Many common household plants are cat poisonsIt’s amazing (and somewhat scary) to realize just how many household and yard hazards there are for your cats. Cats are naturally curious, and many of them have the athletic prowess of Olympic athletes, so it’s important to be especially aware of just what those common cat poisons are.

Your friends at Blue Valley Animal Hospital love our cat companions, so we thought it high time that we explore this topic a bit further.  

The Cat’s Meow

Many think that cats are finicky eaters and therefore less prone to ingesting a toxic substance. It may surprise you to know that there are several factors that may cause cats to become even more ill than dogs, once exposed to a small amount of a poisonous substance. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Their small size
  • Fastidious grooming
  • Natural curiosity
  • Their habit of hiding when ill

Common Cat Poisons

In addition, cats lack a liver enzyme that makes it more difficult for their bodies to metabolize toxic substances. This makes them even more sensitive to small amounts of chemicals and toxins.

Here are five common cat poisons to watch for in your home and yard.

Human and pet medications – With any accidental medication ingestion, veterinary care is imperative. Many common human medications, such as Advil and Tylenol, are extremely toxic to cats. In addition, some medications that are safe for dogs can cause severe toxicity in cats, such as some topical flea and tick medications. Keep all medications out of pets’ reach, and keep pet prescriptions separate from one another.

Plants – Plants in your yard and inside may pose a hazard for your cat. True lilies, including Tiger, Day, Japanese Snow, and Easter lilies, are among the most toxic to cats and are often included in many floral arrangements. Even ingesting two or three petals or the pollen can result in serious and sometimes irreversible kidney failure. Take a look at the ASPCA list of poisonous plants to protect your cat from other common cat poisons in your yard.

Insecticides – We already touched on this, but a common cat poison is topical flea and tick medication meant for dogs. Cats can become affected when owners either mistakenly apply this directly to the cat, or the cat licks the medication off the dog who lives with them. Keep cats separate for 24 hours after application, and make sure that these topicals are stored away from cat medications, so they are not mixed up. Other insecticides include lawn and garden products.

Household cleaners – Does your cat like to help you clean? Our kitty companions are so helpful and curious, but it’s important to keep them away from household cleaners that can cause irritation of the respiratory tract or toxicity if ingested. Symptoms can include profuse drooling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and even organ damage.

Essential oils and liquid potpourri – These toxicities have become more common as the use of essential oils in the home has grown more popular. There are several oils that are highly toxic to cats, and because cats groom so often, diffusers that spread microdroplets of essential oils into the air can be ingested. Keep all diffusers and other essential oils, like liquid potpourri, far from cats.

What to Do if Your Cat Has Been Poisoned

If your cat has been exposed to any of these common cat poisons or other toxic substances, don’t hesitate. Contact us or the emergency clinic immediately, and seek veterinary care as soon as possible.

If there is a chemical on your cat’s coat, remove their collar and wrap them in a towel to prevent them from licking the chemical off. Don’t bathe your cat without direction from your veterinarian, as sometimes bathing can actually spread the chemical and cause more absorption.

If your cat has eaten something toxic and is foaming at the mouth or drooling profusely, give a small amount of tuna water or chicken broth to remove the bitter taste from their mouth before heading to the veterinarian.

As always, we’re here to help. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health.