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Poisons

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Cats can often eat things that they shouldn’t do, but remember:

  • what is poisonous is not always obvious! 
  • remember that many toxins are dose dependent
  • many toxins may not cause problems until hours or even days later
  • some things are toxic in cats that are not as harmful in dogs!

 

 

 

 

Some common toxins in cats include:

  • Paracetamol, even in very small quantities
  • Permethrin, found in many dog ‘spot on’ flea treatments
  • Lilies; the pollen, flowers and leaves
  • Chocolate (all kinds)
  • Onions
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Xylitol - an artificial sweetener found in many products (e.g. chewing gum) but also things like peanut butter
  • Ibruprofen, naproxen and other human pain killers
  • Rat poison
  • Slug pellets
  • Benzalkonium chloride (found in many household cleaners)

Please note this is not an exhaustive list!

 

What to do if you think your cat has been poisoned:

1.  Call the vet!

  • Special Friends during working hours of 0830-1830 Mon-Fri, and 0900-1300 on Saturdays
  • Outside of these hours, please contact either of our emergency service providers
  • You can contact also the Animal Poison Line on 01202 509000 for advice if you are uncertain (there is a charge for this service).

If concerned, we or the emergency vets will ask you to come in straight away for an appointment.  We may ask you to do this even if it is a long time since you think the cat ate the substance.

2.  Do NOT try to make the cat sick

‘Home remedies’ for making dogs sick (washing soda, salt water, Ipecac etc) are NOT recommended in any circumstance. 
This is because some poisons can permanently damage the oesophagus if they are brought back up, but also there is a high risk of the cat breathing in the vomit which can cause a fatal pneumonia.

We may recommend making the cat sick if admitted, but this is using a safe, licenced injection designed to work directly on the brain, rather than just by irritating the stomach. Your pet will be continuously monitored whilst this is happening so that aspiration of vomit cannot occur.

You can try and wash off any substances that are on the coat but this must be with water ONLY, and is not a substitute for coming to the vet.

3.  Bring any packaging of the substance with you

We can best help your cat if we know exactly what they have eaten, how much and when.
If there is packaging (or even a similar packet of the same substance) we can more accurately work out the risk to your cat and how to treat it.
If you cannot find the packaging, getting to the vet quickly is still the most important thing.