What Glue Is Safe For Cat Trees & Scratching Posts?

Updated September 21, 2022
What Glue Is Safe For Cat Trees & Scratching Posts?

Choosing safe glue for cat trees and scratching posts is crucial to prevent oral and skin burns and poisoning.

Unfortunately, not every crafty owner considers the risks of ingesting glue for cats.

No glue is perfectly safe for consumption, but some glue types are more dangerous than others to our furry friends. Certain glues can even cause a lethal outcome.

Always keep your cat away when working with glue to prevent it from inhaling chemical fumes or licking the substance, even if the glue is considered non-toxic.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s safety or want to make the scratching post more durable, consider glue alternatives.

Hot Glue Sticks

Hot glue sticks are convenient for small details, so many feline owners wonder whether hot glue sticks are safe for cats.

Hot glue sticks are primarily composed of polymers, such as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), polyesters, polyethylene, and ethylene-methyl acrylate (EMA), formed into bars.

Most polymers are safe for cats to inhale and ingest in small amounts. Apart from polymers, hot glue sticks contain additives like waxes, resins, plasticizers, and antioxidants.

Waxes and resins are generally safe for cats, but some plasticizers are associated with an increased risk of cancer in animals and humans. Fortunately, their content in hot glue sticks is negligible.

Overall, you can use a hot glue gun for your DIY cat tree or scratching post without worrying about your cat’s health. However, be careful working with a hot glue gun because it can cause burns if it gets on your pet’s skin.

Work with the hot glue gun outdoors or in a well-ventilated space to avoid inhaling fumes released as the glue stick melts. Wipe drops of glue off surfaces to prevent your cat from licking it.


Eco-Bond is an environmentally-friendly, non-toxic glue safe for crafting scratching posts, cat trees, and fixing pet toys. This glue type works on nearly any surface, including metal, wood, fabric, paper, and plastic.

Eco-Bond is fast-drying and weather-resistant. You can use it in any climate, even for outdoor cat furniture. Some even use Eco-Bond for chicken coops, aquarium sealing, and dog houses.

Eco-Bond application temperatures range from -35 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Eco-Bond glue is non-flammable. It’s tack-free, so you won’t leave a mess when making the cat tree or scratching post.

This glue type is safe for cats because it doesn’t contain solvents or artificial colorings. It’s certified hypoallergenic, so it’s suitable for felines prone to contact and environmental allergies.

Eco-Bond may be the best option for your DIY scratching post or another project, but it’s expensive compared to other glue types.

Elmer’s Wood Glue

Elmer’s wood glue or any other glue with a similar ingredient list is perfect for porous materials like paper, fabric, and wood. The brand doesn’t matter here – most importantly, the glue shouldn’t contain any ingredients harmful to felines.

Elmer’s wood glue contains primarily chemical blends from ingredients ubiquitous in nature, such as a mix of petroleum and natural gas. This glue doesn’t contain animal by-products, unlike many traditional types of glue.

Elmer’s wood glue is water-based and takes advantage of popular adhesive polyvinyl acetate, or PVA. The glue can be either white or yellow, but the color results from a natural chemical reaction rather than artificial colorings.

Sometimes, wood glue manufacturers add yellow coloring to professional glues to differentiate them from commercial products. If you plan on using such glue, ensure the dye is non-toxic.

Overall, Elmer’s wood glue is rated non-toxic to felines, canines, and other pets. It won’t harm children either.

This doesn’t mean that a cat can eat it in large amounts without harm to its health, but it won’t get poisoned if it licks a bit off the cat tree or scratching post.

One point to note is to avoid Elmer’s Pro-bond wood glue because it contains an active ingredient that can expand in a cat’s stomach and cause gastroenteric obstruction if ingested.

Choose regular wood glue for safety, although it may not be equally durable.

PVA Glue

PVA glue, sometimes called school glue or paper glue, has similar to Elmer’s wood glue ingredient list and is considered safe for felines because its primary ingredient, Polyvinyl Alcohol, is non-toxic.

It won’t cause poisoning or gastroenteric obstruction if ingested in small amounts. However, PVA glue isn’t recommended for consumption because it can cause constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting if ingested in large amounts.

