Is Incense Bad For My Maine Coon?

For centuries, incense has been used for various purposes, such as religious ceremonies and home fragrances. However, with the increasing number of pet owners, concerns have emerged about the safety of incense around pets. As a proud Maine Coon owner, it’s natural to wonder if incense is safe around your beloved feline friend.

Maine Coons are magnificent creatures that steal our hearts with their long-haired coats, affectionate nature, and lion-like appearance. As responsible pet owners, we must be aware of any potential hazards in our homes that could harm our Maine Coon.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the question “Is incense bad for my Maine Coon?” We’ll delve into how incense affects cats in general and specifically Maine Coons. Additionally, we’ll address common concerns about their safety around incense and provide alternative home fragrance solutions that won’t put your furry friend at risk.

So come along with us as we dive into this intriguing topic and discover all you need to know about the potential dangers of incense around Maine Coons.

What is Incense?

Incense is a fascinating aromatic substance that has been used for centuries in various cultures for religious, spiritual, and medicinal purposes. This fragrant smoke is created by mixing natural ingredients such as herbs, spices, resins, and essential oils which are then shaped into sticks or cones. From sandalwood to frankincense, myrrh, lavender, and sage, there are different types of incense available in the market, each with its own unique blend of fragrances and ingredients.

Apart from its pleasant aroma and ability to create a relaxing atmosphere, it’s important to note that burning incense can also have potential health risks to both humans and animals if not used correctly. Therefore, if you’re a Maine Coon cat owner, it’s essential to be aware of the potential impact that incense can have on your furry friend.

Maine Coon cats have unique health needs, and some of these needs may be negatively affected by exposure to incense. One key issue with incense is that it can release harmful chemicals into the air, leading to respiratory issues like coughing, wheezing, and breathing difficulties. Maine Coon cats are particularly sensitive to respiratory issues as they have a larger-than-average lung capacity and a predisposition to breathing problems such as asthma.

In addition to respiratory issues, incense can also cause skin irritation in Maine Coon cats. This is because some types of incense contain essential oils or other fragrances that can be irritating to sensitive skin. If a cat comes into contact with these substances, they may experience itching, redness or other signs of irritation. Given that Maine Coon cats have thick fur that can trap irritants close to the skin, this can be particularly problematic.

To ensure your Maine Coon cat stays healthy and happy in your home, it’s best to avoid using incense around them whenever possible. If you choose to use incense, make sure the room is well-ventilated and that your cat has access to fresh air. You may also want to consider using natural or unscented varieties of incense that are less likely to cause irritation or harm.

Why Can Incense be Harmful to Maine Coon Cats?

While incense can create a calming and peaceful atmosphere for humans, it can be harmful to our beloved pets.

When incense is burned, it emits a variety of chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene, which can irritate the sensitive respiratory systems of Maine Coon cats. These chemicals can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in our furry friends. Over time, they can also lead to more severe health problems like lung cancer.

Maine Coon cats are especially vulnerable to these respiratory issues because of their large size and long fur. Their highly sensitive respiratory systems make them more susceptible to the harmful effects of incense smoke compared to other cat breeds.

But that’s not all – there is also a risk of burns or even starting a fire if incense sticks or cones are left unattended or placed too close to flammable objects. This endangers not only your cat but your entire household as well.

To keep your Maine Coon cat safe and healthy, it’s best to avoid using incense in areas where they spend most of their time. Instead, you can opt for natural alternatives such as essential oils or candles made from soy or beeswax. If you do decide to use incense, make sure it’s out of reach of your cat and never leave it burning unattended.

Respiratory Issues Caused by Incense

Despite its soothing aroma, incense smoke and fumes can irritate our cats’ lungs, leading to a range of respiratory issues.

Asthma is one of the most common respiratory issues caused by incense. Maine Coons are genetically predisposed to respiratory issues, making them more vulnerable to the triggering effects of incense smoke. An asthma attack can be life-threatening if not treated promptly and can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Another concern is upper respiratory infections. The smoke and fumes released by incense can irritate the nasal passages and throat of Maine Coons, making them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, and coughing.

Long-term exposure to incense smoke can also lead to chronic bronchitis, characterized by inflammation of the airways, making it difficult for cats to breathe. This condition is not only uncomfortable but can also result in permanent lung damage if left untreated.

