dry surfaces and tools completely after finishing.

Place signs around areas where acrylic paints are used to remind people to check for cats. Provide alternative scratching materials for cats. Be aware of acute health risks and signs that cats have been exposed to, such as vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, excessive drooling, and pawing at their mouth or face. If exposed, seek immediate medical attention from a qualified veterinarian.

Treatment for Acrylic Paint Ingestion

If your cat has ingested acrylic paint, call Poison Control or take them to a vet quickly! Treatment will depend on the amount of paint they ate and other symptoms. It could involve activated charcoal to absorb toxins, fluids, laxatives, and antibiotics. Surgery might be needed to remove paint from the stomach or intestines in severe cases. Not treating paint ingestion can cause kidney failure or death in cats. The prognosis depends on their age, health, and how much was eaten.

Attend follow-up appointments with the vet to monitor the treatment plan.

Acrylic Paint With Additives
Acrylic paint with additives

Treatment for Acrylic Paint Inhalation

If your cat has inhaled acrylic paint, it is urgent to seek medical help. Symptoms can be mild or severe, depending on how much paint was inhaled and the type of paint. Your vet might give antibiotics or other medicines to treat any secondary infections or diseases caused by inhalation. Oxygen therapy and corticosteroids can reduce breathing difficulty and inflammation in the airways. Your cat may also need extra nutrition, as breathing problems can make it hard to process food.

Removing contamination from fur and skin is important for recovery. Your vet will prescribe a medicated shampoo or wash. Bandaging open wounds around the mouth or nose should be done before bringing them home.


The outcome? Acrylic paint can be toxic for cats. To stay safe, don’t let them come into contact with it. If they do, wash it off right away. And if they eat it, take them to the vet! Though it doesn’t harm the environment, there are still safer products for cats.

Summary of Acrylic Paint and Cats

Acrylic paint is great for crafts and art. But beware when pets are around. Cats and other animals may be affected by toxic materials. Acrylic paint is usually safe for cats, yet any ingestion should be monitored. Do not use acrylics on surfaces. Cats can chew or lick. If ingestion occurs, contact your vet.

To stay safe, use non-toxic paints and cover finished projects with a sealant, like shellac or a varnish. So, with proper precautions, acrylic paint can be used around cats. Don’t leave paint unattended. Clean up any spilled paint. Also, use a protective sealant to ensure cats can’t get to it!

Tips for Safely Using Acrylic Paint with Cats

It is important to be careful when using acrylic paint around cats. Both wet and dried paint can be toxic if ingested. So, store supplies in a safe place.

Ensure that the area you are painting in is well-ventilated. Avoid shabby brushes as they contain particles that can harm pets. Wear protective gear when painting with acrylics. The fumes can linger and be hazardous.

Supervise your cat during painting sessions. Keep them away from rented spaces where harsh chemicals have been used. This will help avoid potential harm.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any non-toxic paint options for cats?

Yes, there are non-toxic paint options available for cats. These include non-toxic water-based paints, natural clay-based paints, and non-toxic pet-safe spray paints. It is best to check the paint’s label for any warnings or instructions for use.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when using acrylic paint around cats?

It is important to take safety precautions when using acrylic paint around cats. It is recommended to keep cats away from the area while painting and to clean up any spills or drips immediately. It is also important to keep the paint out of cats’ reach and dispose of any unused paint properly.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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