One of the best parts of having a cat in your home is being able to cuddle with them. After all, who can resist petting a purring cat, or letting your cat nestle herself into your lap? But if you're petting your cat during winter, you're likely to be rewarded with a static shock that sends your cat flying into the next room, then eyeing you suspiciously the next time you approach. Luckily for both you and your cat, there are a few ways that you can reduce static electricity for more comfortable and enjoyable wintertime petting.
Understanding static electricity
The more you understand about static electricity, the more you can do to prevent it. Live Science explains that static electricity is often caused by a static charge buildup that results from contact between materials. Shuffling your feet across the carpet is a common example of a situation that generates a static charge.
The zap you feel when you touch your cat occurs because you're touching a grounded object (your cat), giving the static charge a path to the ground. It can be difficult to avoid generating a static charge in some situations, especially when there's little humidity in the air, such as in the wintertime. With less humidity, the air is less conductive, increasing the strength of the zap that you and your cat feel.
Water discharges static electricity
One of the simplest ways to reduce static electricity in your cat's fur is to use water, according to Catster. Dip your fingers into some water or mist your hands lightly before you pet your cat. Water will discharge static electricity, so if you are carrying a charge, you won't transfer it to your cat.
Humidify your home
Mother Nature Network advises you to use water in another way to help reduce static electricity buildup and transfer. Invest in a humidifier to increase the amount of moisture in the air of your home. By running the humidifier every day, you'll make the air more conductive to electricity. This can help to prevent the buildup of a static charge, and can also minimize the severity of the zap if a static charge does build up.
Switch out the cat beds
Is your cat resting on a synthetic cat bed or blanket, such as one made of fleece? If so, the synthetic fabric can contribute to the creation of a static charge. Instead, look for a bed or blanket that's made of natural fibers, like wool. These natural fibers are less likely to create a static charge.
Condition your cat’s coat
If your cat's coat is dry, she may experience more static than a cat with a well-conditioned coat. PetMeds suggests that you use a grooming spray or some grooming wipes on your pet regularly to help keep her coat conditioned and healthy.
Strategically choose your brushes
Grooming your cat could contribute to the buildup of static electricity, especially if you're using a plastic brush. Choose a metal brush over a plastic one. Even better, purchase an ionic brush, which is specifically manufactured to help prevent the buildup of static electricity.
Avoid dryer sheets
It might seem like common sense to rub a dryer sheet on your cat to reduce static electricity. After all, dryer sheets can help to reduce static in your clothes, so they must work on your pets, right? According to the Merck Veterinary Manual, it's dangerous to expose your cat to dryer sheets. Dryer sheets contain cationic detergents, which are corrosive. Cationic detergents can cause serious health issues in pets, including burns to the eyes or skin, vomiting, seizures, muscular weakness, collapse, and even coma. If your cat is ever exposed to dryer sheets and displays these symptoms, consult a vet immediately.