Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Planning a painting project? Remember to plan for cat safety

Eamon the cat in a room that has been painted
I can't keep Eamon out of an open window, even if the room has been freshly painted.
Since the weather has finally warmed above 70 degrees, I've embarked upon a series of painting projects. Many of the rooms upstairs need a bit of sprucing, and there's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to cover up the flaws and give the room a bit of style.

There's just one problem: The cats simply won't allow me to do the work without supervision.

They clamber over the baby gate to see why the windows are open. They sniff at the paint cans. They hide beneath the drop cloths. I can't close the door while I work, of course, or the fumes would drive me away. So instead, I spend a lot of time shooing them out, and then inspecting them for stray paint that must be washed out in the sink.

This is a serious issue. Traditional home paint is full of lung irritants and chemicals that can be deeply harmful to a cat. They are much smaller than we are, so they need to breathe less of it in order to feel ill. And if they lick traditional paint from their paws or bodies, they could get even sicker. 

Last weekend, I invested in low VOC paint. This paint is designed to cure quickly, so the "terrible paint" smell disappears rapidly. I didn't get a headache while painting, and that's a first for me. Additionally, the paint is likely much safer to use around the cats. If I am getting headaches, it's hard to imagine how much trouble they had around the paint fumes.

You can read more about low VOC paint at this link. It is more expensive than standard paint, to be sure, and I do think it streaks a bit more. But having safer air to breathe is worth it.