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Finding tree sap on your cat’s fur is no laughing matter. This can be a difficult task to tackle, and isn’t fun for you or your cat. Tree sap is a very sticky substance that can cause debris like dirt, rocks, and pine needles to get stuck in your cat’s paws or coat which can be quite painful.
As a new or veteran cat owner, you may not have had to face this type of task. I’m here to tell you that everything is going to be okay, and if you follow this guide you’ll have the tree sap off of your pet’s fur in no time with this fairly easy process.
Most of the items you will to complete this task can usually be found in a common household.
Inspect Your Cat Entirely
The first step you need to take is assessing the issue. Take your cat into a small room, preferably the bathroom, so you can inspect where the tree sap is. Assess how much tree sap there is and if it’s either hardened or still soft.
Don’t forget to check your cat’s paws, belly, and behind their hind legs under their tail.
List of Items You Will Need
Here is a list of items that you will need in order to remove the sap at home without needing to take your cat somewhere. You won’t need all the items listed, but I made sure to add a variety of items that most households should have.
- Blow Dryer – If the tree sap is no longer fresh and has hardened, a blow dryer will be needed to heat the sap.
- Wide Toothed Comb – This will aid in the removal process of the sap
- Olive Oil – Olive oil is commonly used in cooking and is a common item found in most households. This is the recommended ingredient to help remove the tree sap from your cat’s fur.
- Mineral Oil – Mineral oil is a liquid petroleum which is another item that you may have in your home.
- Peanut Butter – This is probably the most common item in most pantries, and works like a charm.
- Vodka or Bourbon – As stated from this article by Dr. Marty Becker, alcohol is great at dissolving the tree sap. Rubbing alcohol is not recommended as it is more dangerous than Vodka or Bourbon if your cat were to ingest it.
Pick a few of these items that you have in your home along with a blow dryer to begin the process.
Removing Sap from Fur
- First check to see if the sap has hardened. If it has, then you will need to use a blow dryer on the lowest heat setting. Test the blow dryer on yourself first to make sure it isn’t too hot for your cat. You can do this by adjusting the distance between your skin and the blow dryer. Find the best distance that offers enough warmth, but doesn’t burn. Replicate this on your cats fur in all the places that have dried sap.
- You can then start to loosen the tree sap by using olive oil, mineral oil, peanut butter, or Vodka. Massage your choice of product into the affected areas of your cat’s fur and let it set for a few minutes. Remember, we chose these products because they are safer than rubbing alcohol in case your cat were to lick the treated areas.
- The next step is to gently remove the sap from your cat’s fur. To do this, use your fingers and a wide-toothed comb to carefully work the sap out of the fur. Use paper towel or a washcloth to wipe off the oil and residue leftover. If you are having problems with a certain area, then you may have to trim it off with scissors. Just be careful not to cut too close to your cat’s skin.
- The final step is to wash your cat with a pet-friendly shampoo and warm water. You might have to wash your cat multiple times to remove all of the oily products. Another great option is to take your cat to a groomer where they can professionally clean your cat.
How to Remove Tree Sap from Your Cat’s Paws
Your cat’s paws are very delicate and must be handled with extreme care. Not just your cat, but for you as well. You may get scratched on accident if you are not careful. Use the same method as above. Rub in your preferred product into your cat’s paws and remove it with your hands and a comb.
With stubborn areas, you can gently try to trim off fur with surgical scissors. If you are worried about hurting your cat, then you can make an appointment with a pet groomer.
When working to remove sap from your cat’s fur, be sure to work quickly and diligently. After using a hair dryer to soften the sap, you need to get to work immediately. The more time that passes will cause the sap to harden back up, and you will need to repeat the process. Using olive oil as your ingredient of choice is the best way to ensure that your cat is safe during this process.
Whatever you do, do not leave tree sap on your cat. It’s best to remove it as soon as you notice it. If left untreated, your cat may become ill.
Certain tree saps may be toxic to cats. If you notice your cat having negative reactions to the tree sap like nausea, vomiting, weakness, or reddening of the skin, immediately consult your veterinarian.