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Common Poisons for Cats

Updated on January 26, 2010

Top Cat Poisons

Every year tens of thousands of pets are poisoned in the United States, most of which are caused by things that are in your house that you don't know are toxic.

We'd all like to believe that the only people who poison cats and other animals are the heartless people, but what we don't realize is that in most cases, it's the pet owners who accidentally poison their own pet.

In order to potentially prevent poisoning your cat, check out the substances below that you probably never even realized are toxic for your pet.

Just remember that depending on the substance and how much your cat ingests or inhales, how your cat is affected will vary. You may only see acute signs of problems, but you may notice neurological problems, gastrointestinal problems, respiratory concerns, coma, or death.

It's better to be prepared and knowledgeable than ignorant and suffering from the lose of your pet.

Hartz cat flea collars aren't the safest method of flea prevention
Hartz cat flea collars aren't the safest method of flea prevention

1. Human Medications: Pets have a greater sensitivity to over-the-counter medications that you may take regularly. Make sure that before you try to treat your cat at home, that you call your veterinarian to verify that the medication is ok and to get the proper dosage.

  • Non-steroid, anti-inflammatory medicines (ibuprofen and naproxen) are the most common cause of poisoning. They can cause stomach and intestinal ulcers as well as kidney damage.
  • Acetaminophen is very toxic to cats, as it can result in red blood cell damage. Try to keep any tylonal and pain killers that contain acetaminophen away from your cat, as just two extra-strength pills can be fatal.
  • Antidepressants can cause vomiting, seizures, and even serotonin syndrome, which can affect the body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure.
  • Methylphenidate is a stimulant that can raise you cat's heart rate, blood pressure. and temperature

2. Flea and Tick Products: Whether you use a topical product or a flea collar, certain products can be lethal if used on cats. Hartz is one brand that is prone to causing seizures and death among cats when using the topical drops and the flea collar. It's best that you talk to your vet about the best flea treatment. You should also be careful of choosing flea shampoos, as they can also poison your cat, if they're too strong.

3. Human Foods: Try to avoid giving your cat table scraps, as they can easily upset their little stomachs. You definitely want to avoid chocolate, caffeine, onions, garlic, chives, and dairy products.

4. Rodent Poisons: If your cat ingests and rat or mouse poisons, it can cause mild to severe reactions, and can even be fatal.

5. Pet Medications: If the dosage isn't accurate to your cat's weight, you can easily overdose your cat, but you'll find that most cases of poisoning caused by the pet's medication is going to be caused by painkillers and de-wormers.

Lilies can be deadly
Lilies can be deadly

6. Household Plants: Cats love to brush up against your plants and even nibble on them. It's not good for the plants, and it can potentially be bad for your cat.

  • Lilies can cause severe kidney failure.
  • Azaleas and rhododendrons can cause vomiting, diarrhea, coma, and death.
  • Tulips and daffodils can cause severe stomach problems, convulsions, and heart damage.
  • Sago palms can cause vomiting, seizures, and liver failure.

7. Chemicals: This may sound pretty common sense, but you don't realize what chemicals you may actually leave around the house. Make sure that antifreeze, paint thinner, house cleaners, and pool chemicals are all put away. Your cat can easily suffer chemical burns, depression, and an upset stomach.

8. House Cleaners: Like other chemicals that you may have around the house, you want to make sure that you keep them off the floor and properly contained with the lid screwed on. Cleaners can cause respiratory tract problems, stomach problems, and even burns.

9. Heavy Metals: No, the music, but metals that can be found in paint, linoleum, and batteries. Make sure that your cat isn't exposed to wet paints doesn't get a hold of anything containing a heavy metal, or he may suffer burns, gastrointestinal problems, and neurological problems.

10. Fertilizers: For outside cats, the world is filled with poisons. You want to be careful of exposing your cat to any fertilizers. When the cat walks over the lawn, then goes to groom himself, he is ingesting small particles of the fertilizer. It's just not safe.

Prevent Poisoning Your Cat

You want to pet proof your house, especially if your have a young cat or a kitten.

  • Make sure that you keep all of your medications off of the counter and in properly sealed bottles or containers. If you drop a pill on the floor, quickly grab it before your cat can get to it.
  • Make sure that you follow the directions on flea and tick products carefully, and make sure that you're using cat products on your cat. Never use dog products on your cat, the dosages may be different.
  • Make sure that you're aware as to which foods and drinks your cat can have. Keep all scraps as treats alone, and never offer your cat anything in excess. Sometimes, it's best to err on the safe side and only offer commercial cat treats.
  • Keep all pesticides, fertilizers, rodenticides, chemicals, and cleaners away and in a cabinet or high shelf. If you have a cat that spends time outside, ask your neighbors to please keep their chemicals up, as well.
  • Buy plants that are non-toxic for pets.

If you have any questions, you can call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control at 888-426-4435.

My Cat Was Poisoned

If you think that your cat was poisoned, the best thing that yo can do is to stay calm and act as quickly as you can. Grab the poison that you think your cat ingested or inhaled, and take the poison and the cat to your vet. If your vet is closed, find the nearest emergency vet.

Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed veterinarian. Consult a veterinarian if you notice feel like your cat has been poisoned.


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    • profile image

      kat eater 4 years ago

      now that i know that i can eat my kat a lot easier

    • catsong54 profile image

      catsong54 6 years ago from Pocono Mountains, PA

      I have read that Lysol can cause kidney damage. I would never use it in my house. Plants are importnat to know about. Wonder if you would consider reviewing my book, Sabrina The Autobiography of a Cat. Thanks for all your cat blogs!

    • profile image

      fitri 7 years ago

      i found my cat died in the toilet 11 hours after i went out. the cat freeze. i don't know what causes his death...

      3 days before he died, his heart rate was fast ...