While cat poisonings are relatively rare, they do happen. From household cleaners to toxic house plants, here's more from our Memphis vets on substances that are poisonous to cats, and what to do if you suspect your cat has been poisoned.
Due to their compact size, when cats encounter even small amounts of poisonous substances they can quickly become very ill. Their excessive attention to cleanliness means that the most common cause of poisoning in cats is ingestion by licking toxic substances off their fur while they're grooming themselves. Unlike dogs, cats are typically very fussy eaters and it is uncommon for cats to consume a poisonous food product, unless it's mixed in with their food.
Household Substances That Are Poisonous To Cats
There are huge number of everyday items that are extremely toxic to cats. If you have any of the items listed below in your home, be sure to store them out of your cat's reach, and never give your cat medications without consulting your veterinarian first.
- Pest control chemicals
- Weed killers
- Spring flowering bulbs
- Ibuprofen (painkiller)
- Acetaminophen (painkiller)
- Dog flea and tick medications
- Salt Lamps
Signs & Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats
There's a vast range of substances that are toxic to cats, and symptoms of poisoning will depend on the nature of the substance and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or come in contact with your cat's skin. Here are some of the most common signs that your cat has been poisoned:
- Salivation / Drooling
- Twitching or seizure
- Breathing difficulties (rapid or labored)
- Shock or collapse
- Skin inflammation or swelling
- Depression / Lethargy
- Unsteady gait
- Abdominal pain
- Excessive drinking, urinating and
- Loss of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
- Overall weakness
What To Do If Your Cat Shows Signs Of Poisoning
If you see your cat consuming a toxic substance or your cat is showing signs of poisoning call your vet immediately. To help your vet make the quickest diagnosis possible, bring along as much information about the product as possible, (ie: product label, leaf off of plant, sample of the food).
Diagnosis & Treatment of Plant Poisoning in Cats
Depending on how your cat has been poisoned diagnosis and treatment will vary. The more information you can provide your vet the better. If you don't know what has caused your cat to become ill, your vet can run a series of tests to assess your cat's condition.
Recovery from poisoning will greatly depend on how much of the poisonous substance your cat has been exposed to and how quickly you have gotten them to the vet for treatment. Outcomes for cats who receive early treatment for poisoning are much better than for cats who experience a long delay before receiving treatment.