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Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats

Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats

Cats can become poisoned by toxic plants, household cleaning products, and more. Today, our Poway vets explain which substances are poisonous to cats and share the signs and symptoms of cat poisoning.

Cat Poisoning

Because of their compact size, when cats consume small a amount of a poisonous substance, they can become seriously ill very quickly. Since cats are very focused on cleanliness, they most often become poisoned by licking a toxic substance off of their fur while grooming. Unlike dogs, cats are generally very fussy eaters and most likely won't consume poisonous products unless it's mixed in with their food.

Substances Poisonous To Cats

Many common household items are very toxic to cats. If you have any of the items listed below in your home, you need to keep them out of your cat's reach. Also, never give your cat human medications without consulting your veterinarian first.

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

While not a household substance, in rare cases, cats can experience secondary poisoning after eating a poisoned mouse. When mice consume a poison, it can take a couple of days to take effect, so your cat could be hunting a poisoned mouse and not know it. 

If you think your kitty has consumed any of the poisons detailed above, call your vet as quickly as possible or bring your feline companion to the closest emergency animal hospital.

How To Tell If Your Cat Has Been Poisoned

The poisoning symptoms your cat develops will depend on the nature of the substance and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or came in contact with your cat's skin. Below we have listed the most common signs and symptoms of poisoning in cats:

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

If you notice your cat exhibiting any of these symptoms, call your vet or bring them to an emergency veterinarian immediately. The sooner your cat's condition is diagnosed, the better chances the treatment has of being successful.

What To Do If You Think Your Cat May Have Been Poisoned

If you see your cat consuming a toxic substance or your cat is showing signs of poisoning, call your vet straight away. To help your vet make the fastest diagnosis possible,  provide them with as much information about the product as possible (ie: product label, leaf off of a plant, a sample of the food).

Diagnosing & Treating Cats That Have Been Poisoned

The diagnostics and treatments for cat poisoning vary depending on how your cat has been poisoned. The more information you can give your vet the better. If you don't know what made your cat ill, your vet can run a series of tests to assess your cat's condition.

How well your cat recovers from poisoning will depend on the amount of the poisonous substance your cat has been exposed to and how quickly you have gotten them to the vet for treatment. Outcomes for cats who receive early treatment for poisoning are much better than for cats who experience a long delay 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.

If you suspect your cat may have been poisoned or if they are showing any symptoms of poisoning, contact our Poway emergency vets for urgent after-hours care.

Experienced Emergency Vet Care in Poway

Animal Emergency Clinic of San Diego is a family-run after-hours and critical care hospital, providing veterinary emergency care since 1985. If your pet is experiencing an emergency, contact us to get the help your pet needs.

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Contact (858) 748-7387