A guide to cat poisons in the home

Keeping your cat safe at home seems an easy task yet there are poisons in the home which are potentially fatal. So we have written a guide to all toxins found in homes around the UK to help owners keep there feline friends safe.

Black and Grey Short Coat Medium Cat

Human foods

Chocolate is delicious, most of us would agree, and there is usually plenty of it lying around our homes but it can actually be lethal to cats. Many people realise how dangerous our favourite treat is for dogs, but for cats it seems to be less known. The caffeine and theobromine found in chocolate cause the damage in cats. Milk chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and baking chocolate can be especially dangerous.

Similarly other foods, which seem harmless can be very harmful. For example, if a cat were to eat garlic or onions it can destroy red blood cells and cause a form of anaemia.

The best way to avoid this is keep cats away from any food you are preparing and ensure nothing is left out for your cats to nibble on, even if it is just for a short while. Keep all food covered or in the fridge.

Plants and flowers

Some of you might know that lilies are toxic to cats, but remember this isn’t just if they eat the flower directly, a cat might brush past the flower get pollen on their coat and eat the pollen when they groom themselves later. This poisoning can cause renal failure, which is a serious condition.

Yet lilies are not the only flowers that can trigger illness in our cats – aloe vera, avocado and eucalyptus are all toxic. You can find a full list of harmful plants here.

Ensure you keep all household plants up high and out of reach of cats, and tidy up any fallen leaves. Outside of the house, ensure there are no poisonous plants within the areas of access to cats and keep any plants away from the cat’s drinking water.

Cat, Shadows, Feline, Resting, Indoors, Kitchen, Table

Cleaning products

Meanwhile, there are plenty of household cleaning products that are not suitable for cats and could cause them to be ill. Phenol is a chemical commonly found in cleaning products which is dangerous to the health of cats. For this reason, all cleaning products should be kept in a cupboard away from cats. Substances such as concentrated washing liquids can burn the paws and skin if cats walk through them, while even beauty products such as nail polish and suntan lotion can cause harm.

But it is possible to buy cat-friendly cleaning products from pet stores and some of the big cleaning brands such as Mr Muscle now sell a pet friendly range.

Other toxins

Other poisons include human medicine (such as paracetamol), antifreeze and dog flea treatment.

Symptoms your cat has been poisoned

  • Confused/uncoordinated movements
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting/diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fitting/seizures
  • Swollen paws or face
  • Depression

If you think your cat has been poisoned

  • Stay calm – remove your cats from the source of the poison
  • If the poison is on the cat’s fur prevent your cat from grooming himself and try and wash the poison off with shampoo
  • Call your vet immediately

Follow us @CPBrighton or visit our Facebook page for more kitty info. Have you seen The Brighton Meow? Based in Brighton and Hove the blog, run by Cats Protection Brighton and District, provides local cats news, feline facts and all info on cat related events.

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24 thoughts on “A guide to cat poisons in the home

  1. niasunset says:

    This is another important subject for house cats, dear Marc, Thank you for this. Once we have experienced with a plant in the home. But vet saved our cat’s life. Now, I don’t have any plant without asking and checking… Have a nice day, Love, nia

  2. Cheryl-Lynn says:

    Oh my goodness!! thank you for this. I received lilies for Mother`s Day and kept them outside on the patio and although my cat never goes out I almost brought the lilies inside…the only reason I don’t have plants is she chews every flower and leaves…so I keep bouquets I get as gifts in my bedroom with the door closed. Guess I did the right thing.

  3. aorcat says:

    That’s very helpful. Would you mind if I translate to Thai language and post in my blog. I will also add your blog link for credit.

  4. puzzlesofthesoul says:

    This is a good list of things to avoid. I try to use as much as possible bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to clean with. Also was the floors with a little washing liquid and mint or rosemary and salt. I have done this since they were kittens. I am very reluctant to use chemicals not just for my cats but also myself. As far as foods go, my cats do not like what I eat and I have stopped using garlic and onion in my own food. Thanks.

  5. Pingback: Household Cat Hazards (Re-Blog) – My Life With Cats

  6. Carole says:

    I had no idea about eucalyptus although I knew about some of the others. I’m wondering now if the eucalyptus logs that we have in the cat enclosure are a bad idea. They’re from a tree that we had cut down. No leaves, just thick logs for them to climb on.

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    Great post. Important information here! Sometimes people send a vase of cut flowers, often with lilies, and I have to put it outside. Cut flowers can be very toxic, not only from the plant standpoint, but also the fungicides and pesticides they are sprayed with in the greenhouse.

  8. lawjic says:

    Just another outstanding post replete with urgent and very important information. Please never overlook the danger in toxic house plants. They can kill a cat more quickly than most other things. Watch the cat. If you they drool or vomit nonstop, do not take a chance: assume they got into something and get them to URGENT CARE or your local veterinarian ASAP.

    Also, do not feed the cat any chocolates. I think it is worse on dogs, but chocolate is not for your best furry friend! It would be wise to keep a copy of these toxins. Also, I am almost positive Marc has posted many infographics on this very topic. He realizes just how cats get into everything and sometimes will eat poison. His advise is worth every penny you just paid him.

    What? Did you not know he expected a large PayPal payment? He has your names!

  9. Pingback: A guide to cat poisons in the home – Rattiesforeverworldpresscom

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