Many substances in or around the home are poisonous to your cat. You need to be careful about keeping the environment you live in safe for your beloved feline companion.
Many over-the-counter and prescription human medications are poisonous to cats. Some human foods, such as grapes, raisins, and chocolate, are also dangerous. As a general rule, do not keep plants or bouquets in your home for your curious cat to nibble on.
The best way to protect your pet from being poisoned is to prevent exposure to toxic substances. Check out this enlightening article if you want to know the top ten poisonous items for cats.
What Are the 10 Most Common Cat Poisons?
There are a plethora of ways your curious feline can ingest a poisonous substance or item in your home. Ingesting a noxious substance is one of the means they can be poisoned. Your cat can also be poisoned if they groom themselves and have a toxic substance on their fur or if they eat a poisoned rodent or bird.
Many plants are toxic to cats, and some human food should be off-limits to them. There are also poisonous cleaning chemicals, but you can find alternative products. The following includes the most common cat poisons that can be found in the home:
1) Anti-Inflammatory Drugs Without Steroids
Anti-inflammatory drugs without steroids are common perpetrators for poisoning cats. Medications that you regularly take for pain relief may not be safe for your cat. In fact, only two NSAIDs are FDA approved for felines: meloxicam and robenacoxib.
Meloxicam is approved as a one-time-only medication used after spaying, neutering, or orthopedic surgery.
Robenacoxib is also permitted for the same reason. Both drugs are for short-term use, and you should never give your cat more than one dose of these medications. At this time, there are no NSAIDs appropriate for continuing use in cats.
Cats are susceptible to NSAID poisoning, which can seriously harm their liver or kidneys.
Cats do not have as many cellular pathways to metabolize aspirin. It takes longer to expel salicylates from their bodies than humans or dogs, and they do not process aspirin efficiently. Since they cannot metabolize it quickly enough, they are more susceptible to experiencing toxicity. Aspirin ingestion can cause neurologic disease such as seizures and can seriously damage the liver or kidneys.
3) Poisonous Plants
Cats are attracted to greenery and pretty, colorful flowers. Unfortunately, countless plants and flowers frequently found in the home are toxic to felines. These include tulips, daffodils, lilies, and philodendrons. Foxglove and Japanese Yew are also poisonous to feisty felines. Certain flowers are incredibly poisonous to cats, including the following types of lilies:
- Western lilies
- Tiger lilies
- Stargazer lilies
- Red lilies
- Easter lilies
The above varieties of lilies can cause kidney failure with just a small ingestion. Both lily of the valley and flame lily are toxic to cats and dogs as well. It can cause abnormal heart rhythm, which can be life-threatening. Other symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and loss of appetite.
4) Household Cleaners
When using cleaning products, ensure you read the labels carefully, as the ingredients that make them efficient, such as disinfectants, are also toxic to cats. The following include some of the cleaning products that are toxic to cats:
- Air fresheners
There are some great alternative products you can switch in place of products, including ammonia. One of the best is called Method All Purpose Floor Cleaner. You could also make use of vinegar as an alternative to bleach. It is an excellent disinfectant, efficient against viruses and mold bacteria.
Castile soap is another viable alternative to bleach. It is a multipurpose cleaner that can assist you in getting just about anything clean. It is vegetable based and all-natural, not to mention safe for use around children and pets.
For some reason, cats are drawn to human antidepressants. They like the taste and smell. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors seem to be their drug of choice. Some of the common antidepressants cats seem to be curious about are:
All of the above are quite poisonous to cats. However, SSRIs are not the only antidepressants toxic to cats. A newer category of drugs known as selective serotonin, norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like Cymbalta, Effexor, and Pristiq are also poisonous.
Veterinarians sometimes prescribe Prozac to treat various behavioral disorders in dogs and cats. However, the dose is minimal compared to a human dose. Never give your cat Prozac unless a veterinarian specifically prescribes it.
Medications commonly prescribed for ADD and ADHD, like Adderall and Ritalin, are highly poisonous to dogs and cats. It can cause hyperactivity, elevated heartbeat, and hypertension. The good news is that if they are treated quickly, the prognosis is good for those cats who get into these drugs. Treatment for both antidepressant poisoning and amphetamine poisoning is similar.
7) Foods for Humans
Withstand the urge to share your cuisine with your feline. As complicated as it may be, do not allow your feline companion to feast on certain foods. Some human foodstuffs are toxic to felines, and you should be cautious not to leave them around:
- Alcohol – Wine, beer, and liquor are all toxic to cats. Most alcohol contains ethanol and grain, which harm cats and dogs.
- Chocolate – contains caffeine and theobromine, which are toxic to cats and dogs. The darker the chocolate, the more detrimental it is to felines.
- Grapes and raisins – No one knows exactly why these fruits are toxic to cats and dogs, but it could be due to them not being able to metabolize the tannins.
- Onions and garlic – Any food in the Allium group is noxious to felines. Compared to humans, cats and dogs are more susceptible to red blood cell impairment, resulting in anemia.
Yeast dough is also toxic to felines and canines. It can rise and trigger a gas build-up in your pet’s stomach, which causes severe bloating and abdominal pain. The stomach can potentially twist and become a life-threatening situation.
If your cat ingests insecticides that kill insects and other pests in the home or garden area, it can make them extremely sick. Federal and state regulations have made insecticides safer for cats, but insecticide or pesticide toxicity is still a genuine possibility.
Indicators of insecticide poisoning in cats take place in multiple systems in their body. Symptoms can be severe enough that these systems can fail.
9) Rat Poison
Rat poison is meant to kill rats and rodents in and around the home. Symptoms of rat poisoning toxicity may not be present for up to three days, and there is often severe kidney damage, neurologic changes, or bleeding before rodenticide toxicity is uncovered. Cats may also eat a rodent that has been poisoned with rodenticide.
The symptoms of rat poisoning toxicity depend on what type of poison was ingested and the amount eaten. Some of these poisons contain chemicals like warfarin and stimulate internal bleeding and kidney failure, making them incredibly dangerous for cats and dogs.
10) Canine Flea and Tick Medications
Poisoning can occur if your cat ingests a topical product; even a little bit can have fatal consequences. The main ingredient, pyrethrin, is unsafe for cats. Poisoning symptoms can occur within minutes, but it could also be hours before your cat shows any signs.
Cats can become poisoned even if they lay with a dog with flea and tick medicine applied to them, as it takes 24 hours to dry. You should never use dog flea and tick products on cats.
What Are The Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats?
A cat that has been poisoned or ingested something toxic may show a variety of different symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
- Diarrhea or off-color, oddly-textured stool
- Incoordination or dizziness
- Increase in hunger and thirst
- Decrease in appetite
- Seizures or tremors
- Difficulty breathing
These are just some of the many symptoms of poison ingestion in cats. If you think your cat may have ingested a toxin, contact your emergency veterinarian immediately.
Many common poisons can harm your cat or even be lethal to them. If you suspect your cat has consumed something poisonous, take them to the emergency vet immediately. If there is no time, call Animal Poison Control.
For cats in Wilmington, Delaware, Wilmington Animal Hospital is here to serve you and your pet. Give us a call at (302) 762-2694 or schedule an appointment today!