Is Watercolor Paint Toxic To Cats?

  • By: Artistic Bees
  • Time to read: 5 min.
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When you have a pet, it can be tough to practice a hobby, especially painting. Domestic animals, in particular, lack the senses to judge what is or is not dangerous to their bodies. As a pet owner, you must always be careful to avoid leaving items lying around. After all, it takes less than a few minutes for an accident to occur.

Watercolor paints are typically non-toxic. Watercolor in small or diluted amounts will generally not cause much harm to your pets. However, if consumed in excessive amounts, it can lead to your cat or dog having nausea or digestive issues. These symptoms are usually not severe and should go away in a day or two.

If you are reading this article, it is likely that a little accident has you worried and googling, is watercolor paint toxic to cats? Thankfully, there is no major reason to panic. Watercolors are pretty harmless to a cat’s digestive system. However, there are some minor side-effects and details that you, as a cat owner and painter, may need to know.

Are Watercolor Paints Toxic To Cats?

To know if watercolor paints are toxic to cats, we must first understand the toxin index of these types of paints. Watercolors consist of a water base with low pigments and added chemicals. For this reason, they are known as the most non-toxic type of paint among artists. However, this does not mean watercolors do not consist of any toxins at all.

When manufacturers make and sell watercolors as “non-toxic,” they do not mean that watercolors have no dangerous chemicals or toxins at all. What it does mean is that the level of chemicals or toxins in watercolors is extremely low. These paints are usually sold under the label that they are harmless to humans or pets if consumed in small amounts.

The digestive systems of all mammals, be it humans or animals, have the necessary immunity cells to fight off the weak toxins of watercolors. Thus, accidental consumption of small amounts of watercolor paint will not cause too much harm to any mammal. However, consuming watercolors in large amounts can cause some minor indigestion issues.

If your cat has consumed a significant amount of watercolor paint, you may find it suffering from nausea, diarrhea, or stomach pains. In some severe cases, the cat may also show symptoms of skin rashes. These symptoms are usually not that serious and will likely go away in a day or two.

Aside from directly eating or drinking watercolors, your cat may also react to touching the paint. Dried-up watercolors can be more dangerous than when they are wet. If small paint flakes from a brush or palette get into your cat’s fur or nostrils, they may end up having an allergic reaction and developing skin rashes. These symptoms are mostly harmless and should go away in a few days.

What To Do If Your Cat Digests Watercolor Paint?

If your cat has already consumed or digested watercolor paint, then the easiest solution is to wait for them to pass it out of their system. Watercolors are not harmful to pets, so if you do not notice any symptoms of sickness within the first few days, then you don’t have anything to worry about.

However, for the sake of being safe, here are a few things you can do to ensure that your cat does not get too sick from ingesting watercolors.

  • Wash Its Mouth And Tongue

If you catch your cat drinking or licking your watercolors in action, you can probably get a lot of the paint out by cleaning its mouth and tongue. Start by wiping its mouth and nose with a wet cloth. After this, put some cat toothpaste on a toothbrush and brush your cat’s teeth.

Cats typically do not like being cleaned by other people. This entire process may be quite difficult, but it is also necessary. Make sure not to use any harmful soaps. This will only make the situation worse. Use soaps and toothbrushes intended for cats.

  • Give It a Shower

Maybe instead of eating paint, your cat decided to roll around in it instead. Dried paint can be more toxic than wet paint. So, try to wash off the paint from your cat’s fur as soon as possible.

Watercolors consist of chemicals that can irritate the top membrane of a cat’s skin. This can result in itchy skin rashes or infections. Try to wash the paint off of your cat before it dries. If it ends up getting a skin rash, you can try some over-the-counter rash creams for pets.

  • Check For Flakes

Dried-up watercolors can turn into small flakes that float around in the air of your house. These usually aren’t any more harmful than regular dust particles. However, if you are concerned about your cat inhaling paint toxins, you can check their fur, nose, and ears for paint flakes.

You can usually get rid of paint flakes in a cat’s fur by brushing through it. This is more efficient with a comb than with bare hands. You can also check for flakes in your cat’s ears and nose. Take a cotton swab and slowly insert it into your cat’s nose and ears. If there are any paint flakes, they should come out with the cotton swab.

  • Make It Drink Water

The simplest solution you can try is to make your cat drink water. Your cat will feel much better once it has gotten the paint out of its system. Water can help speed this process up. Water can also help dilute the paint consumed by your cat.

By drinking plenty of water, your cat can get paint out of its system by either throwing up or passing it out the other side. Drinking water can also help with any major gastric or digestion problems your cat may have.


To clarify one more time, is watercolor paints toxic to cats? The answer is no, they are not. However, if you notice your cat displaying severe symptoms or not getting cured after a day or two, it is wise to book an appointment with a vet.

Thanks for stopping by.

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