Himalayan Salt Lamps and Cats: Everything you Need to Know

Himalayan salt lamps come with unbelievable health benefits and can add a nice glow to any space, but can you have Himalayan salt lamps and cats? Salt lamps may be able to improve your sleep, your mood, and even your air quality – but pet owners need to be cautious.

What are Salt Lamps?

Salt lamps, sometimes referred to as rock lamps or Himalayan salt lamps, are light fixtures made from pink salt that is usually found near the Himalayas. A light bulb is placed inside the crystal and a pink hue is displayed. While scientists are debating whether or not salt lamps actually work, many people swear by their health benefits.

One study proved that halotherapy (the practice of breathing in air that contains salt particles) helps ease respiratory issues in humans. There is also preliminary evidence that suggests halotherapy (and therefore, salt lamps) have mood-boosting properties and can treat some mental health ailments like seasonal depression.

Whether the health benefits are real or not, it’s clear that pink salt lamps can liven up a room. Thankfully, you can find them on Amazon in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few popular examples:

Dangers of Himalayan Salt Lamps and Cats

Unfortunately, salt is toxic to cats and dogs – meaning Himalayan salt lamps and cats don’t mix. While these lamps aren’t safe for dogs either, cats present a larger problem due to their innate ability to get into things no matter where you store them.

Having a cat doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have a salt lamp, but it does mean you shouldn’t leave your pets unsupervised with your lamps. One sniff won’t harm your pet, but a salt lamp can become a problem if your cat or dog decides to spend several minutes licking or biting it.

Salt toxicity can lead to neurological problems, dehydration, kidney failure, and even death if not treated quickly. In 2019, vets released an international warning after a cat in New Zealand suffered due to too much sodium in the blood after licking a salt lamp. That cat was cured with an IV treatment, but not all cats are so lucky.

Spotting Salt Poisoning in Cats

When in doubt, if you have Himalayan salt lamps and cats in your home and your cat begins to act strangely, you should immediately call the ASPCA pet poison control line at 888-426-4435. Here are some (but not all) of the warning signs you should look for if you think your cat may have licked your salt lamp:

  • Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Seizures
  • Walking abnormally
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tremors

In the event of salt toxicity, a vet will provide hydration to slowly draw out the sodium. If your cat does not appear to be in distress and you don’t need to rush to the emergency vet, you can begin treatment at home by encouraging your cat to drink water. Your vet or the poison control helpline may encourage you to induce vomiting, but you shouldn’t do that without consulting a professional as it may cause more damage if done incorrectly.

How to Protect Cats From Salt Lamps

Now that you understand the dangers of salt rock lamps and cats, here are some options for keeping your beloved pets safe:

Make your own hanging light fixture – By purchasing a few small Himalayan salt lamps and a hanging planter, you can keep your lamps out of your cat’s reach while simultaneously creating a unique piece for your home.

Install floating shelves – While cats are notoriously good climbers, there are some places that your cats just won’t be able to reach. Floating shelves kept away from furniture are great options for storing not just salt lamps but anything you don’t want your cat to touch.

Keep your salt lamps at work or in a closed room – If you have an office or a room in your house that is always shut off from your animals, this cat-shaped Himalayan salt lamp is for you. You can also store it on a high shelf to keep your cats and salt lamps apart.

Keep your lamps in basketsDecorative lamp baskets are great for cat owners, especially when kept on high shelves that cats can’t easily climb.

Buy a hanging lanternHimalayan salt lamps have become so popular that you can now find them in all shapes and sizes on Amazon. This lantern is a great option so that you can hang your lamps in hard-to-reach places where you won’t have to worry about your pets.

Use Himalayan string lights – Hanging salt rock string lights from your ceiling or high up on your wall is a great way to keep your salt rock lamp and cats apart.

Swap out regular bulbs with salt lamp bulbs – If you decide that salt lamps aren’t safe for your home, you can at least use Himalayan salt lamp bulbs in your existing light fixtures to get some of the effects without the danger, since the salt is protected by glass.

Himalayan Salt Lamp Alternatives for Cat Owners

People believe that the reason salt lamps can clean the air is that they release negative ions – but some scientists say that isn’t necessarily true. You can achieve the same desired effect of purifying the air in your home by purchasing an air ionizer, which is not harmful to pets. Some air purifiers are even designed with pet dander in mind and can help keep the air in your home feeling fresh even with the biggest shedders living under your roof.

Instead of worrying about your cats and salt lamps, you can also get a similar effect by placing pet-safe plants around your home. Plants can remove toxins from the air and can even absorb odors. Here are some plants that are easy to take care of and are safe for household pets:

  • Spider plants
  • Ponytail palms
  • African violets
  • Bird’s nest ferns
  • Boston ferns
  • Watermelon peperomia
  • Orchids
  • Baby tears

Are Selenite Lamps Safe for Cats?

If you love Himalayan salt lamps and cats are in the picture, you may want to consider another type of crystal lighting source. Selenite lamps are different from Himalayan salt lamps in that they are not made of salt and they do not produce negative ions. Selenite lamps are made of gypsum, which is a mineral composed of hydrated calcium sulfate – the same material you may find in plaster, drywall, fertilizer, and even sidewalk chalk. The selenite crystal is rumored to purify energy, resulting in mental clarity and headache relief.

Due to their chemical makeup, selenite lamps may be safer for cats than salt lamps. It’s still best to keep any crystals away from your pets, but you won’t have to worry about salt toxicity with selenite lamps. They emit a white glow, rather than the pink glow that comes from traditional Himalayan salt lamps, and can be great simply as decoration.

Here are a few selenite lamps available on Amazon:

When it’s time to decorate your home or to incorporate air-purifying items, it’s always best to consult your vet if you’re worried about your household cats. Always remember that cats and salt lamps don’t mix, and it’s best to keep everything away from your pet’s reach.