Your home is also your cat’s home, where your feline family member reaps the benefits of warmth, love and security. Be aware, however, that inside your home lurks a host of toxic substances that can spell disaster if they fall into the wrong paws. Just as one baby proofs a home, the same must be done for your furry friend.
Poison Control for Cats Guidelines
Here are ten toxic substances that need to be relegated away from your cat’s access.
Flea and Tick Prevention for Cats
All too often, pet owners make the mistake of applying their small dog’s flea and tick preventative product on their cat. Unlike the feline variations, canine preventatives contain either pyrethrins or synthetic forms of pyrethrins, which are collectively known as pyrethroids. One of the most common pyrethroids is called permethrin. Cats are not able to safely metabolize these chemical compounds, and the result is a fatal toxic reaction that affects the cat’s nervous system. Symptoms of pyrethrin toxicity in cats include diminished coordination, muscle tremors, twitching, excessive salivation and seizure activity. Death will occur if veterinary emergency treatment is not sought immediately.
Antifreeze Poisoning for Cats
Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol, and pets are drawn to the sweet flavor of antifreeze. Sampling a mere teaspoon of the substance can prove deadly for a cat when kidney failure develops within one to two days after ingestion. Initial signs of antifreeze toxicity include vomiting, drooling, staggering and depression, followed by loss of appetite and dehydration. Death will occur if immediate veterinary care is not pursued.
Poisonous Plants for Cats
Much of the flora that makes your home and garden beautiful is perilous to your your kitty. Kidney failure results if a cat consumes a poisonous plant. Depending on the plant, even small amounts can pose a toxic threat. Lilies are among the most deadly blooms. Symptoms of plant toxicity include vomiting, lethargy, increased water intake and increased urinary output. Some plants contain oxalate crystals, which can irritate a cat’s oral cavity. Signs of such irritation include excessive salivation and licking. Prompt veterinary treatment is crucial to avert advanced stage kidney failure once a cat has ingested any poisonous plant. Find here a listing of poisonous plants for cats.
Things that are Poisonous to Cats
Never administer any pain relievers from your own medicine cabinet to your cat. Feline physiology is not designed to metabolize these drugs, which include acetaminophen, naproxen and ibuprofen. Likewise, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that a veterinarian prescribed for your dog are hazardous to your cat. Ingestion of any pain relieving medication that is not specifically prescribed for your cat by a veterinarian results in destroyed red blood cells, anemia, stomach ulcers, kidney failure and liver failure. Signs of such toxicity include lethargy, weakness, vomiting, increased water intake and increased urinary output. Immediate veterinary intervention and treatment are imperative in attempting to save the cat’s life.
Household Cleaning Products – Toxins in Household Products
Household cleaning products, including toilet bowl cleaners, over cleaners, carpet cleaners and kitchen and bath surface cleaners, contain dangerous chemicals that are toxic to cats. Some cleaners contain caustic agents, which can inflict even more damage. Whether your cat took a few sips from the toilet bowl or walked on a surface that was still damp with the cleaner and then proceeded to lick the product off of the paws, signs such as oral ulcerations, vomiting and excessive salivation must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.
Glow Sticks and Glow Jewelry
Refrain from engaging your cat in evening play with a neon glow stick. Glow sticks and glow jewelry contain dibutyl phthalate, which can cause respiratory paralysis and death if enough of the substance is ingested. Fortunately, this chemical tastes unpleasant to most cats, and they abandon the source of the flavor almost immediately upon biting into it. If your cat bites into a glow stick, signs such as excessive salivation, agitation and vomiting may occur in response to the flavor. Owners may attempt to diffuse the taste by offering their cats a favored canned food. The symptoms usually pass after a few minutes. If they persist beyond that, err on the side of caution and contact your veterinarian.
Rat Poison in Cats – Rodenticide
Most poisons that are used to eliminate rats and mice contain anticoagulants, such as warfarin. Anticoagulants deplete vitamin K, which plays an essential role in blood clotting. The result in rats is internal hemorrhaging, and your cat is equally susceptible to these effects. The signs that a cat has ingested a rodenticide vary, depending on which part of the cat’s body is initially affected. If the lungs are affected, labored breathing and coughing occur. Neurological symptoms present if the brain or spinal cord are affected. If your cat has ingested a rodenticide, prompt and aggressive veterinary care is imperative to avert a deadly hemorrhage.
Venlafaxine, an antidepressant drug that is also sold under the brand name Effexor, has a flavor that seems to appeal to cats. If your kitty has discovered this dangerous snack, symptoms of toxicity include increased heart and respiratory rates, pupil dilation, agitation, twitching, diminished coordination and seizure activity. These signs can occur at anytime within the first eight hours after consumption. In all cases of accidental ingestion of medications, including antidepressants, blood pressure medications and pain relievers, immediate veterinary attention is imperative.
Liquid potpourri products contain essential oils and cationic detergents, a double dose of toxicity for cats. Whether a cat laps the chemicals directly from the potpourri dish or licks some spilt liquid potpourri off of its fur, severe oral and gastrointestinal irritation and inflammation occurs. If a cat is grooming the substance off of its paw and swipes the paw over an eye, corneal injuries can result from the ocular exposure. Seek veterinary attention for symptomatic relief and treatment if your cat has consumed liquid potpourri.
Lawn and Garden Care Products
Fertilizers, insecticides and herbicides all contain various toxic ingredients that can affect your cat in a number of detrimental ways. Keep all such products securely stowed away from your cat’s access, and remove your shoes before entering the home after treating the lawn and garden. If your cat goes outdoors, be sure that the applied products have dried thoroughly before allowing your kitty to commune with nature. If you suspect that your cat has been exposed to any lawn or garden care products, contact your veterinarian at once.
There are three essential things to keep in mind when it comes to toxicity in cats. Remember that cats are jumpers and climbers, and they can access items that you may have thought were out of reach. Secondly, keep the telephone number for the Pet Poison Helpline on your refrigerator and in your cellular phone. Lastly, do not ever attempt to induce vomiting without first consulting with your veterinarian. Many toxins are caustic substances that can inflict further harm to your cat if they are vomited.
Familiarizing yourself with the common toxins that are harmful to cats and keeping all such substances away from your kitty’s reach will help to ensure a safe home environment for your feline friend. Want to learn more about poison control for dogs as well? Go here poison control for dogs.