We Accidentally Poison Cats

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Antifreeze

Sweet tasting ethylene glycol is sometimes added to water in fountains to prevent freezing. Cats love to drink flowing water! It easily contaminates the feet or hair if it leaks from a car radiator and under a car is a warm place for a cat to rest in cold weather. Like so many other poisons, this too causes vomiting and listlessness followed by a lack of balance, all within 12 hours. Cats require immediate and intensive treatment to manage their kidney failure.

Paracetemol

As little as 45 mg per kg of body weight can kill a cat. That’s just one of our tablets for a normal sized cat. The poisoned cat may drool, vomit and appear depressed. It can die in less than 24 hours.

Aspirin

Just 25 mg per kg of body weight can cause acute poisoning. That too is less than a single aspirin tablet for a normal sized cat. The poisoned cat may vomit, appear depressed, go off its food and rapidly develop kidney failure. Even lower doses than this, given frequently, can cause stomach ulcers and liver disease.

Ibuprofen

Around 50 mg per kg of body weight is toxic to cats. Once more, this is less than a single maximum strength human tablet. Ibuprofen also causes vomiting, lethargy and blood in vomit or the stool.

Permethrin

This common insecticide is found in many ‘over-the-counter canine flea treatments. Safe on dogs it is highly toxic to cats. One in five die. Permethrin is one of the most common causes of avoidable poisoning in cats.

DEET

Used by us on our clothing to ward off mosquitoes and other biting insects, DEET is toxic if licked by cats. Signs of poisoning include skin irritation, vomiting, tremors and excitation followed by loss of coordination, even seizures.

Phenols

Many common household disinfectants – the ones that turn cloudy when mixed with water - contain phenols. Cats ingest phenols by paw licking after walking on surfaces treated with these disinfectants.

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