As cat caregivers we must keep them in a safe environment to ensure their well-being, which includes keeping them away from possible toxins.
In this SoyUnGato article we will talk about common poisonings and how to prevent them. Remember that when in doubt, it is better to be safe than sorry.
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Poisonings in kittens
Cats are curious animals by nature, which can lead them to become intoxicated both by ingestion and by topical contact with harmful substances. Also, unfortunately, some cats are poisoned on purpose .
Any suspicion that the cat may have been poisoned is a reason for urgent veterinary consultation. If we know the poison, we must inform the vet. For some, there are antidotes, but for others, only supportive treatment can be offered, administering fluids and drugs to control the symptoms.
Symptoms of poisoning in a cat
The following symptoms may indicate that the cat has been poisoned:
- Breathing difficulties / coughing fits.
- Lack of coordination.
- Loss of consciousness
- Abdominal pain.
- Pale mucous membranes or cyanosis, that is, they acquire a bluish color.
- Sudden death.
Contact poisoning in cats
This type of poisoning occurs when a harmful substance comes into contact with the cat’s fur or skin. If we see it, we can put on gloves and wash the area with plenty of warm water to remove the product and prevent it from being absorbed. Cold or hot water can increase this absorption . Afterwards, it is very important to keep the cat warm because hypothermia also increases toxicity. We will also go to the vet.
A typical example is poisoning from coming into contact with a deworming pipette with an active ingredient that is toxic to cats. This happens if we apply a pipette not suitable for felines or if it is stained with one that we have put on the dog. Even if the cat licks its own pipette, it could become intoxicated.
Products against ants, termites or any other insect can poison a cat by contact or by ingestion. Beware of using any insecticide in an attempt to kill fleas or ticks. Only veterinary products are suitable and safe for this use.
Also, any commonly used cleaner can be toxic. The passage of these products through the digestive system will cause burns and even perforations, in addition to symptoms such as those described if ingested.
Drug poisoning in cats
It is difficult for a cat to eat a drug but it could happen that, unintentionally, we make the wrong medication or we administer a higher dose than that prescribed by the veterinarian when we are treating it for a disease.
We can also poison our cat if we give it some medicine for human use . Many caregivers still think that the drugs they self-medicate with will have the same beneficial effect on their cat. In addition, as in many cases they can be obtained without a prescription, they are perceived as harmless. The reality is that drugs commonly used in humans can kill a cat.
The characteristic of these toxins is that they affect coagulation, causing bleeding, not immediately, but a few days after ingestion . If the cat hunts, it could become intoxicated by ingesting a poisoned mouse.
Treatment may include blood transfusion and the administration of vitamin K, essential for clotting, even for several weeks. We insist that if we suspect that the cat has ingested rodenticides we must go to the vet even if it does not present symptoms, since bleeding can begin in 48 hours.
These products have a sweet taste, which can be attractive to the cat. Normally this poisoning occurs when a vehicle leaks antifreeze and the cat has access to lick it.
The damage that it produces mainly concerns the brain and kidneys and can be so serious that it causes the death of the cat in just a few hours. The kidney damage may be irreversible in survivors.
Poisoning in cats from poisoned food
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people prepare toxic food with some kind of poison and dispose of it in places that cats can access. Other times it is baits with the intention of eliminating snails, slugs, cockroaches, moles or other animals.
The baits are designed to be tasty and some even have the same appearance as the feed, which makes it easier for the cat to eat it . Those who manage to survive these poisonings may be left with sequelae.
If the poisoning is intentional, we must take a sample and bring it to the attention of the competent authorities together with the cat’s veterinary report so that the corresponding disciplinary proceedings can be initiated.
Toxic food from the garbage that is in poor condition or the remains of decomposing corpses release toxins that, when ingested by the cat, can cause intoxication. Foods that are part of the normal diet of humans can also be harmful, so it is not recommended to include leftovers in the cat’s diet.
Poisoning in kittens by plants
It is not uncommon for cats to chew and eat plants so we must find out if the ones we have at home can poison them. In addition to the symptoms we have described, contact with some plants can cause skin irritation.
If we discover that we have toxic plants for our cat indoors or in the garden, we will have to get rid of them or make sure that we can place them somewhere that the cat does not have access, to avoid scares. If you like plants we can offer you catnip .
The following measures are aimed at preventing our cat from becoming intoxicated:
- Prevent access to the outside.
- Do not encourage hunting.
- Keep all toxic products tightly closed and out of reach of the cat, bearing in mind that it is capable of reaching great heights.
- Remove dangerous plants.
- Close the garbage cans well.
- Do not offer leftovers.
- Use only drugs and antiparasitics prescribed by the veterinarian and in the recommended doses.