PVA glue is suitable for sealing timber, plaster, paper, and other materials. However, it isn’t as durable as Eco-Bond or hot glue.

Consider other glue types if you want your scratching post or cat tree to last long and not be wobbly. PVA glue is best suitable for attaching tiny cat tree elements like sisal rope’s end or fabric corners.

Glue Alternatives

If you’re concerned about your cat’s safety and find eco-friendly glues unreliable, consider glue alternatives for a cat scratching post.

Depending on the application, these include furniture brads, tacks, screws, nails, and a staple gun.

A staple gun is perfect for fixing sisal rope or fabric to the scratching post or cat tree. Using a staple gun, you can also secure the fabric to the scratching post’s base.

While staples are non-toxic to felines, they aren’t risk-free. Ensure that sharp ends don’t stick out to avoid hurting your pet.

Nails and screws are best for attaching the post to the base, but you can also use them to secure the sisal rope.

Tacks are a foolproof way to secure elements of your DIY cat scratching post or tree, but they aren’t very reliable. Your cat can easily remove the tacks and injure itself. Brads are better because they are designed for extra durability.

Glues To Avoid

Glues to avoid for cat scratching posts include all types of super glue, epoxy glue, and expanding glue. Super glues, whether Gorilla Glue, Loctite, or Scotch, are poisonous to cats because they contain methyl methacrylate.

Expandable foaming glues are not only toxic but also expand and harden in the cat’s stomach, causing a life-threatening blockage. Avoid glues containing diphenylmethane diisocyanates, such as Elmer’s Glue All-Max and Gorilla Glue.

A cat cannot vomit expandable glue mass because it’s too hard, so the only way to save a cat’s life is through timely surgical intervention.

Epoxy glue isn’t as toxic to cats as super glue, but it can cause distress to sensitive pets. An allergic reaction manifests with fever, skin irritation, and vomiting.

Epoxy vapors can lead to respiratory issues in cats, including difficulty breathing and coughing. Plus, epoxy glue can leave a burn if it gets on a cat’s skin.

These glue types are dangerous to cats if ingested, inhaled, or applied to the skin. If your cat was exposed to super or epoxy glue in any way, it’s best to seek veterinary help.

Hot glue is generally safe for cats but can also cause burns if it gets on the skin while liquid.

What Happens If a Cat Eats Glue

What happens if a cat eats glue depends on the type of glue and the amount ingested. Although glue has an odd texture and taste, cats are curious creatures that like to try new flavors.

The odds of your cat licking glue are never zero, so don’t leave glue with your cat without supervision. If your cat licks only a little dry glue off the scratching post, there’s no need to worry.

Hot glue sticks, Elmer’s wood glue, Eco-Bond, and PVA are non-toxic to felines and may not even cause a gastroenteric upset if ingested in small amounts.

However, the fact these glue types are non-toxic to cats doesn’t mean your pet should eat them. Any adhesive can cause constipation and is not recommended for consumption.

Remember that any glue is irritating if it gets into your cat’s eyes or ears. If this happens, flush the eyes with large amounts of water. Bring your cat to a vet if the eye still appears swollen and red even after flushing.

Severe problems may arise if your cat licks much glue out of the bottle or if the glue is toxic. Expanding and super glues are the most dangerous to cats because they can cause gastroenteric obstruction and poisoning.

Super glues contain ethyl-2-cyanoacrylate and methylmethacrylate, which cause strong, instant adhesion upon contact with a surface.

If your cat is shaking its head, vomiting, pawing at the mouth, retching, drooling, squinting, or has trouble breathing after ingesting some glue, call your vet immediately for a consultation.

Diagnosing glue toxicity in cats is tricky unless you’ve seen your cat eating it. The vet will perform a physical examination and might recommend conducting a complete blood count.

Treatment depends on the case severity and symptoms. Sometimes, veterinary help is unnecessary, and the symptoms resolve after a few hours.

In other cases, the vet might have to rinse the cat’s eyes with a special solution, clip exposed hair areas, administer intravenous fluids, or prescribe medications.

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