Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats? – Health Benefits and Safety Tips

Here we explain everything you need to know about humidifiers and their impacts on cats. Plus, a tutorial on how to choose the best humidifiers for them.
Carolina Evans
Carolina Evans
Research Writer
Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s ho read more
Reviewed By
Richard Powell
Richard Powell
Expert Consultant
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may read more
Last updated: September 15, 2023 is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

When the cold weather strikes and you have to turn on the furnace, the humidity levels in your home rise. This then results in dry and itchy skin and even more annoying, blocked nasal passages or a runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, fever, and sometimes loss of appetite. You also start feeling lethargic, and your productivity decreases. What you may not know is that high humidity levels also impact your cats, severely decreasing their comfort.

You’re probably wondering, “are humidifiers safe for cats?” Unlike humans, when a cat starts sneezing, we can’t simply give them cold medication and get them to rest. You have to visit a vet to determine the correct diagnosis, which can be expensive. If you’re thinking of getting the best humidifier for your home that will also be safe for your cat, we’ve compiled a complete guide for you. Keep reading to find out!

Why use a humidifier in your home

According to the BBC Trusted Source BBC Earth | Home Welcome to BBC Earth, a place to explore the natural world through awe-inspiring documentaries, podcasts, stories and more. , cats aren’t as emotionally distant as we think they are. They can pick up on how you’re feeling, which is why they make such amazing pets. This is also why they deserve nothing but the best treatment. If you’re unsure of whether you should get a humidifier for your home, here are several reasons why you should get one.

First things first: what is the main role of a humidifier?

Humidifiers are devices that add moisture to the air to reduce the dryness that comes with low humidity levels. They prevent the impact of dry air such as dry skin and runny noses and usually ease the symptoms of the flu.

Dry air can also cause mold and mildew growth which is highly harmful. Depending on where you’re located, controlling the humidity levels is not always easy, which is where humidifiers come into play. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency Trusted Source Mold Course Chapter 2: | US EPA This chapter provides information on mold growth, and moisture, humidity, and ventilation problems that can cause molds to grow in your building. , you should always keep your humidity levels below 60%.

The main benefits of using a humidifier in your home include:

  1. It helps alleviate the symptoms of flu such as coughs, nose bleeds, and dry & itchy throat.
  2. It helps loosen nasal congestion. When you get sick, the cells found in your respiratory tract lining start producing a lot of mucus, and when it dries, it becomes sticky and difficult to expel. Humidifiers moisten the nasal passage and prevent the mucus from drying.
  3. It prevents snoring when you have the flu by ensuring you don’t experience nasal congestion. This is especially helpful if you have sleep apnea.
  4. It prevents dry skin. Low humidity draws out the moisture from your skin, causing it to dry out and become itchy. Humidifiers increase the amount of moisture in the air, countering this effect.
  5. It slows down the spread of germs. When humidity levels are high, the influenza infectivity rate reduces. This is because these germs thrive in dry conditions.
  6. It keeps your hair and scalp healthy. Don’t you just hate it when your hair dries out due to low humidity levels? This then causes your scalp to itch, and after a while, you develop dandruff. When humidifiers increase the moisture in the air, they keep your scalp healthy and protect your hair from drying out and ultimately becoming brittle.

Humidifiers also help you breathe better, ensuring you have a good night’s rest. Contrary to what you may think, the benefits of using humidifiers aren’t solely restricted to your health. They also benefit your home by;

  • Protecting the houseplants from shriveling up due to dry air.
  • They cost less than a heating system, ultimately saving you on energy bills.
  • They protect your wooden floors from cracking or splitting due to low levels of humidity.
  • They prevent static electricity from building up.

Types of humidifiers

There are 5 main types of humidifiers. Even though all of them have different functionalities, they all have one main role; to increase the amount of humidity in your home. They include:

Ultrasonic humidifiers

Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats? - Health Benefits and Safety Tips

These types of humidifiers are versatile and have both cold and warm mist options available. They are available in various sizes and designs and use ultrasonic vibrations to produce mist. These vibrations are usually at a very high frequency that is beyond our hearing capabilities.

Based on popular opinion, the Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier is one of the best in this category. It has a 6-liter water reservoir capacity, which means you can use it in large rooms, including your bedroom. This humidifier has an aromatherapy feature which means you can use your preferred essential oils to leave your rooms smelling fresh. It’s one of the most silent devices on the market and also comes with a display-off feature that minimizes the number of distractions you experience at night.

The Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier comes with a convenient remote control that allows you to make adjustments from the comfort of your bed. You can also set the timer between 1 and 12 hours, after which it will automatically shut down.

