Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats?

by Jayley
Is Acrylic Paint Toxic to Cats

Cats are the perfect pets for people who are more likely to organize the whole house. This is mainly because felines are known for sleeping all day in their spots. They will not even bother welcoming you when you come home from work because that’s their nature. However, they are curious creatures.

So if new things like painting materials (e.g. acrylic paint, brushes, canvases) are brought into the house, they may look into them. Is acrylic paint toxic to cats and what will happen if your cats at home come across such material?

paint on cats paws

Is Acrylic Paint Harmful to Cats?

Generally, acrylic paint is not toxic to cats or any pets ever. Provided, however, that they will only lick a small amount. You will only need to worry when they ingested more than a tablespoon of paint. This will harm their digestive system.

Acrylic paint is known for its non-toxicity because it is water-based and the acrylic only acts as the binder. They are still inedible however, they do not smell like the other kinds of paints that are less expensive but will leave a distinct smell.

This kind of paint is very popular, even to cat owners, mainly because it can be dissolved by water when it is still wet so you can wash off the splashes from your feline. But, it can get very hard to remove when it is already dry because of its water-resistant characteristic.

This kind of paint gets to be toxic to cats only when it’s used through an airbrush machine and when it’s getting sanded. Your feline friends will inhale all the small particles and may clog their noses or mess up with their mucus membranes after a long time of exposure.

So when your cats have ingested a large amount of acrylic paint, make sure to do first aid (steps will be discussed below) and bring them to the nearest veterinary clinic for medical help.

Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Cat Paws?

Acrylic paint is safe when painted on children’s hands so it’s also safe to accidentally put paint on cat paws. Unlike the former, you don’t put paint on your furry friend just because it’s fun. The main reason is their curiosity and clumsiness. They may come across your painting materials and messed them up resulting in paws being colored in bright red or hot pink.

The only problem you don’t want to happen is when your cat roams around your house with its colored paws. You might come home to a rainbow village unintentionally. However, this kind of paint can be cleaned or removed easily. Acrylic paint is water-soluble so before the paw prints are completely dry, you can wash them off with water.

To completely remove the paint from your cat’s paws, the most basic and obvious way to do it is to use soap and water. Gently lift one paw at a time and scrub them carefully so your feline will not squiggle and run. You may also see some paint that is hard to remove and with that, you can try to remove it using your hand or you can use a scraper.

When the acrylic paint is already dry, you can still remove it using the same method but you need to get those little paws first. Acrylic paint needs to be softened before scraping to prevent hurting your furry friend.

What Happens if a Cat Drinks Paint Water?

There is nothing to worry about when your cat drinks paint water. Researchers have mentioned in a study that cats love to drink more from random water sources than their bowls in their sweet spots at home.

When they consume so little and only once, you don’t need to bring them right away to the local veterinary clinic. You can still observe possible side effects if it satisfies your concern.

However, things will not be the same when your cat drinks paint water every single day. This is the time that you need to get concerned and might need medical help because even though acrylic paint is not toxic, it is still not edible. You will notice that your cats will have an itchy nose or throat when the paint already affected their body.

To prevent this, make sure to properly store your painting materials. When you are not using the brush and paint or if you are not in the area where they are, put them away. This is true especially with the paint water that you keep on leaving on the floor behind. You have to be responsible enough as a cat owner to make sure that your furry friend will not have access to things that might harm them.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out of Paint Toxicity in Cats?

These are the signs and symptoms that you should watch out for when your cat at home excessively inhaled or ingested acrylic paint and paint fumes:


The first thing you will notice when cats get poisoned by acrylic paint or any paint, in general, is that they will puke a lot. You will either hear them puking air or puking liquidy substance that might contain the paint they ingested for a very long time.


When a cat is potty-trained, this might be easier to manage. Instead of covering the whole house with paper or caging the cat, you can just set up the potty station in the regular spot. But put something under because things coming out of them will not be the same as the regular ones.

Difficulty in Breathing

This is especially true when they inhaled paint fumes from airbrushing and sanding. The particles of the acrylic paint might cover up their noses or air passages or worse, have gotten to their lungs. This is a very critical state for cats and you should bring them to an emergency veterinary clinic as soon as possible.

Excessive Salivation

They may also experience excessive salivation or drooling. At first, you will find it normal for them to drool from time to time. However, when you notice that saliva is coming out of their mouths all day long, you need to act on it.


Another unusual sign or symptom that you will see when your cat is intoxicated with acrylic paint is when they suddenly have tremors. This is a very severe situation that might happen and this is due to the excessive amount of paint they ingested. You don’t have control over it so bringing them to the veterinary doctors for help is the best thing you can do.

How to Remove Acrylic Paint From Your Cat’s Body?

The less stressful (for cats) and less harmful way of removing acrylic paint from your cat’s body is to use warm water and dish soap. This is a proven way to make sure that the body will get cleaned properly without using any expensive cat-cleaning agents.

Pour warm water into a small bathtub or a sink if warm water is available in the tap, then soak your cat’s body. After some time, get dish soap and gently lather it into their body making sure to remove the paint residues.

A reminder that you should bear in mind is to never wash your cat’s head and face because this will irritate them. This may even cause a disastrous bath time so be very careful. After massaging the dish soap or cat shampoo if you have one, scoop small amounts of warm water into their body using your hands.

Final Thoughts

Is acrylic paint toxic to cats? Is acrylic paint poisonous? It depends. But the safest answer to keep you proactive in preventing your cat from getting intoxicated with paint is YES. You don’t need to wait for them to ingest a lot to believe that it’s toxic. Make sure that all your painting materials cannot be accessed by your feline friends.

You Might Also Like