A Himalayan Salt Lamp creates beautiful ambiance in a room--it's also toxic to cats.
It may surprise you to learn that your cat is attracted to the soothing pink glow of a Himalayan Salt lamp, but it's not the mood lighting that interests your cat. Rather, it's the salt itself. Cats love salt (they like sardines, after all). However, too much salt can poison your cat, leading to irreversible health consequences and even death.
Since cats are nimble and curious, you not only want that salt lamp kept away from where they can get to it and lick away at it...you want to keep the salt lamp in a room that your cat is never allowed in.
How Can Salt be Toxic To Cats?
For cats, dogs, and humans, sodium one of the critical electrolytes necessary for many functions throughout the body, including muscle and nerve function. It is involved in regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction (including the heart muscle), and other is a key component of kidney function. Without enough salt, your cat can develop serious health problems.
However, too much salt can be just as problematic as not enough. The kidneys usually adjust the amount of salt in your cat’s blood as necessary. However, if your cat ingests too much salt, the kidney's can't filter it out fast enough, which leads to high levels of salt in the cells and blood stream, a condition known as Hypernatremia. High levels of salt raise blood pressure, and pulls fluids away from the cells and tissues that rely on a delicate balance of electrolytes and fluids.
When this shift in sodium balance takes place, the increase salt in your cat's body can lead to many symptoms, including:
Muscle and nerve dysfunction
Dangeroulsy elevated blood pressure
Neurological problems including difficulty walking and seeing, confusion
Can a Cat be Treated for Salt Toxicity?
If your cat ingests too much salt, a vet may be able to treat her successfully. This will depend on how long your cat has been ingesting salt and the resultant degree of severity of symptoms. As soon as you've noticed the cat licking the Himalayan salt lamp, even if things look normal, have the vet run bloodwork. You might catch a salt toxicity problem before it becomes devastating and irreversible.
If your cat is showing symptoms of salt toxicity, take it to an emergency vet or call poison control right away. This is now a life threatening situation for your cat.
There's no quick cure of salt toxicity. There is no easy way to remove salt from your cat’s blood. Instead, treatment consists of IV fluids to help manage the cat’s blood pressure, balance electrolytes, and support the organs.
If your cat ingested enough salt to cause signifiant dehydration or brain swelling, medications may be provided for those symptoms. If your cat shows signs of neurological problems, additional medications and supportive care may be necessary.
While many cats will recover fully from over-ingesting salt, some will have lifetime health problems. The best protection is prevention: Keep the Himalayan salt lamp way out of reach of your cat.
Further Reading: ProtectaPet: Himalayan Salt Lamp Warning for Cat Owners
Special Thanks: THE SALT CAVE, Doylestown, PA. Upon purchasing a salt lamp for a friend, the staff made sure to inquire about whether or not a cat lived in the home and to inform us of the danger a salt lamp presents to curious, salt-loving kitties.