It’s that time of year again when we remind all cat owners about the dangers of antifreeze. Once the temperatures fall, many people use antifreeze as a way of combating ice. It’s used in car radiators and found in many screen washes and de-icers too and even ponds and other water features. Inside antifreeze is a chemical that is deadly to cats and causes multiple deaths each year, most are accidental. The chemical is ethylene glycol. It has a very sweet taste and although cats can’t taste sweetness, they do find it to be attractive.
Antifreeze is Deadly to Cats
Cats don’t need to consume a large amount of antifreeze for it to become deadly. In fact, it takes as little as one teaspoon, sometimes less. A couple of licks from a spill or around the top of the container is all it can take. If there’s a spillage on the ground and a cat walks through it they are at risk as they will consume the antifreeze through grooming. Therefore, it’s vital that cats are taken directly to the vets as soon as possible if they’re to have any chance of surviving. The chemical is broken down in the liver, creating other chemicals as a result. These chemicals cause serious harm to the kidneys and the damage is often fatal.
How Can I Tell If My Cat Has Been Poisoned by Antifreeze?
Antifreeze poisoning symptoms can take up to half an hour after ingestion to show. Then your cat might appear weak or even drunk, have sickness and seem tired. As the damage occurs the cat may urinate frequently and drink a lot of fluid. They will then quickly become very poorly and might collapse. Once at the vets, blood and urine samples will be used to establish whether ethylene glycol is the cause.
Preventing Antifreeze Poisoning
- 1.Check to see whether ethylene glycol is an ingredient in your antifreeze products. Unfortunately, almost all antifreeze products contain the chemical. Store these products away securely, just like you would for a small child.
- 2.There are screen washes and de-icers that are ethylene glycol free, so shop around and use the ones that are free from this chemical.
- 3.Clean up any spills immediately, even if it’s first thing in the morning and you’re late for work! Wipe the area clean with a wet rag and wash down with some water before safely disposing of the rag.
- 4.Consider keeping cats indoors or using cat fencing or alternative cat containment system to prevent your cat from being exposed to ethylene glycol and other risks.
- 5.If you have a cat that can wander around the neighbourhood it is worth taking the time to discuss the dangers with your neighbours. This will encourage neighbours to secure their antifreeze away safely and clean up any spills that happen.
Being aware of the dangers of antifreeze and sharing the information with friends and neighbours will help to save the lives of many cats. Be vigilant and take your cat to the vet the moment you notice any symptoms mentioned above.