Perhaps the most interesting feature about this device is the auto mode that uses an inbuilt humidity sensor to automatically adjust the amount of mist produced. This feature enhances the efficiency of the device and ensures that the highest settings are only reserved for low humidity levels.


These types of humidifiers produce mist by blowing air through moisturized filters. They are usually very affordable, but they come with one major drawback; they can cause excessive humidity if left unchecked, which can trigger mold growth.

Impeller humidifiers

These humidifiers depend on high-speed rotating disks to distribute moisture into the atmosphere. They are safe & kid-friendly, but their overuse can trigger asthma and allergic reactions.

Steam vaporizer

Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats? - Health Benefits and Safety Tips

These devices first heat water using electric current, cool it down, and then distribute it into the atmosphere. They are usually portable and are the most affordable option. They are, however, risky as they can cause burns which is why we recommend that you don’t use them if you have children or pets in the house.

Central humidifiers

These humidifiers are the most expensive option and are connected to your home HVAC system. This ensures that all your rooms are at optimal humidity levels, as opposed to one room as is with the other humidifiers.

You can also use different humidifiers based on how they expel moisture; cool mist humidifiers, warm mist humidifiers, and a hybrid of the two; cool and warm mist humidifiers.

Cool mist humidifiers generally use less electricity and are a kid-friendly option as they don’t contain hot water. They are, however, noisy and can cause the air to feel a little chill.

Warm mist humidifiers, on the other hand, are quieter, often eliminate bacteria in the water through boiling, and are great for small areas. They are, however, a burn hazard and are often difficult to clean. Cool and warm mist humidifiers combine the best of both worlds, which is why they are the most preferred option.

If you already have a humidifier, you should consider getting an antibacterial treatment. According to popular reviews, the Guardian Technologies GGHS15 Aquastick Antimicrobial Humidifier Treatment is the best. It’s easy to use, can help you fight mold growth, and you only need one antibacterial stick.

How to choose the best humidifier for cats?

Humidifiers are safe for cats, but you need to choose the best type. We recommend that you use a cool-mist humidifier and place it in your fur baby’s favorite room. If they had already started displaying symptoms associated with dry air, you should begin to notice improvement after a few days.

Stay away from warm mist humidifiers. Keep in mind that cats are highly curious, and they will likely spend a lot of time around the humidifier. They are also very playful and may end up accidentally tipping over the device and end up burning themselves. You should also go for relatively quiet humidifiers because cats are sensitive to noise.

Before you buy a humidifier, you should look out for specifications such as;

  1. Size: it’s tempting to go for the largest humidifier, but you should go for the smallest one you should find but of high quality. You can bet that your cat will inspect the device when you bring it home, and you don’t want anything that can hurt them even when they topple it over.
  2. Cold mist humidifier: in addition to being the safer option for the cat, they also improve the overall quality of their fur coat by providing them heat relief.
  3. Noise level: always go for a quiet humidifier. Loud ones will only act as a distraction and cause your cat stress.
  4. Sturdiness: buy a humidifier that will still remain upright even after your cat tries to tip it over.
  5. Ability to program: not unless you work from home, you should buy a programmable humidifier as this will allow you to set the optimal humidity levels when your cat is alone.

How to use a humidifier around cats?

Are Humidifiers Safe for Cats? - Health Benefits and Safety Tips

Here are some quick tips for using humidifiers around cats:

  • Place the humidifier in an inaccessible area to your cat to prevent them from tipping it over or harming themselves.
  • Avoid using essential oils. Keep in mind that a cat’s sense of smell is more than 10 times higher than that of a human. What you may consider a mild scent could be extremely stressful to your cat.
  • You can run a humidifier all night long but ensure the water levels don’t drop significantly.
  • Make sure you provide your cat with a cozy place to sleep near the humidifier.
  • When you’re no longer using the humidifier, unplug the device and store it away safely.
  • If the symptoms still persist even after you get a humidifier, you should consult a vet.

Final Thoughts

Are humidifiers safe for cats? This is an age-old question, and the truth is, cats are as sensitive to dry air as we are. When you’re choosing a humidifier for your cat, make sure you go for a cool-mist variety that’s quiet and sturdy. It should preferably be small and programmable to ensure optimal humidity is maintained even when you’re not around.


BBC Earth | Home
Welcome to BBC Earth, a place to explore the natural world through awe-inspiring documentaries, podcasts, stories and more.
Mold Course Chapter 2: | US EPA
This chapter provides information on mold growth, and moisture, humidity, and ventilation problems that can cause molds to grow in your building.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *