Is It Toxic? 10 Things Our Cats Shouldn't Eat
Unlike dogs, cats are generally pretty good at not eating things that they aren’t supposed to. Cats are notoriously fussy eaters and aren’t keen to try anything out of the ordinary. However, it's still important to be aware of common household toxins in case our kitties should ever be exposed.
IF YOUR CAT HAS INGESTED ANY OF THE FOLLOWING, PLEASE SEEK VETERINARY ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY - WAITING CAN BE FATAL!
List of Toxins:
1. Any Human Medication- particularly antidepressants, paracetamol (Panadol) and ibuprofen (Nurofen)
Human medications should never be given to an animal unless advised by a veterinarian. Cats are smaller and metabolically different to humans, meaning that ingestion of even a small amount of seemingly harmless human medications can be toxic. Antidepressants, paracetamol and ibuprofen, in particular, should be avoided. Antidepressant ingestion can result in vomiting, seizures and death. Paracetamol can cause liver failure and red blood cell damage. Ibuprofen can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and kidney failure.
All human medications should be stored well out of reach of cats. Never assume that medication in packaging cannot be accessed by a cat - foil packages are fun to play with.
Lilies are beautiful, but they are incredibly toxic to cats. All parts of the lily plant are toxic, including the pollen. Lilies should never be kept in houses with cats for this reason.
3. Flea and tick products for Dogs containing Permethrin
Many dog flea and tick products contain permethrin, a substance highly toxic to cats. Ingestion or exposure through the skin can cause vomiting, seizures, coma and death. Never use dog flea and tick products on a cat. If you have both a dog and a cat do not use topical flea preventatives on your dog that contain permethrin, your cat may be exposed by rubbing against or licking your dog. Always read the ingredients on the label on flea and tick preventatives, even if the packet says for cats or has a picture of a cat on it.
4. Essential Oils
Essential oils such as pine oil, tea tree oil or lavender oil and many others are toxic to cats. Cats lack the liver enzyme required to metabolise many essential oils, and as a result, exposure can lead to poisoning. Essential oils should be avoided in homes with cats.
Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, both of which are toxic to cats. Ingestion of chocolate in cats can cause vomiting, abnormal heart rhythms, cardiac failure and death.
6. Rat Bait And Snail Bait
Both rat and snail bait are highly toxic to cats. Rat baits ingestion can cause uncontrollable bleeding and death. Snail bait ingestion results in seizures and death.
7. Illicit Substances
Any illicit substances including marijuana, methamphetamines, ecstasy and cocaine should not be ingested or inhaled by cats. Drug users should avoid exposing their cats to these substances. Always notify your veterinarian of potential accidental drug ingestion, you will not be reported to the police for doing so.
8. Household cleaners
Ingestion of strong household cleaners can cause oral or gastric ulceration in cats, as well as potential organ damage. When cleaning surfaces dilute strong chemicals and avoid leaving buckets or bowels of chemicals lying around.
9. Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic can result in anaemia (depletion of red blood cells) in cats. Cats should never be fed foods containing onions and garlic.
10. Grapes and Raisins
Grape and raisin ingestion can lead to kidney failure.
Every moment matters if you think your cat has been exposed to something toxic. Call your vet immediately and collect samples of vomit, stool, and the poison to take to the vet with your cat. Watch for symptoms such as breathing problems, confusion, coughing, diarrhea, seizures or vomiting.
Dr. Bethany Richards is a cat lover and the principal vet for The Lion’s Den, a premier Sydney Cattery. In her spare time, Beth cares for her foster kitten, Gracie.