Common Poisons Your Cat Can Get into and Signs of Poisoning

Posted on: 18 June 2015


If you own a cat, then you likely have concerns about their curiosity getting the best of them. This is especially true if you own a cat that you allow outdoors in addition to the inside of your home. Many toxins exist that can be harmful to your feline, from garden chemicals and pesticides in your garage to seemingly harmless houseplants you keep indoors. If your cat is poisoned, you need to act quickly to get them to an animal hospital so they have the greatest chance of recovery. Here are common poisons you should watch out for that might attract your cat, and the signs you should be able to recognize as poisoning so you can get them the help you need.

Common poisons for cats

Common indoor poisons for cats are cleaning chemicals, such as bleach and detergents. Many household plants, including poinsettias and aloe plants, are also toxic, yet cats often like to taste or chew on colorful leaves. If you have dog flea and tick medications or collars, keep them out of reach of your cats as well.

Outdoor poisons include antifreeze, herbicides, and insect or rodent killing sprays and pellets. In the winter, de-icing salts can pose a problem as well when granules get licked off your feline's feet. Try to keep all poisonous items away from your cat to avoid accidental inhalation and poisoning.

Signs your cat is poisoned

A cat has a very sensitive filtration system, which means their kidneys or liver can fail after even a few hours of toxic exposure. For this reason, it's important to recognize that your cat has been poisoned as soon as it happens. Signs of poisoning in your cat include

  • lethargic or lazy appearance
  • wheezing or gagging
  • inability to respond when called or tempted with food
  • drooling or vomiting
  • diarrhea or bloody stools

If you feel your cat may have been poisoned, look at their gums. Gray, white, or even light pink gums are a sign of kidney and liver failure, which can mean that your cat has been poisoned. Even if your cat appears fine, if you ever suspect  poisoning get them to an animal hospital like Howard County Animal Hospital right away so they can be evaluated. With a poisoning situation in felines especially, every moment counts in order to save fragile lives.

An animal hospital vet or technician can educate you on the possible toxins that exist in your home. They can also give you the professional care you need should you suspect a cat poisoning, and help you learn other signs your cat may be ill as well. The more you know about your feline's environment and the possible toxins they can get into, the more you can protect them.