Amazon parcels do not pose widespread risk to cats

6 October 2021
What was claimed

Amazon sprays all its packaging with toxic pesticides that can be harmful to cats.

Our verdict

This is not true. This claim originates from another social media post which has since been deleted. Amazon says it doesn’t spray its packaging with toxic pesticides and that its boxes are no different than most other card packaging.

A Facebook post claims that all Amazon boxes are sprayed with toxic pesticides to kill rodents that can cause chemical burns on the tongues of cats, as well as a number of other potential symptoms including fever, lethargy and shallow breathing.

The post includes a photo of what appears to be a cat’s tongue with swollen red marks. Text alongside says: “Emergency medical intervention will be necessary, in all cases, to prevent certain death” and warns cat owners to wash their hands anytime they handle Amazon boxes and keep the boxes far away from cats. 

Amazon does not spray all its boxes with toxic pesticides 

Similar stories appeared around December 2020 across social media. American fact checking organisation Snopes investigated the claim, tracing it back to a woman called Alicia Plant as the person who first shared the pictures of the injured cat. 

Ms Plant had alleged her cat received chemical burns after it licked Amazon boxes. Snopes contacted Ms Plant who said she had deleted the photo from social media and the matter was being handled between her and the retailer. A spokesperson for Amazon at the time told Snopes that Amazon did not have a policy of spraying boxes with rodenticide or insecticide, stating it uses the same boxes that “every other manufacturer uses.”

Amazon has confirmed this is still the case as of 5 October 2021. 

Snopes also reported that Amazon “could not rule out the possibility that Amazon boxes could be cross-contaminated by chemicals from other sources, such as disinfectants used to clean out airplane holds or rodenticides used at various warehouse storage facilities around the world.”

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because Amazon does not spray its packaging with toxic pesticides. The claim originates from a post on social media which was later deleted.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.