Why Is My Cat Staticy?

Cat is staticy while sleeping in his bed

We all love cuddling with our felines; the affectionate nature of animals is one of the best parts of having a pet. But have you ever started petting your cat and felt a shock? Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can take all the fun out of your snuggles.

Your cat becomes staticy when static electricity builds up in its fur. The most common cause for this is a low humidity level in the air which dries everything out. As you go to pet your cat, the friction between your hand and their fur builds the charge, and you both experience a slight shock.

Continue reading to examine the reasons why static electricity builds up in your cat’s fur, whether or not it is harmful to you or them, and what you can do to reduce it.

What Is Static Electricity?

Everything in the universe possesses positive and negative charges. Static electricity can occur any time two objects with different charges come into contact with each other.

Negative charges enjoy moist places such as the human body (which is up to 60% water). When the air is damp or humid, these charges attach to any number of objects. But, during winter (or other times when the air is dry), these negative charges look for a suitable candidate they can cling to.

Whenever we touch an object or brush against material such as carpet and curtains, we build up the negative charges on our bodies. And the same goes for your feline. When they play with toys and roll around on the carpet, they build up negative charges in their fur.

If one of you has a buildup of negative charges, which is out of balance with the other, you can experience a shock as you touch and quite literally transfer the charge onto the other one.

Why Does Static Electricity Gather In My Cat’s Fur?

The leading cause for the static fur of your cat is a lack of humidity in their surrounding environment. As you pet them, you add friction that can build up the charge, causing a shock to you and your cat.

During winter, this may become even more of an issue, thanks to the heating systems in your home. These heaters can reduce your home’s humidity and dry out the air.

Why Do I Get A Shock When I Stroke My Cat?

When the air is cold and humidity is low, static quickly builds up in your cat’s fur. When that fur comes into contact with an object possessing a different charge, the imbalance causes a transfer of energy, which you both experience as a “shock.”

If you stroke your cat, the friction works to increase the charge and can result in a more substantial shock.

Do Some Cats Get More Staticy Than Others?

Some cats do experience static more than others, which most commonly relates to the length of their coat. In general, cats with longer fur will experience a more considerable static buildup than their short-haired counterparts.

Does A Static Shock Hurt My Cat?

Many humans aren’t too bothered by static shocks, but they can feel far more unpleasant to your cat and may even be painful for them. 

Most likely, it will create a mildly unpleasant feeling that surprises or annoys your feline rather than hurting them.

How Can I Reduce The Amount Of Static Electricity In My Cats Fur?

If you want to get rid of the static in your cat’s fur, there are several methods you can try, from changing the environment to using a product directly on their fur.

One of the biggest causes of static buildup is a humid environment, so it only makes sense that raising the humidity in your home would be a great way to combat static buildup. A hygrometer will help you keep track of the humidity level, while a humidifier can help you to raise it.

If this doesn’t reduce the static in your cat’s fur, you can try some direct methods on your cat. Using a quality shampoo or conditioner on your feline helps add moisture to their fur, which has a long-term effect.

To reduce the static of your cat’s fur, you don’t need to increase the frequency of your cat’s bathtime; you just need to focus on moisturizing their fur. Keep in mind the breed and fur type of your cat to select the right shampoo.

You can also try an anti-static spray to reduce the amount of static in your cat’s fur. But there are some drawbacks to this method. If you spray your cat, you will need to brush it soon afterward, or you may tangle or mat their fur.

The other problem is that when your cat licks their fur, they may inadvertently ingest whatever chemicals are in the product. For this reason, you’ll need to check which ingredients are used and that they are safe for your feline.

How Can I Prevent A Static Shock?

If you’re struggling to reduce the amount of static in your cat’s fur, don’t worry, there are still a few tips and tricks to minimize the risk of you shocking each other.

You can wet your hands before touching your cat. This minimizes the shock but can cause their fur to tangle if you do it too frequently.

Alternatively, you can use a moisturizer on your hands to soften your skin and reduce the friction between you and your cat’s fur. Again, check the label before allowing any human products such as moisturizers to come into contact with your cat.

You can’t prevent all static shocks, but you can reduce the buildup and effect by maximizing the humidity of your home and the health of your feline’s fur.

Are There Any Natural Methods For Reducing The Static In My Cat’s Fur?

Natural products such as coconut oil can help keep your cat’s coat shiny while being safe for them to ingest in small quantities.

You can also use Omega-3 to make your cat’s coat more fully and shiny. These fatty acids treat dry skin, reducing the amount of static while helping with their general health and wellbeing.

Omega-rich foods include salmon, mackerel, trout, or fish oil, and these can keep your cat’s joints healthy and reduce the risk and effects of arthritis.

How Can I Reduce The Static On My Cat’s Bed?

Did you know that synthetic fabrics contribute to the accumulation of static charge? Swap synthetic fibers, such as polyester, for natural ones like wool or linen, and you may notice a change in the amount of static that builds up in your cat’s fur.

Can I Use A Dryer Sheet To Reduce The Static In My Cat’s Fur?

We use dryer sheets to get rid of the static in our clothes, so it stands to reason that they would be an excellent method for alleviating your cat of their staticy fur, right? 

Wrong. Dryer sheets contain corrosive elements such as cationic detergents, which can cause serious health issues in pets. These non-ionic compounds can cause vomiting, seizures, burns, weakness, and in extreme cases, coma.

Should your cat come into contact with a dryer sheet, monitor them for at least 48 hours and call a vet immediately if they develop any of the above symptoms.

Top Tips To Reduce The Amount Of Static In Your Cats Fur

  • Invest in a humidifier to place in the room where your feline spends the most time (commonly the living room). Running the humidifier helps to discharge electricity into the environment and reduce the amount of static buildup.
  • Use a moist cloth to gently stroke your cat with; this will help discharge the static in their fur. Remember, if you wet your cat’s fur be sure to brush it so that you avoid mats and tangles/
  • Use a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner when you bathe your cat. This can give your cat’s fur a long-lasting shine, which helps to reduce the amount of accumulated static.
  • Avoid using a plastic brush on your cat’s fur and swap to a metal version instead.
  • For any products (such as blankets or beds) that your cat uses, look for natural materials such as wool or cotton, which are less likely to transmit static charges.
  • Add Omega-3 fatty acids to your cat’s diet to aid in healthy skin and fur and prevent any dry patches.

In essence, there are two main steps to reducing the static in your cat’s fur. Firstly, keep as much humidity in their environment as possible, and secondly, provide them with all the products they need to maintain a healthy and shiny coat.

Final Thoughts

Your cat becomes staticy because of dry fur and a lack of humidity in the air. While static shocks are unlikely to cause any significant harm to your feline, they are certainly unpleasant and can hamper the bonding time between the two of you.

Invest in a humidifier to increase the moisture in your environment, or try some natural products such as coconut oil or omega-3 to provide your cat with shinier fur that’s less susceptible to static buildup.

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