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Tuesday, December 9, 2014
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Discover the signs and symptoms of poisoning and find out what you should do if you think your cat has been poisoned.

There are a number of everyday household items that can be poisonous to cats, so as they are inquisitive animals it's important to keep them out of their reach. This visual guide lists some common cat poisons, explains what the symptoms of poisoning are and what to do.

Most importantly, if you suspect your cat has ingested poison, take them to a vet immediately.

Guide to recognising the signs of cat poisoning

Common cat poisons

Spot On dog flea treatments: Never use a dog treatment on a cat. Some dog flea treatments contain concentrated permethrin insecticide, which is highly toxic to cats. Cats can even be poisoned simply through contact with any dogs that have been recently treated with flea spot on products containing concentrated permethrin, so read labels and take care.

Human medicines: Common painkillers such as ibuprofen, aspirin and paracetamol can be deadly – just one paracetamol tablet can be enough to cause severe illness or even death.

Antifreeze: Antifreeze is lethal to cats – ingestion of just a small amount can lead to kidney failure and death.

Household chemicals: Disinfectants (particularly those containing phenol, which usually go cloudy when added to water) and decorating agents like white spirit are toxic to cats. Pest control such as slug pellets, insecticides, weed killers and rodent bait are also very dangerous.

Lilies: A number of plants can be toxic to cats, but lilies in particular can be lethal. Cats have been poisoned by simply brushing against toxic plants and then licking the pollen from their fur, so avoid them altogether. You can see a full list of plants that are dangerous to cats on International Cat Care’s website.

Human foods: Certain human foods including onions, raisins, coffee and chocolate can poison your cat. It’s also worth noting that although it’s not poisonous, a common food intolerance in cats is to lactose in milk.

The symptoms of poisoning

The symptoms of poisoning can vary, but the most common signs are:

 

What to do if you think your cat has been poisoned

 

Prevention is better than a visit to the vets so keep poisonous substances out of cats’ reach as anything that gets on your cat’s feet or fur is likely to be ingested when they are grooming. Potentially toxic items should ideally stored in a sealed container or closed cupboard or shed.

This list and advice is not exhaustive. For further advice please consult your vet; and to find out more about keeping your cat safe read our leaflet.

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