Although the history of incense dates back thousands of years, it has continued to be a popular indulgence throughout the world in modern times.

The gentle and soothing aromas are known to give people a moment of peace in an otherwise harsh world.

Because incense is so deeply ingrained into our culture, people often light up incense without giving a second thought to their cats, or other pets.

In this article, we will discuss burning incense around pets and why you probably shouldn’t do it.

What is Incense?

Incense is a combustible material or blend which is burned throughout the world for it’s aromatic effects.

It is particularly popular in Asia, where it is often burned in religious temples.

Incense Sticks Next to a Plant

Burning Incense Stick Next to a Plant

Incense and Cats

Cats are known to have much more sensitive lungs then humans.

When you burn an incense stick, small amounts of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and other compounds are released into the air.

This isn’t normally a problem for humans, but since cats have much more sensitive lungs, these compounds can have a much greater effect on them.

If they are continuously exposed to smoke, cats can sometimes develop asthma and other respiratory problems.

This can lead to many other health issues.

In general, it is not recommended to burn incense around cats.

Incense Burning Precautions

If you choose to burn incense around your cats anyways, there are some precautions which you should take.

Try to Put Your Cat in a Different Room

The first thing I would recommend, is to try to put your cat into different room then the incense is burning in.

This would obviously lead to the cat inhaling much less of the smoke.

Open your Windows

Opening up your windows will make sure you have plenty of ventilation.

Although the fragrance may not be as potent with the window open, it is much safer for everybody involved because the smoke would be much less concentrated.

Store Your Incense Away From Your Cats

It is important to keep your incense far away from your cats because some of the materials or fragrances contained within the incense may be harmful to your cat if ingested. A recommended place to keep your incense away from your cat would be a locked drawer.

Cat Safe Alternatives to Incense

Fortunately, if you have a cat, there are some safer alternatives to incense.


Scented candles produce no smoke and are considered much safer for cats then incense.

However, you really have to make sure you put your scented candle in a safe place where your cat cannot knock it over.

Essential Oil Diffusers

Essential oil diffusers are another good alternative to incense, but you have to make sure that you choose an essential oil which is safe for cats.