Adverse Reaction in Cats to Glow Jewelry

By PetMD Editorial on Sep. 24, 2012

Dibutyl Phthalate Ingestion in Cats

Glow jewelry, which is available in the form of glow sticks, glow bracelets, glow necklaces and more, contain a chemical that glows in the dark and are particularly popular around the July 4 holiday and Halloween. However, when chewed or ingested by your cat, the chemical inside of the sticks and/or jewelry cause an intense reaction to the taste of the chemical.

This adverse reaction associated with glow jewelry can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how it affects dogs, please visit this page in the petMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

When cats bite into or ingest glow jewelry or glow sticks, the chemical dibutyl phthalate causes an intense taste reaction. Symptoms seen include:

  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Agitation/irritation
  • Vomiting (rare)

Other than the reaction to the bad taste, glow sticks and glow jewelry are generally not toxic.


It is the chemical found in glow sticks and other glow jewelry named dibutyl phthalate which may cause adverse reactions in cats and that cats find offensive.


In addition to taking the cat's medical history, a veterinarian will observe your cat for signs and symptoms associated with ingesting dibutyl phthalate.



Generally, no treatment is needed for cats that ingest glow jewelry. However, providing water or food to diminish the taste of the glow stick/jewelry can be useful in alleviating symptoms. Washing the chemical off of your cat’s fur and skin with shampoo and water is also recommended. Taking your pet into a darkened room can help you locate the chemical on your cat’s fur and skin to aid in removal.


The best way to prevent accidental ingestion is to keep glow sticks and glow jewelry out of your cat's reach.

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