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Cat Poisoning Symptoms: Has My Cat Been Poisoned?

Cats are curious little critters that like to explore things like plants and cabinets. This can lead to our feline friends eating things they aren't supposed to, and potential poisoning as a result. Here, our Baltimore vets discuss the symptoms of poisoning in cats and how to know if your cat has eaten something toxic.

Cat Poisoning

Due to the fact that cats are so compact, even small amounts of poisonous substances can make them very sick quickly. The most common cause of poisoning in cats is from ingestion of substances on their fur becuase they spend the majority if their time grooming themselves. Unlike dogs, cats are typically very fussy eaters and it is uncommon for cats to consume a poisonous food product unless it's mixed in with their food. That being said, be careful when leaving out traps and poison for rodents because a cat can die from eating a poisoned mouse.

Household Substances That Are Poisonous To Cats

There are a huge number of everyday items that are extremely toxic to cats. If you have any of the items listed below in your home, be sure to store them out of your cat's reach, and never give your cat medications without consulting your veterinarian first. 

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

Signs & Symptoms of Cat Poisoning

There's a vast range of substances that are toxic to cats, and symptoms of a poisoned cat will depend on the nature of the substance and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or come in contact with your cat's skin. Here are some of the most common signs that your cat has been poisoned:

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

What To Do If Your Cat Shows Signs Of Poisoning

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

Diagnosis & Treatment of Poisoning in Cats

Depending on how your cat has been poisoned, diagnosis and treatment will vary. The more information you can provide your vet the better. If you don't know what has caused your cat to become ill, your vet can run a series of tests to assess your cat's condition.

Recovery from poisoning will greatly depend on how much 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 that your cat has eaten something toxic to them, or if they are displaying symptoms of poisoning, contact our Baltimore team immediately or your closest emergency animal hospital.

Caring for Pets in Baltimore

Falls Road Animal Hospital accepts new clients to our specialty services and 24/7 emergency services.

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