Have you ever gotten a jolt of ‘cat-tricity’? In winter especially, cat fur builds up a static charge, made all the worse when you shuffle across a carpet to pet your little one. Suddenly, several causes have just combined to give both of you a shock you won’t soon forget.
Winter air is often dry, and indoor heating makes the home even more dry. Anything below 40% relative humidity sets the stage for an electrostatic charge of energy that leaps onto another conductive object in its proximity. Cats conduct a good, solid charge. On cold, dry days you might even hear his coat crackle.
If you pet your cat or try to pick him up while his fur is really dry, you can be causing rippling static that perhaps you don’t feel, but it is racing across his body like lightning. He may become angry and lash out. Watch for mood changes as a clue. He might be accidentally shocking himself all day long.
Here’s what you can do to help reduce the friction:
- Get a humidifier or a room vaporizer. These put more moisture back into the air.
- Take showers to stay moisturized and to moisturize the air nearby.
- Get ionic anti-static hairbrushes for you and for kitty.
- Use blankets, bedding and clothing made of wool or cotton instead of polyester or silk.
- Cats may love polyester microfleece or sherpa for kneading, but these blankets are static-prone. Try spraying a light water mist on them.
- Wear rubber-soled sneakers to keep from building a static charge as you walk on carpeting.
- Give kitty a gentle rubdown with a damp washcloth.
- Some pet stores have non-toxic cat spray conditioners that can be combed into their fur.
- Before petting the cat, dampen your hands, put on hand lotion, or touch a wooden or cloth surface to discharge the static you may have built up.
- Add cat-specific Omega3 oil to your cat’s diet to help with his dry skin and coat from the inside.
- Do NOT use dryer sheets on your cat. They contain a corrosive substance that can burn the eyes and skin and cause death if the chemical is licked or ingested.
Heron’s Crossing provides end-of-life care for pets in the Metro Atlanta area. In-home appointments with compassionate vets are available. If you’d prefer a home-like setting away from your home, our Decatur office is also available by appointment.