Cat Poisoning

Cats are curious by nature. Because of their curious nature, it is easy for cats to ingest poisons that can cause them to become very ill. Without proper treatment, a cat could die from poisoning.

Cat owners should be conscious of the types of materials around the home that can poison a cat. Household chemicals, plants, trees and shrubs can all cause a cat to become ill. When you think your cat has ingested a poisonous material, it is helpful to your vet if you can inform what has made the cat sick. If your cat goes outdoors, sometimes it is impossible to know what the cat has taken in. Here are some typical plants and household chemicals that can make your cat ill.

There are certain plants, trees and shrubs that can cause your cat to vomit, become dehydrated and have diarrhea. Sometimes when a cat eats a toxic plant, they can foam at the mouth or have some drooling followed by a craving to drink lots of water. Their mouth can become red and irritated. In rare cases, a cat can fall into a coma and die.

Plants around your house can be a danger to your cat. Sometimes a cat does not even have to ingest the plant, but can have exposure on their skin, causing irritations. Fig plants, chrysanthemums, poinsettias can all create reactions in cats. Most of the time these three kinds of plants will only cause skin irritation. More extreme reactions such as staggering, swelling of the mouth and general weakness are caused by household plants such as Boston ivy, arrowhead vine, caladiums, elephant's ear, heart leaf, peace lily and dumb cane plants.

If your cat has consumed a great amount of amaryllis, ivy, azalea, spider mum and creeping Charlie plants or flowers, you can expect a more serious reaction. These plants, among others, can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors and heart and respiratory ailments. It will be necessary to consult your vet if you cat has ingested any toxic plants.

Outdoor plants can also be many of the same risks as some of the indoor plants. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, dirrhea, vomiting, dehydration, pain, and weakness, breathing difficulties and seizures and convulsions. Some of these plants and shrubs include larkspur, skunkweed, daffodils, foxglove, castor bean, almond plants, wild cherry, English holly, spinach, rhubarb, Jasmine, and pigweed. Other plants that can pose your cat to experience hallucinations are marijuana, nutmeg, peyote, and morning glories.

Chemicals and cleaners found around the house are also cause for concern. Cats can ingest a toxic chemical and become very ill quickly. A common poison for cats is antifreeze. They like the taste and will lick it off of the garage floor from a puddle. Antifreeze can cause seizures and if enough is ingested, can kill a cat. Other common poisons found around the house are rat poisons, and insect sprays and treatments. If you treat your home with insecticides it is very important to keep your cat away from the treated area for several hours. In addition, if you spray the inside of your home, thoroughly wash the cat's food and water bowls to clean off any residue from the insecticide. Other common household items that can make a cat ill include bleach, alcohol, gasoline, turpentine, lead, acid, garbage waste and paint. Toads and salamanders can also cause cats to become very ill. If your cat eats a toad or salamander, it will be evident by excessive foaming at the mouth and drooling. Also, it is important to remember that if your cat eats a bird, insect or rat that has been infected by a poison, it is likely that your cat will become ill, as well.

If you think your cat has been poisoned, the best thing you can do is contact the National Animal Poison Control Center immediately. There are many different treatments for poisons and they can help guide you in what direction you should take. A vet will most likely attempt to make the cat vomit. This will remove the poisonous toxins from your cat's body. Sometimes a toxin is on the fur, such as turpentine or gasoline. In this case, the cat should be washed; mineral and vegetable oil are both helpful for removing such toxins. If your cat starts to convulse, has difficulty breathing, or seems to be unconscious, it is likely that the toxin is affecting his nervous system. If you observe these systems, your cat must be taken to medical care immediately as they are in serious danger.