How do I know if my cat has poisoned itself?

How Do I Know If My Cat Has Poisoned Itself?

The cat’s close proximity to humans makes it vulnerable to the risk of poisoning, accidental or not. If your cat has been poisoned deliberately or as a result of a combination of circumstances, its state of health can change quickly, even if it was in good health before.

The possibility of poisoning is not to be taken lightly and constitutes an absolute veterinary emergency, you must recognize it and be reactive. Let’s see together how to recognize poisoning in your cat and how to react well to this vital situation.

What Are The Signs Of Cat Poisoning?

Generally, the poisoning is manifested by digestive disorders such as sudden vomiting or diarrhea. However, other symptoms may appear and should remind you of poisoning.

These include, among others:

  • From excessive salivation,
  • vomiting,
  • Diarrhea,
  • tremors,
  • seizures,
  • general apathy,
  • breathing difficulties,
  • dilated pupils,
  • Pale mucous membranes,
  • Dark urine, etc.

How Does A Cat Poison Itself?

With Food Poisoning

What Foods?

Chocolate, onion, garlic, leek, avocado, alcohol, etc. The list of toxic foods for cats is long. While they usually won’t consume it on their own, they may accidentally ingest it when mixed with other foods they like.

This is why you should avoid giving leftovers from your meal to your feline or leaving food lying around. In addition, spoiled food is dangerous for your cat. Guided by hunger, instinct or curiosity, he could poison himself.

What Symptoms?

Onion causes vomiting, diarrhea, tachycardia, blood in the urine. Chocolate adds convulsions and a risk of heart disease, as does avocado which can also cause edema.

Alcohol is a stimulant that can cause tachycardia, but also serious damage to the liver, and even, unfortunately, the death of your animal.

With Insecticides

Which Insecticide Products?

Overdosing on pest control products is dangerous for your cat. Never use a dosage intended for a larger specimen or intended for another animal, or even a human.

You should also be wary of anti-fly stickers to stick on the windows. Your cat could ingest an insect poisoned by the product and become poisoned. As a general rule, you should always be careful with products that your feline could easily come into contact with.

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What Symptoms?

Insecticide poisoning in cats causes excessive salivation, dilated pupils, hypothermia and vomiting. At a more advanced stage, he will experience convulsions and strong muscle contractions.

With Pest Control Products

What Pest Control Products?

Rodenticides such as rat poison, but also micecides or anti-rodent products in general, are very dangerous for the cat. He will not directly consume the poison, except for exceptions.

On the other hand, your tomcat will ingest it via its poisoned prey. The rodent will be weakened by the poison and will be an ideal target for your feline, which will not think for a second of the consequences of its hunt.

What Symptoms?

These products act as anti-coagulants, so you will find traces of blood in the stool and urine. In addition, his urine will take on the color of the dye used in the composition of the poison.

Poisoning is not immediately visible. You will be able to notice it a few days later by pale mucous membranes, anorexia and an apparent weakness of your cat.

With Medication

What Drugs?

Anti-depressants, paracetamol, sleeping pills, anti-inflammatories are extremely dangerous for the cat. There is little risk of him ingesting it on his own. Medication poisonings are rather the result of owners who want to do well to treat their cats.

Unfortunately, medicines for humans are not designed to cure our felines. Never give any treatment that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. If in doubt, consult or call your veterinarian before self-medicating your hairball.

What Symptoms?

Paracetamol poisoning causes pale, yellow then blue mucous membranes, accompanied by tremors.

Ibuprofen or aspirin cause very dark diarrhea, as well as frequent urination.

With Plants

What Plants?

Ficus, lily of the valley, cyclamen, aloe, yucca, etc. There are many plants toxic to cats. Be sure to leave them out of your feline’s reach, especially if he tends to chew on the leaves in his path.

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On the other hand, you will unfortunately not be able to control the greenery ingested by your cat during his outdoor outings.

What Symptoms

Vomiting, diarrhea, esophageal burns, breathing difficulties, heart problems, the ailments your cat can suffer from with plants are numerous. Symptoms differ depending on the plant and the severity of the poisoning.

With Animal Bites Or Stings

Wasp, hornet or bumblebee stings, as well as snake bites are dangerous if they are in the mouth, near the heart or are produced in large numbers.

In the event of an insect bite, gently remove the stinger if it is still stuck in your cat’s skin.

Metabolic Dysfunction

Dysfunctions of the kidneys, liver and pancreas can cause endogenous intoxication, that is to say without the intervention of an external element. Your cat’s body is then poisoned by metabolic waste which is no longer eliminated.


It is a complication due to kidney failure. Urea is no longer eliminated in the urine and concentrates in the blood. Cat’s breath smells like urine.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

It is a complication of diabetes that occurs when insulin levels are too low. Cat’s breath smells like rotten fruit or solvent.

What To Do In Case Of Poisoning Of A Cat?

What You Should Not Do

When you suspect that your cat has been poisoned, do not give in to panic and stay calm. Do not try to treat it yourself, you risk aggravating the situation unintentionally.

Contact The Veterinarian

The first instinct to have is to contact your veterinarian, or the veterinarian on duty at weekends and on public holidays. Gather as much information as possible so that he can quickly identify the origin of the poisoning. Symptoms, packaging of toxic products, vomiting, etc. If he was able to determine the cause of the poisoning, he will tell you the first actions to take before taking your feline.

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In any case, it is advisable not to feed your cat, to keep it warm if its temperature drops (below 38 degrees) or to cool it if its temperature rises, by wetting it or using a cooling mat if you have one.

Contact A Veterinary Poison Control Center

In case of doubt or if no veterinarian is available, you can contact one of the four poison control centers set up by French veterinary schools:

  • CNITV Lyon (National Center for Veterinary Toxicological Information), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 04 78 87 10 40,
  • CAPAE Nantes (Anti Poison Animal and Environmental Center of the West), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 02 40 68 77 40,
  • CNITV Alfort, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on working days: 01 48 93 13 00,
  • CAPAT Toulouse (Animal Poison Center), from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on working days: 05 61 19 39 40.

First Aid Kit For Poisoned Cat

It is always useful to have a first aid kit handy. It will allow you to provide first aid to your cat, under the supervision of the veterinarian. Here is what it must contain to deal with poisoning:

  • A rectal thermometer (more reliable than an infrared thermometer),
  • A cooling mat,
  • Coverage,
  • An antiseptic suitable for cats to clean wounds,
  • A syringe, for administering liquids,
  • Baking soda (combats the acidity of corrosive agents in the stomach),
  • Vegetable activated charcoal (absorbs toxins in the stomach and intestine before they pass into the blood),
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide (causes cat to vomit)
  • Physiological serum to rinse the eyes,
  • Pliers to remove the stings,
  • Gauze pads.

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