Cat World > Cat Health > Poisoning in Cats - Common Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Poisoning in Cats - Common Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

poisoning in catsDespite cats being fairly picky about what they consume, sadly there are still a high number who succumb to poisoning at some point in their life. Almost all poisonings are life threatening and require immediate veterinary attention if your cat is to stand any chance.

Poisoning may be accidental, such as a cat eating something he shouldn't, or having something spilled onto his coat, which he then licks off, or deliberate (feeding the cat baited food etc).

There are a number of common causes of poisoning in cats, some of which include:

  • Snail bait

  • Plants (lily is a notoriously dangerous plant to cats and even the smallest amount can be fatal)

  • Antifreeze

  • Certain foods, especially human foods can cause toxicity in cats. Common foods include onion, garlic, tomato, and chocolate.

  • Medications such as aspirin. Only ever give your cat medication your veterinarian has prescribed and never give medications for other animals or humans.

  • Insecticides

  • Lead

  • Rodenticide poisoning, cats who hunt may become poisoned by eating prey which has been poisoned.

  • Snake bite (or insect, spider etc)

Symptoms of poisoning in cats:

Symptoms may vary somewhat depending on the poison ingested but may include:

Treatment of poisoning in cats:

If you suspect your cat has been poisoned, seek veterinary attention immediately. Where possible, bring along a sample of the poison.

Treatment will depend on the cause of poisoning, but may include:

  • Induce vomiting to prevent further absorption of the poison.

  • If pumping the stomach is not possible, your vet may choose to pump the stomach instead.

  • Activated charcoal will be given to absorb the remaining poison.

  • If your cat is having seizures, he may be given anti-seizure medication to bring them under control.

  • If muscle tremors are occurring, muscle relaxants such as diazepam may be administered.

  • Fluid therapy to control acidosis (high levels of acid in the blood), and correct dehydration. This also helps to flush out any remaining poison.

  • Administration of ethanol as soon as possible in the event of antifreeze poisoning.

How to avoid poisoning in cats:

  • Keep all chemicals out of the way of your cat.

  • Don't feed your cat human foods.

  • If you have houseplants, make sure they are not toxic to your cat.

  • Don't give your medications to pets.

  • Make sure you notify any pest control people that you have pets when the house is sprayed. They will be able to offer "pet-friendly" alternatives.

  • Prevent your cat from free roaming and hunting.