Common Poisonings in Cats (cont.)

The Top Ten Poisonings in Cats

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, these are most common poisonings that occur among cats.

  1. Permethrin insecticides designed for dogs; never use dog flea and tick products on cats!
  2. Other topical insecticides; follow directions carefully.
  3. Venlafaxine, a human antidepressant that goes by the brand name Effexor; apparently, cats are attracted to the capsules.
  4. Glow jewelry and sticks; the liquid inside is mildly toxic.
  5. Lilies; virtually all varieties of lilies can lead to kidney failure.
  6. Liquid potpourri; cats may lick this or clean it off their paws after stepping in it.
  7. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, including ibuprofen and aspirin.
  8. Acetaminophen (Tylenol); even one tablet can be fatal.
  9. Anticoagulant rodenticides; cats may eat these or may eat rodents who have the poison in their system.
  10. Amphetamines; even very small amounts are serious.

General Treatment of Poisoning

When signs of poisoning develop, the most important consideration is to get your cat to the nearest emergency veterinary facility at once. If possible, find the poison and bring the container with you. This provides the emergency personnel with an immediate diagnosis and expedites treatment.

If the cat has ingested the substance recently, residual poison is often present in his stomach. An initial and most important step is to rid the cat's stomach of any remaining poison. The most effective way to empty the stomach is to pass a stomach tube, remove as much of the stomach contents as possible, and then wash the stomach out with large volumes of water. This must be done by your veterinarian.

In many cases, it is preferable to induce vomiting at the scene rather than proceed directly to the veterinary hospital. For example, if you see the cat swallow the poisonous substance, it is obviously best to make the cat vomit it right back up. Similarly, if the poison was ingested within two hours but it will take 30 minutes or longer to get to a veterinary facility, it is frequently advisable to induce vomiting at home. However,

DO NOT induce vomiting

  • If the cat has already vomited
  • If the cat is in a stupor, breathing with difficulty, or shows any sign of neurological involvement
  • If the cat is unconscious or convulsing
  • If the cat has swallowed an acid, alkali, cleaning solution, household chemical, or petroleum product
  • If the cat has swallowed a sharp object that could lodge in the esophagus or perforate the stomach
  • If the label on the product says, “Do not induce vomiting”