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Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats

Cats don't often ingest toxic substances. However, it is important to know the signs to watch for. Our Los Angeles veterinary team is dedicated to helping you recognize harmful substances in and around your home and the symptoms of cat poisoning.

The Dangers of Poisoning

Cats are known for their small size, which makes them vulnerable to serious illness from even trace amounts of toxic substances. Grooming is a favorite pastime for cats, but it can also cause poisoning if they consume harmful substances found on their fur. Cats, unlike dogs, are picky eaters and are unlikely to eat poisonous food unless it is disguised in their meals. We are often asked, 'What happens if a cat eats a poisoned mouse?' and 'Can a cat die from eating a poisoned mouse?' As a precaution, be careful when putting out traps or poison to control rodents, as a cat's ingestion of a poisoned mouse could be fatal. If you find yourself asking, 'How can I tell if my cat has been poisoned?' please read on. We offer a range of causes and symptoms to help you determine the answer to this question.

What substances are poisonous to cats?

Having a cat as a pet comes with its own set of responsibilities. One important aspect is to ensure your feline friend's safety from toxic substances commonly found in households.

A wide array of everyday items can prove hazardous to cats, and keeping them out of reach is crucial. To prevent accidental ingestion, store these items securely, and always consult your veterinarian before administering any medication to your cat.

Here, we list some toxic substances commonly found in the home. It's important to remember that this is not an exhaustive list. Many other substances are toxic to cats.

  • 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 My Cat Has Been Poisoned

Cats are extremely sensitive to the toxic effects of various substances. If you have a poisoned cat, the symptoms can vary depending on the substance and method of exposure (ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact). To assist you in determining whether your cat has been poisoned, here are the common symptoms:

  • 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

Steps to Take if Your Cat Shows Signs of Poisoning

If you see your feline ingesting a potentially harmful substance or exhibiting poisoning symptoms, seek veterinary attention immediately. To aid in a prompt diagnosis, bring as much relevant information about the substance as possible, such as the product label, a piece of the plant, or a sample of the food.

Diagnosing & Treating Poisoning in Cats

The diagnosis and treatment for your feline friend's poisoning will vary depending on the type of poison consumed. By providing your veterinarian with as much information as possible, you can ensure the best possible outcome for your pet. In cases where the cause of poisoning is unknown, your veterinarian may administer many tests to determine the cause.

What is the prognosis for poisoning in cats?

Time is of the essence when it comes to treating a cat for poisoning. The quicker you act and seek veterinary care, the better the chances for a full recovery. The severity of the poisoning will also depend on the amount of the toxic substance consumed. Early treatment can make all the difference in ensuring a positive outcome for your furry friend.

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.

Has your cat ingested a toxic substance, or are they showing signs of poisoning? Contact our Los Angeles veterinary hospital right away for urgent care.

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