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Signs of Poisoning in Cats

Signs of Poisoning in Cats

While it isn't too common for cats to suffer poisoning as a result of ingesting food that is toxic to them, it is not impossible, and owners should know what safety precautions to take. Here, our Nashua vets outline the substances in and around your house - from houseplants to human foods - to keep away from your kitty.

Cat Poisoning

Cats, being compact animals, are highly susceptible to the harmful effects of even small amounts of poisonous substances. The primary cause of poisoning in cats is often the ingestion of substances present on their fur, as they spend a significant amount of time grooming themselves.

Unlike dogs, cats are generally selective eaters, and it is uncommon for them to consume poisonous food unless it is mixed in with their regular meals.

However, it is important to exercise caution when using traps and poisons for rodents, as a cat can suffer severe consequences, including death, from consuming a poisoned mouse.

Household Substances That Are Poisonous To Cats

There are a huge number of everyday items that are extremely toxic to cats. If you have any of the items listed below in your home, be sure to store them out of your cat's reach, and never give your cat medications without consulting your veterinarian first. 

  • Antifreeze 
  • Bleach
  • Weed killers
  • Pest control chemicals
  • Disinfectants
  • Detergent 
  • Salt Lamps
  • Lilies
  • Ibuprofen (painkiller)
  • Acetaminophen  (painkiller)
  • Dog flea and tick medications
  • Spring flowering bulbs
  • Grapes
  • Chocolate
  • Alcohol
  • Xylitol
  • Onions
  • Garlic

Signs & Symptoms of Cat Poisoning

There's a vast range of substances that are toxic to cats, and symptoms of a poisoned cat will depend on the nature of the substance and whether it has been ingested, inhaled, or come in contact with your cat's skin. Here are some of the most common signs that your cat has been poisoned:

  • Salivation / Drooling
  • Coughing
  • Diarrhea and Vomiting
  • Twitching or seizure
  • Breathing difficulties (rapid or labored)
  • Coma
  • Skin inflammation or swelling
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shock or collapse
  • Unsteady gait
  • Depression / Lethargy
  • Excessive drinking, urinating
  • Jaundice
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Overall weakness
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite

What To Do If Your Cat Shows Signs Of Poisoning

If you witness your cat ingesting a toxic substance or notice signs of poisoning, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. To aid in a swift and accurate diagnosis, gather as much information as possible about the product involved (such as the product label), collect a leaf from the plant, or provide a sample of the food your cat may have consumed.

Diagnosis & Treatment of Poisoning in Cats

The diagnosis and treatment of your cat's poisoning will depend on the specific circumstances. It is important to provide your vet with as much information as possible. If you're unsure about the cause of your cat's illness, your vet can conduct tests to evaluate their condition.

The recovery process from poisoning is influenced by the amount of toxic substance your cat has been exposed to and how promptly they receive treatment from the vet. Cats who are treated early for poisoning tend to have better outcomes compared to those who experience delays in receiving treatment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
Do you suspect your cat has ingested something they shouldn't have? Contact our Nashua veterinary team immediately to get your kitty medical attention.

Welcoming Referrals and Emergency Walk-Ins

Animal Medical Center of New England welcomes emergency walk-ins and appointments when your pet needs us most. Our team of specialists is also accepting referrals from primary care veterinarians - fill out a referral form to get started.


Contact (603) 821-7222