Feline Hyperthyroidism Linked to Flame Retardants in Furniture


Could your cat’s napping spot be making your pet ill? 

Cat Hyperthyroidism

Initially, it may be easy to dismiss the fact that the cosy spot your cat sleeps in could be making them sick, it sounds almost ridiculous right?  However, scientific studies have found a potential link between flame retardants in furniture and hyperthyroidism in cats. It’s always wise to be informed and so let’s take a closer look into this worrying issue and what you can do to ensure your cats sleepy time is super-safe for them…

What is feline hyperthyroidism?

Feline hyperthyroidism is a common endocrine-related disease, often diagnosed in older cats and particularly in-house cats or those who prefer to spend the majority of their time indoors. Symptoms include weight loss, irritability, and a rapid heartbeat. “The cause of hyperthyroidism in cats is as yet unknown, but it looks ever more likely that the increase in this potentially fatal disease in cats could well have a strong link to flame retardants in our furniture, used by ourselves and our pets on a daily basis.”

An increase in flame retardant use over the last few decades

As laws have been introduced across the globe to ensure fire safety of our home furnishings, the use of retardants such as OPEs (organophosphate esters) has increased drastically. While obviously the aim is to prevent fires in our home, and that is of course important, sadly it is now being discovered that this fire safety comes at a cost, to us and to our pets, as a link is found between exposure to the endocrine disrupting compounds in the OPEs and the development of hyperthyroidism, particularly in cats.

So, what is the link the scientists have discovered?

Flame retardants are used throughout our homes, indoors and out. From our sofas to our carpeting, to our mattresses and even the beds we buy for our cats.

It doesn’t just stay there either, tests on household dust have found very high levels of PBDE, (polybrominated biphenyl esters found in flame retardants) to be a common occurrence in many homes.  In tests, humans in the US have been found to have the highest levels of PBDE in their systems worldwide, but even more worryingly, some US cats have been found to have PBDE levels 100 times higher!

This has been scientifically investigated in several studies over recent years, with the latest research conducted by Dr Peterson and published in Environmental Science & Technology, and the conclusions are that cats with a higher level of PBDE compound in their bodies are at a much higher risk of developing feline hyperthyroidism.

Why does this particularly affect cats?

Cats love to sleep, they can sleep up to 20 hours a day, and where will go to snuggle up? Somewhere soft and cosy without a doubt. If their spot of choice is a bed or sofa that has been treated with flame retardants, that’s an awful lot of exposure to potentially harmful substances. This of course is exacerbated by their penchant for good hygiene. While your kitty has a good wash, they’re also ingesting any PBDE compounds that are on their fur after their long nap on an affected surface.

How to protect your pet from any adverse effect from flame retardants

We all love our cats and want the very best for them, and there are plenty of ways you can reduce the levels of PDBEs in your home and make your house as safe as possible for your kitties and help prevent hyperthyroidism…

Vacuum regularly – PDBEs don’t just stay where they were originally put, they leach out of fabrics and into your home, accumulating as dust particles. Keep your home free from dust and you’re getting rid of those harmful substances. Pay particular attention to soft furnishings, pet bedding, and all your cat’s favorite sleeping spots.

Check for exposed foam - Keep an eye on your furniture for any areas of exposed foam. This may be an older chair that has split at the seams, or perhaps a naughty pet has clawed the corner of your sofa through to the foam. This exposed foam poses an even greater risk so be sure to replace worn items or re-cover them securely.

Provide irresistible safe sleeping spots – The best way to keep your cat away from harmful flame retardants is to give them a delightfully comfy bed of their own that you know is free from any substances that could be damaging your pet’s health. Here at CatsEssentials we are dedicated to creating pet beds that not only look gorgeous and are wonderfully cosy, but even more importantly, are totally safe for your cats, so they can sleep safely, and you can have peace of mind. We use only organic fabric and fillers as only certified organic materials can be guaranteed to be free from flame retardants and other synthetic agricultural chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers.

Find the perfect bed for your precious pet

With a wide range of styles, and different colourways to complement any home, check out our collections to find the bed your cat would choose for themselves if only they could. And remember, all our pet products are free from dangerous toxins so both you and your cats can rest easy!