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Important information for Cat and Dog owners. Permethrin: don't put your cat at risk

08 October 2014
Important information for Cat and Dog owners. Permethrin: don Accidental poisoning of cats with over the counter, permethrin-containing flea products, usually when flea products intended for dogs are applied to cats, is happening far too frequently with often fatal consequences.

Cats Protection supports the call for permethrin-containing products to be re-licensed by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) from general sales to restricted sales only, whereby they can only be obtained through a vet, pharmacist or suitably qualified person. This will enable adequate safety information about permethrin-containing products to be given to the purchaser at the point of sale, warning them of the dangers to cats.

Cats are extremely specialised hunters, quite different from dogs and their digestive tracts have evolved to suit this. The difference in their diets may be responsible for the unique sensitivity of cats to a number of chemicals, including some of the permethrin-containing flea products intended for dogs. Cats lack a specific enzyme called glucoronyl transferase which helps many other species to break down certain chemicals. The chemical permethrin is broken down by the liver, and it is thought the difference in metabolism is what leaves cats so very sensitive to it, causing them acute neurological problems, with limited treatment options. Exposure to even tiny quantities of the concentrated form of the drug can sadly have fatal consequences in cats.

The recent decision by one of the leading pet healthcare brands to withdraw their permethrin-containing products from supermarket shelves and request reclassification by the VMD is great news for cats. Cats Protection hopes that all permethrin-containing products both in the UK and abroad follow suit, reducing the risks of this unnecessary danger to cats.

The veterinary medicines directorate (VMD) have put together a very informative piece about the dangers of using spot on flea treatments containing the substance Permethrin, on cats. To access the document please click here

For further advice please speak with your veterinary surgeon, and for further information please click on the links below.
  • Caring for your cat - Leaflet - Download
  • Flea Control - The Cat magazine extract - Download
  • Poisons - The Cat magazine extract - Download
  • International cat care - Protect against permethrin poisoning campaign - Visit the site