Can Cats Lick Salt Lamps?

Salt lamps are a popular piece of home decour that have found their way into many people’s living spaces. Unfortunately, they can pose a real health risk to your pets, especially cats.

Cats may start licking salt lamps out of habit because they like the taste. You shouldn’t let this happen as they can quickly eat too much salt and suffer from salt poisoning. This can lead to your cat suffering from a number of health complications and even death.

Should I have a salt lamp if I have cats?

Salt lamps can cause problems around pets but is that really a reason not to have one at all? Its up to you to make your own decision based on the behaviour of your cat. However, if you don’t want to introduce any unnecessary risk for your indoor cats at all you shouldn’t have a salt lamp in the house.

Most cats will probably normally ignore salt lamps, but if they ever discover that they are a free source of tasty salt they might get addicted to licking your lamp. Salt has no smell so it will take a particularly curious or mischievous cat to make this discovery by accident. However, when it does happen things can quickly go bad for your cat.  

Salt is one of the few flavours that cats can actually taste and enjoy. Like us, they need salt in their diet to function properly. Also like us, they can struggle with stopping themselves from eating flavours that they find tasty.  

Keeping a salt lamp in the same house as your cat is low risk but high danger. There’s a low chance anything will go wrong but if it does your cat can have serious health complications.

What happens if my cat licks a salt lamp?

If you catch your cat licking your salt lamp just a few times, chances are that will be okay. Cats that regularly lick salt lamps or eat too much salt in one session can suffer from salt toxicity.

It won’t take much salt for salt poisoning to affect your cat. The average cat should only have 21 milli grams of salt per day and  most cat foods already have more than that. Even a couple of licks an be enough to push your cat over the edge of a safe intake of salt and regular licking will make things worse.

Low amounts of salt toxicity will cause vomiting, diarhhea, and excessive thirst. More extreme symptoms you may see in a cat that has been licking a salt lamp for a long time are a lack of energy, lower appetite, seizures. Cats can even go into a coma if they have eaten too much salt. If your cat is displaying any symptoms at all you should contact your vet to protect them from further harm. You may even be saving their life if things have gone too far.  

How to stop a cat from licking a salt lamp

If you want to protect your cat from getting sick by eating your salt lamp there are a couple of things you can try. Keep in mind if none of these work your best solution will unfortunately be to get rid of your lamp.

Cats can be deterred from some areas by using strong smells. Cats’ noses are much more sensitive than ours so something that smells strongly to us can be overwhelmingly powerful to a cat. Putting some indoor plants like lavender or rosemary around your lamp might be able to deter them from approaching. We wouldn’t recommend using strong smelling essential oils on your salt lamp. If they don’t successfully ward your cat away, your cat will end up eating the oils which can be even more toxic than the salt.

More simply, you can try to put your lamp out of reach of your cat. This is difficult advice to give as cats are normally masters of climbing all around the house and very few places are safe from them. Nested shelves or closed rooms might be your best options.

Summary

You shouldn’t let your cat lick a salt lamp as they will likely turn it into a habit and get some level of salt poisoning. Mild symptoms of salt poising will hurt for your cat and higher levels can be lethal.