Hazardous Tires – Do Tires Threaten Your Cats Health?

Yes, car tires can be quite toxic for cats. Tires must be disposed of as it is hazardous material. Hazardous chemicals in rubber tires can pose a serious threat if eaten by cats such as mood change, nausea, and vomiting.

We know that there is nothing pet owners want more than making sure their pets are in great condition and living in a safe space.

One of the animals that have caught quite the attention is feral cats. A viral post showed cat shelters made of tires, and everyone is wondering if it is safe to do this.

This article aims to provide the answers that you seek.

Are rubber tires toxic to cats?

Generally, car tires contain toxic substances that may pose a major health risk to people and animals. However, there are times when rubber tires aren’t toxic to pets, even cats.

Old tires are quite safe due to the loss of harmful chemicals found in them.

From these old tires or rubber mulch, recycled tires with less or zero toxicity can be made. This crumb rubber is perfect for pet maintenance and gardening.

In essence, as long as the tire rubber is old, it is not toxic to cats.

Are car tires toxic to animals?

The structural makeup of rubber makes it toxic to both animals and humans. It contains synthetic chemicals that cause health problems when in contact with aquatic organisms.

For instance, car tires have water-soluble compounds and heavy metals that are capable of leaching into the water and becoming toxic to animals living in such an environment. It may even get as bad as killing them.

More so, this material contains benzene, mercury, styrene-butadiene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and arsenic compounds, including several other chemicals that may endanger health when it undergoes thermal decomposition.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these are cancer heavy metals and known carcinogen solvents that emit gases into the air, which are toxic to life.

Indeed, car tires are toxic to animals.

How do you make a cat house out of old tires?

The safety of cats is guaranteed with old tires, which makes it possible to build a DIY shelter for them. So, suppose you have stray cats, here is a step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect shelter for them.

Step 1: Get Your Tires

The first step to building DIY stray cat shelters is getting your two tires from a source.

There are many places where you can find old tires – you may have some in your garage, or visit a recycle shop to get good ones.

Wherever you may have to visit to get them, the main thing is to make sure they do not contain toxic chemicals that would affect the health of your animals.

Step 2: Drill Small Holes

When you have the two tires, the next thing to do is work on them in an open area – on the ground.

Here, you will need to make incisions or drill small holes at two points of the tire. The reason is so that you can prepare entry points for your cats.

You can either make use of a knife or a screwdriver to drill holes into each tire.

Step 3: Cut the Tires

With small holes already made into the tires, the next phase is cutting into decent sizes.

You can use a small saw to cut right outside the tire until you have entry and exit points in both tires.

You would have to smoothen the area you cut a piece from with a grinder.

Step 4: Make a Plywood Cover

Then, you can make a cover out of plywood and encase it with the tire. This would offer great protection on sunny and rainy days.

Step 5: House Your Cats

Finally, you can put your cats into their new house.

What happens if my cat eats rubber?

If you have a cat companion, there are so many things you would discover about them.

One is that they are smart and know what is good and what isn’t for them.

Another is their curiosity.

Cats are curious animals and many times, you often find them checking or trying out new things. It may be good for them and they can easily adopt it, or worse and pose health risks.

Supposing your cat eats rubber bands, tires, or any other foreign item, it would make their endocrine disruptive.

Naturally, the material contains toxic chemicals that have negative health effects. In worst cases, it could result in Intussusception, i.e., obstruction in the intestines.

So, depending on how much they consume, you may have to seek medical help.

Some symptoms they are likely to encounter after eating rubber include – mood change, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite, restlessness, diarrhea, fever, dehydration, and choking (irritability and dilated pupils).

The reason is that the material contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and cannot be processed ordinarily like meat.

Are tires safe to repurpose?

Tires are not environmentally-friendly when disposed of or burned. They have the potential to release certain harmful substances to the environment due to the chemicals in their structural makeup.

However, they can be repurposed to meet certain needs.

You won’t need just any tireold tires are best preferred because they are safe.

Old tires can be recycled to make houses for cats, dogs, and other animals.

They can also be used to pile up landfills, and design outdoor playgrounds – for instance, to make a tire swing for kids.

Frequently Asked Questions


If you have an old tire, you might just need to put in a little work and repurpose it for something beneficial to you. You could make DIY cat shelters or dog houses with it, or set up a nice play area for kids.

Old tires are safe – they do not harm your kittens or dogs in any way.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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