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How to Remove Oil from Cat Fur

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As part of developing a healthy grooming habit for your cat, it’s important to inspect the cat’s fur quite often to spot any toxic substance that might have found its way on there. This is because apart from being unsightly, there are certain types that if not removed immediately, could lead to skin irritation, damage, or even poisoning. 

Now, if your cat loves playing outdoors, they remain susceptible to sticky substances like oil, which falls under the category of those toxic substances that should be washed off the cat’s fur as soon as possible. If you have handled oil before, you understand that it doesn’t clean off easily when it comes into contact with any surface. This is the same case with fur, and that’s why you need to learn the proper steps on how to remove oil from cat fur to do it properly. 

A Simple Guide on How to Remove Oil from Cat Fur

There are two options through which you can hack the situation as detailed below: 

Option 1: Clipping and Washing 

Little kittens bathing in the sink

Steps to Follow:

Pre-check your cat

The first thing you should do is confirm if the cat ingested the oil in the process, something you can easily identify if it appears sick. In this case, the best way is to see a vet, even before you start washing. Some of the symptoms you can watch out for are: Diarrhoea, vomiting, dizziness, and any other unusual behavioural change. However, if everything seems normal, you can begin washing the cat. 

Remove the collar

If your cat has a contaminated collar, you have to take it off to make cleaning easier, which you can do once you’re through with the cat’s fur. You can choose to hand wash or run it through a washing machine depending on the material used for the collar.  

Restrain the cat

Before you do anything to the fur, you have to ensure that the cat is comfortable to avoid aggression. This will also ensure that you have the desired grip, and the best way to do so is to put it on a flat and stable place, soothe it, and after it’s under your control, you then grab it by the loose skin at the back. 

Clip the stained fur

This is usually the best option to begin with, in case the oil was quite sticky, which in the end causes the fur to develop mats. Combing and grooming could just make it messier and therefore, the fastest and most effective way is to clip off such areas. The only challenge is that you have to pay attention not to shave down to the skin. The tool also used matters here, with the recommendable one being electric clippers. You can also use scissors provided that you don’t cut your pet. 

Apply vegetable oil

After clipping, you’ll have minimal contaminated spots left, and to help with the cleaning further, your regular cooking oil will now come in handy. All you need to do is cover the areas with small amounts of vegetable oil as you rub gently. Vegetable oil is the best pick here because it’s recommended for most cats, unlike certain essential oils that aren’t safer. 

Bathe the cat

The first steps aren’t enough, therefore you still have to bathe your cat. For an already trained cat, you won’t experience any aggression, but first, you have to create a space that’s fairly big for ease of control. Something to note is that it’s best to use warm water with mild soap and that you might end up lathering and rinsing repeatedly until no oil traces are visible. 

The most ideal option to use is regular dish soap, which is highly effective because of its degreasing compounds. This is also the best time to check if the cat developed any burns and any other reaction resulting from the oil, so that you know how best to proceed. 

Dry and keep the cat warm

Once you’re certain that your cat is properly cleaned, it’s time to deal with dripping which can be relative, considering the volumes of the cat’s fur. All in all, any dry and clean fluffy towel will get the job done, ensuring that any single drop of water is drained. 

At this point, your cat will be cold, and therefore, it’s in order that you keep them warm until the fur is completely dry. To prevent tangling and mats, ensure that you only rub the towel gently against the fur so that you also minimize the brushing that you’ll have to deal with after cleaning. 

In the beginning, I emphasized on the need to check for any reactions before you start washing, but at times the effects can kick in after some hours. This is why even after washing everything off, there’s still need to periodically monitor your cat so that you can immediately notice such incidences for swift action. 

Option 2: Visit the Vet

Washing and drying a cute cat

Truth be told, not all cat owners can stand the whole clipping and washing process, especially if they are beginners. This is also where you opt for professional help, which can also help manage poisoning cases if the cat consumed some bits of the oil. Here’s a list of the things that will possibly take place at the vet:

Removal of the oil

Our first option outlines what you can do while at home, but if it’s overwhelming, you can trust your vet to get it done for you. This would involve the usually clipping and washing, and any other care as called for. In the event that the contamination reacts with the cat’s fur, certain antibiotics will be administered on the skin to keep them safe from infections. 

Diagnostic scans and tests

If your cat had developed signs of poisoning, the vet would request to run blood, urine, and electrolyte panel tests to identify organs that got infected in the process. This would mean that you equally monitor the cat right from home to get all the samples needed, especially in case of vomiting. 

Activated charcoal

In case the cat inhaled or ingested some of the oil, one of the things that’s likely to happen is that activated charcoal will be administered to them. This helps with the absorption process and in the end any further damage to the cat’s system will have been managed. 

Oxygen therapy

This is equally guided by how severe the cat’s situation is because this is usually done when it shows signs of breathing difficulties. With such, your cat will have to stay a bit longer at the vet’s office depending on how responsive its organs are. 

Continued observation

The moment the vet allows you to take your pet home, it’s still important that you continue observing the cat to establish if it has healed completely. So if you notice reoccurrences of any of the previously mentioned symptoms of poisoning, remember to call the vet for further direction. 

How to Prevent Cat Exposure to Oil

Kitten bathing with a towel

As we have seen, there’s more to that oil stain you see on your cat’s fur, and at times it could be tragic. So, the best way to avoid such is to put certain precautions in place to ensure that your friend doesn’t get anywhere near oil. Here are a few tips on how to do so:

Keep Them Locked

This has nothing to do with your cat, but the harmful substance itself. At times, this is usually a challenge for those who have basement garages at home, which often leave cats exposed. Therefore, if you can’t make such rooms inaccessible for your cat, you can also keep all those substances locked in cabinets to keep the cat away from accessing them. 

Keep the Surfaces Cleaned

One of the ways a cat can get into contact with oil is in a leaking car, which can leave traces of oil on the driveway or garage. However, less risky this could sound, it’s important always to clean up these spills immediately to keep your cat safe from the aftermath. The same applies to the garage itself whereby after locking everything up, also remember to clean up any messes left behind to make the room friendlier for you and the cat. 

Dispose-off Properly

In certain cases, the danger itself could be how you dispose of emptied containers of any toxic substance. Cats can be adventurous to an extent that they can even sneak into your trash can. That’s why it’s not advisable to use the regular trash cans for these containers as well, that and the fact the substances are also flammable and harmful to the environment around you. The best option therefore is to take them to the local waste center for proper disposal. 

Restrain the Cat

This might not be easy for an outdoors type of cat, but as we have seen, the only way they can get contaminated is when they roam. With this, the only safer and manageable place for your cat is indoors where they’re less exposed. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t take them out for a walk because with that, you can easily keep an eye on them. The thing with cats is that, just like any other pets, they can adjust to any condition, provided that you train them properly. 


Usually, it’s never anyone’s intention to have their pets messed up, considering that some incidences are unforeseen. On the other hand, it’s entirely your responsibility to keep them safe at all times, and this also means that you need to have them checked regularly to notice any unusual changes. Knowing how hectic the whole process is, especially if you have a white cat, it’s important to take preventive measures, some of which we have highlighted for you in the article. 

This means that as you learn how to remove oil from cat fur, it’s equally important to master how you can keep your cat away from such messy substances. Another thing to remember is that it’s safer to seek professional help just to be certain that your cat is okay, even after cleaning the oil off its fur. 

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