Your cat is curious and can get into things they shouldn’t. His exploration may expose him to some not-so-obvious dangers in your home. There are many harmful substances and poisonous foods for cats that your feline friend might come across in their lifetime, so it’s important that you know which to keep out of their reach in the home.
What to do if your cat is poisoned
If you think your pet has been poisoned, it’s important to contact your veterinarian or call a pet poison helpline immediately. The ASPCA Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) and the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) are available 24/7, year round (consultation fees may apply). Accurate and timely identification of the suspected substance is very important. Having the container, package, or label in hand will save valuable time and may save the life of your pet.
Following are the top 10 deadly substances found in or near the home:
Ingestion of many human foods, such as grapes, onions, raisins, avocados, and chewing gum that contains a sweetening chemical called xylitol, can be severely disabling to a cat. Chocolate—especially baker’s chocolate—is particularly dangerous, since it contains chemicals that can potentially cause abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, depression, and seizures.
Some human over-the-counter and prescription medicines pose serious threats to cats, including: Cancer medicines, Cold medicines, Diet pills, Pain relievers (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen) and Vitamins. Cats are apt to swallow pills that have been left on night stands or counter tops or have been accidentally dropped on the floor.
Although created for household animals, such preparations as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heartworm preventatives, antibiotics, and nutritional supplements can be toxic if improperly administered.
Indoor and outdoor plants.
Lilies, tulips, and philodendron are among hundreds of plants that are known to be poisonous to cats. Ingesting just a small leaf of some common ornamental plants such as poinsettias could be enough to make a cat ill, and could prove fatal.
Fertilizer products generally contain nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P) and potassium (K) compounds. They may be in liquid, granular or solid form and contain additives such as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Since fertilizers are usually a combination of ingredients, the effects of ingestion may vary.
Rodenticides (rat or mouse bait).
These are a common cause of cat poisoning. Most rodent poisons use anti-coagulants that kill the animals by causing uncontrollable bleeding. These baits are designed to attract animals so consider the use of them very carefully and try to use alternatives where possible.
Antifreeze (ethylene glycol).
Antifreeze is a common cause of poisoning in Cats. Cats will seek out antifreeze as they find its smell and taste appealing. A lethal dose of antifreeze is 1.5 ml/kg.
Products such as bleach, detergents, and disinfectants can cause severe gastrointestinal and respiratory tract distress if swallowed by a cat.
Lead, which can be found in paint, linoleum, and batteries, can be poisonous if eaten by your cat. If ingested, lead can cause gastrointestinal and neurological problems.
The chemicals in mothballs can be toxic to cats if inhaled or ingested. Mothballs slowly release a gas vapor that kills and repels moths and other insects. There are several insecticides used in mothballs, but naphthalene is the most toxic.
When in doubt, when it comes to an accidental pet poisoning, it’s always safer and less expensive to seek treatment immediately. Keep in mind that you can’t induce vomiting in cats at home safely, so most of the time, an emergency visit is a must.