Moreover, some types of incense contain toxic ingredients such as benzene and formaldehyde. These chemicals are released when burned and are harmful to both humans and animals alike, causing serious health problems.

To prevent respiratory issues caused by incense, responsible Maine Coon owners should avoid burning it in their homes or in areas where their cats frequent. If you must burn incense, ensure that the room is well-ventilated and avoid using it around your cat. Instead, use natural alternatives like essential oils or beeswax candles.

Skin Irritation from Incense

While the soothing aroma may be pleasing to you, it could be dangerous for your Maine Coon cat’s skin health. Incense contains various chemicals and fragrances known to trigger allergies and skin irritation in cats, particularly those with sensitive skin.

Skin irritation from incense is a common issue among Maine Coon cats. The chemicals and fragrances can cause redness, itching, rashes, and even painful hot spots on your cat’s skin. It’s crucial to take your cat to the vet for a check-up if you notice any of these signs.

Your vet may prescribe a topical cream or ointment to alleviate the irritated skin and provide relief. However, prevention is always better than cure. To avoid skin irritation from incense altogether, it’s best to avoid using it around your Maine Coon cat entirely.

This entails refraining from burning incense in the same room as your cat or using any incense-infused products like air fresheners or diffusers. Instead, choose natural alternatives such as essential oils or candles made from natural ingredients. But keep in mind that even natural products can irritate some cats’ skin, so use them cautiously and monitor your cat for any discomfort.

How to Avoid Problems with Incense and Maine Coon Cats

Here are five practical tips to help you avoid problems with incense and Maine Coon cats.

Avoid Burning Incense Altogether

It may seem like common sense, but the best way to protect your cat from the harmful chemicals found in incense smoke is to avoid using it altogether. Instead, opt for natural alternatives such as essential oils, which can be used in an oil burner or diffuser.

Keep Your Cat Away From The Room While Burning Incense

If you must burn incense, ensure that the room is well-ventilated and keep your cat away from it. This will reduce their exposure to harmful chemicals and minimize the risk of respiratory problems.

Clean Your Home Regularly

Dust and other irritants can aggravate your cat’s respiratory system, so it’s essential to keep your home clean. Regular dusting and vacuuming will help reduce the number of airborne particles that could harm your cat.

Look Out For Signs Of Respiratory Problems

Keep an eye on any signs of respiratory problems in your Maine Coon cat. If you notice coughing, sneezing, or difficulty breathing, take them to the vet for a check-up. These symptoms could be a sign that your cat has been exposed to harmful chemicals in the air.

Never Leave Burning Incense Unattended

It’s crucial to never leave burning incense unattended as this poses not only a risk to your cat’s health but also a fire hazard. Always extinguish the incense when you leave the room or go to bed.

Alternatives to Traditional Incense

Traditional incense, with its smoke and chemicals, can put your pet’s respiratory system at risk. But don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives that are safe and effective.

One natural option is to use essential oils in a diffuser. These oils are derived from plants and are free of harmful chemicals. With a wide variety of scents available, you can even create your own unique blends. The scent is dispersed throughout your home, creating a calming and refreshing atmosphere.

Another excellent option is beeswax candles or soy candles. They burn cleanly and do not release any harmful chemicals, unlike traditional candles or incense. Be mindful of the ingredients and avoid synthetic fragrances or dyes when selecting candles for your home.

If you prefer a more traditional approach, smudging herbs like sage or palo santo are safe and have been used for centuries to purify and cleanse spaces. Be sure to use them in moderation to avoid any potential harm to your pet.


To sum up, it’s crucial for Maine Coon owners to understand the risks associated with using incense around their furry companions. Although incense may help humans relax, it can be hazardous to our pets. Maine Coons are particularly susceptible to respiratory problems caused by incense due to their size and long fur.

The smoke and fumes from incense can irritate their sensitive respiratory systems, leading to coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, upper respiratory infections, or even asthma attacks. Furthermore, some types of incense contain harmful chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde that can harm both humans and animals.

Therefore, it’s best to avoid using incense in areas where your cat spends most of their time. Instead, consider natural alternatives like soy or beeswax candles or essential oils. When selecting these products, be cautious of synthetic fragrances or dyes that could cause skin irritation in cats with sensitive skin.

As responsible pet owners, we must prioritize our Maine Coon’s health and well-being by creating a safe environment free from potential hazards like incense smoke.