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Symptoms of Cat Poisoning

Cat poisonings are rare, but they do happen on occasion. From household cleaners to toxic house plants, our Blountville vets explain some common substances that are poisonous to cats, how to tell if a cat has been poisoned, and the treatment options available for cat poisonings.

Cat Poisoning

Because of their small size, cats can become ill quickly if they come into contact with even trace amounts of poison. Because of their excessive attention to cleanliness, the most common cause of poisoning in cats is ingestion from licking toxic substances off their fur while grooming themselves. Cats, unlike dogs, are typically picky eaters, and they are unlikely to consume a poisonous food product unless it is mixed in with their food.

Household Substances Poisonous To Cats

A large number of common household items are extremely toxic to cats. If you have any of the following items in your home, keep them out of your cat's reach. You should also never give your cat medications without first consulting your veterinarian.

  • Antifreeze 
  • Pest control chemicals
  • Weed killers
  • Detergent 
  • Disinfectants
  • Bleach
  • Spring flowering bulbs
  • Lilies
  • Ibuprofen (painkiller)
  • Acetaminophen  (painkiller)
  • Dog flea and tick medications
  • Salt Lamps
  • Xylitol
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Secondary Rodenticide Exposure

A common concern among cat owners is what happens if their cat eats a poisoned mouse.

Cats may suffer secondary poisoning if they eat a poisoned mouse. When mice consume a poison, it can take a few days to take effect, so your cat may be hunting a poisoned mouse without realizing it.

When a cat eats a mouse or other rodent that has consumed baited poison, there is a good chance that the rodent's body contains insufficient poison to harm a healthy adult cat. However, if the cat is very young, very old, or has underlying medical issues, there may be consequences.

If your cat has eaten a poisoned mouse, contact your vet or your nearest emergency vet right away for specific instructions.

Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats

There are numerous toxic substances that can harm cats, and the symptoms of poisoning vary depending on the substance and whether it was ingested, inhaled, or came into contact with your cat's skin. The following are some of the most common signs that your cat has been poisoned:

  • Salivation / Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Twitching or seizure
  • Breathing difficulties (rapid or labored)
  • Coughing
  • Shock or collapse
  • Skin inflammation or swelling
  • Depression / Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Unsteady gait
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive drinking & urinating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Overall weakness
  • Fever
  • Jaundice

What To Do If Your Cat Shows Signs Of Poisoning

If you notice your cat consuming a toxic substance or exhibiting signs of poisoning, contact your veterinarian immediately. To assist your veterinarian in making the quickest diagnosis possible, bring as much information about the product as possible (for example, product label, plant leaf, food sample. etc...).

Can cats recover from poisoning?

Yes, they can. However, depending on how your cat was poisoned, diagnosis and treatment will differ. The more information you can give your veterinarian, the better. If you don't know what made your cat sick, your veterinarian can perform tests to determine the cat’s condition.

Recovery from poisoning is heavily dependent on how much of the poisonous substance your cat was exposed to and how quickly you took them to the vet for treatment. Cats who receive early treatment for poisoning have far better outcomes than cats who wait a long time before receiving treatment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you concerned that your cat has been poisoned? Contact our Blountville vets right away to have your cat looked after immediately.

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Airport Pet Emergency Clinic is open weekday evenings, overnight, weekends and holidays to provide your pet with urgent care when needed. Our experienced Blountville vets are passionate about caring for companion animals.

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Contact (423) 279-0574