Is It Safe To Use Vicks Humidifiers Around Cats?

When choosing a humidifier, dehumidifier, or any other appliance, you should always find out whether it will be safe for your pets. And that is why today, as the owner of a beautiful feline, as you can see in one picture in this post, we ask: Are Vicks humidifiers safe for cats?

You may wonder: Why Vicks humidifiers in particular? Well, I guess it is because The Vicks units are designed with a scent pad to use Vicks VapoPads. But not to worry, because you can use Vicks humidifiers without VapoPads.

That is for the same reason why, in another post, I said Vicks humidifiers are safe for dogs. In the same spirit, they are safe for cats too.

Just as it is with any other appliance I have at home, I have learned that knowing how to use a device correctly gives the best results. Here, I will show you how to use a Vicks humidifier safely for your pets.

Can you use Vicks humidifier if you have cats?

are Vicks humidifiers safe for cats

Vicks humidifiers are not safe for cats—well, at least when you run them using the Vicks VapoPads. The Vicks steam comes from menthol, which is toxic to cats.

While you can use the Vicks Mister with just water, it is best to avoid buying it. After all, another person in the family might make the mistake of using the Vicks VapoPads in the scent pad.

This would be bad for the cat. For the avoidance of doubt, just get another unit, such as the Levoit humidifier, which does need to be used with scents.

But menthol is not the only scent that the Vicks VapoPads come with. They can also come with cedar leaf oil, glycol, and eucalyptus oil.

All of these are harmful to cats. It is just best that you avoid using these VapoPads altogether if you have pets at home.

Essential oils are just not safe for cats

Cats do not have the enzymes required to break down essential oils. Thus, essential oils are just not safe for cats. It is best to just use plain water in the humidifier without adding anything.

If cats ingest essential oils, it could cause serious liver damage. But even if your feline friend will not ingest the oils, even inhaling the scent of the oils is not safe.

Inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with the essential oils can cause harm to the cats. You can read a very informative article on Cats Protection website about this.

Cats are curious animals, so keeping them in the same room as a humidifier with essential oils is not advisable. They are likely to move closer and try to inhale the mist coming from the nozzle.

Thus, even when running a unit without using essential oil, place it in a room and lock it. A warm mist humidifier can scald a cat if he or she topples it over.

Even Vicks VapoRub is not safe for cats

Vicks VapoRub is not safe for cats

Vicks VapoRub is used as a topical application to help with various illnesses, like arthritis. However, when you apply it, it is advisable to stay in a different room from where your cat is.

Cats have the habit of licking your skin, so they will ingest the VapoRub. This could lead to kidney shutdown and other problems.

Most cats are attracted to the smell of VapoRub, so they are likely to lick your skin. They will easily ingest the VapoRub, and this can lead to their death.

But people also ask if Vicks is that dangerous for a cat. Why is my cat obsessed with Vicks? He or she just loves the smell. Therefore, it will try to lick your skin.

It is all cute when your cat licks your body, and makes you feel very loved. However, it is an entirely different matter when, soon after, he or she starts foaming in the mouth and falls seriously ill. While the cat might not die if you take action quickly, it can stir up quite a fright.

In the future, this could lead to kidney failure for the cat, and you do not want that to happen!

Is Vicks Vaposteam safe for cats?

Is Vicks Vaposteam safe for cats

A humidifier can cause chest tightness. If this happens, you will want to make your experience easier, and if you have a Vicks humidifier or vaporizer, you might want to use Vicks Vaposteam.

This is an essential oil product that you can add to the warm mist Vicks humidifier to help in decongesting, calming your cough, and reducing anxiety.

However, if you have pets, you might want to hold back a bit and ask yourself how the Vicks Vaposteam is going to affect them. Cats especially have a problem with essential oils, and therefore the oils that are safe for humans might not be safe for cats.

The potency of any product is usually determined by the ingredients. In the Vicks Vaposteam, the ingredients include:

  • Nutmeg
  • Camphor
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedar leaf
  • Silicone
  • Alcohol, and some chemicals

Of these ingredients, nutmeg is the most dangerous to cats. If they ingest it, it is toxic for them. When they inhale it, it can cause serious internal damage.

Nutmeg oil is dangerous for cats when inhaled or ingested. Therefore, this rules out the use of Vaposteam in the vicinity of your cats.

Other ingredients, such as menthol, are not good for cats. If the cat inhales the menthol, it is not bad for it. However, if it ingests the scent packs containing menthol, it can cause serious damage.

Some of the nasty side effects that a cat can sustain when exposed to Vaposteam include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Fast heart rate
  • Stomach pains
  • Disorientation and craziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Hallucinations

To prevent such side effects from affecting your cat, it is best not to use Vaposteam or other essential oils in the presence of cats.

What type of humidifier is best for cats?

Apart from the warm mist units and the humidifiers that use scented oils, you can use almost all the others for cats, dogs, and other pets.

A cool mist humidifier is good for the cats. However, in the same way, you would place a dehumidifier higher from the floor, even for a humidifier, keep it elevated, and keep it away from the reach of the cats.

A cool mist humidifier uses a wick to absorb water from the tank, and then a fan blows the water into tiny droplets, which the unit disperses into the room as mist. Since there is no risk of scalding the cat, such units are perfect.

You could also use an ultrasonic cool mist humidifier. Such a unit has a diaphragm that vibrates over the water, turning it into tiny droplets that are then blown into the room as mist. However, be careful not to use tap water in the humidifier.

Ultrasonic units are notorious for leaving humidifier dust behind on your surfaces. Therefore, use distilled water in the unit or use humidifier tablets to prevent the formation of white dust.

You can use the best small humidifiers for cats, dogs, and most other pets, apart from pet fish, since the fish tank acts as a humidifier.

How to use Vicks humidifier if you have a cat

If the Vicks humidifier is the only unit you have at home, you can still use it safely even if you have a cat. However, you would have to be more cautious than when using another humidifier.

First, keep the essential oils for the humidifier out of reach. You should not even use an essential oil diffuser in the same room as a cat.

Make sure you use the Vicks unit without the Vicks VapoPads. If you do that, it will work with plain water and produce mist that is safe for your family and your cats.

If you worry that the Vicks unit is failing to work without the VapoPads, don’t worry. It will work just fine. It can work with the VapoPads or without them, without missing a beat.

Furthermore, it is not only the Vicks humidifiers that have scent pads for aromatherapy. Many others come with such functionality. If you have such a unit, use it without the essential oil to keep your cat safe.

This also means you should not use essential oil diffusers because the cat will inhale the EO, and it could lead to kidney shutdown.


Warm mist Vicks humidifiers are not safe for cats because they have heating elements that boil water. Thus, if the unit topples over, the hot water could scald your cat and even cause it to die.

And that is not the only danger. Cats cannot synthesize essential oils. Thus, inhaling such can cause kidney failure quickly. To prevent that, it is best to avoid using the Vicks VapoPads in your unit at all.

Just as high humidity is not safe for humans, it is also not safe for your cat. Therefore, avoid using the humidifier for too long.

High humidity can cause mold, which could in turn cause mold-exposure symptoms in your family and pets.