15 Pet Poisons You May Not Know Are In Your Home

Take a look around your house. To you it seems pretty safe, right? Taking a closer look, it might not be as safe as you think it is- for your cats at least. The truth is that there are a seemingly countless number of feline poisons just inside your house. Some of these poisons are ones you might not think are toxic to your cat(s).

To help you identify some household poisons you may have in your house we’ve made a condensed list. This is not a full list by any means, just the top poisons to your cat. To view the full list, visit the Pet Poison Helpline.

Plants

While flowers and herbs around the house can add a nice aroma and aesthetic, sadly there are many florals that can be quite toxic to cats. The best way to avoid feline poisoning due to flowers is to prevent any poisonous plant to coming into your home. You can also make friends and family aware of these poisons so they can avoid accidentally sending these flowers to you.

Here are some of the top plant-based poisons to cats.

1. Lilies

If you’re a cat owner, please don’t have lilies in your house. Even a few digested pieces of the flower, leaf, or even licking the pollen of a lily can cause severe kidney failure. While all lilies are poisonous to some degree, the most toxic are the “true” lilies. The lilies that are from the Lilium and Hemerocallis family include, but are not limited to: Easter, stargazer, Asiatic, wood, Japanese Show, red, tiger, rubrum, Western, and daylilies.

If your cat has ingested any part of a lily, including the water it sits in or its pollen, seek immediate medical attention. You can always call us, or you can go straight to an emergency center. Knowing the type of lily can also help in creating a  treatment plan.

2. Daffodils

Cats who have eaten daffodils may experience vomiting, diarrhea, pain, and more. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control, the bulb of the daffodil is the most poisonous part. The bulb is covered in crystals that can cause severe tissue irritation.

Speak to your cat’s veterinarian if your cat has eaten a daffodil.

3. Tulips

Similar to daffodils, the bulb of the tulip is the most poisonous part of the plant. Any contact with the bulb may cause irritation to the mouth and esophagus. Symptoms may present themselves with excessive drooling, vomiting or diarrhea.

Talk to your veterinarian if you believe your cat has ingested a tulip, particularly the bulb.

Medications

Medications appear multiple times on the Pet Poison Helpline’s Top 10 Pet Poisons for cats. Most often, cats ingest medication when it falls onto the floor. Avoiding the potential poisoning due to medication can be as simple as keeping your medicine(s) secure in their bottles. You can even place them in a medicine cabinet or on a shelf where your cat can’t reach it. Do not give any medications to your cat before consulting with your veterinarian.

Here are some of the top medicine-based poisons to cats.

1. Antidepressants

If your cat were to ingest any type of antidepressant you may see moderate to severe symptoms. These symptoms, according to the Pet Poison Helpline, may include sedation, panting, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and more.

If you believe your cat has accidentally ingested a pill of yours seeks veterinary attention sooner rather than later.

2. Anti-inflammatory

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, like Ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, can be potentially life-threatening to cats. Small ingestion of an anti-inflammatory medication could potentially lead to stomach ulcers, which would cause vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, weakness, loss of appetite, or more. Should your cat ingest a large amount of anti-inflammatory medications it could lead to life-threatening issues.

Seek immediate medical attention if your cat ingests anti-inflammatory medications. Never, even if you believe your cat is in pain, give your cat an NSAID!

3. Stimulants

Medicines that help with ADD/ADHA, like legal forms of amphetamines, can cause a variety of issues if ingested by your cat. Some of these issues could be cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a few of these signs may appear as aggression, increased heart rate, vomiting, diarrhea, panting and more.

Speak with your veterinarian if you believe your cat has ingested any stimulant medications.

Foods

While cats are generally less likely to indulge in poisonous foods in contrast to their canine counterpart, the Pet Poison Helpline reported that foods, notably onions and garlic, made it onto the top 10 most frequent call list for cats. The best way to avoid the potential food poisoning to your cat is by first not offering people food to your cat unless her veterinarian OK’s it first. Another thing you can do at home is to make sure your cat can’t get into any food items that may be laying around your home.

Here are some of the food-based poisons to your cat.

1. Onions & Garlic

As previously mentioned, the Pet Poison Helpline received enough calls about cats eating onions or garlic for them to both appear on the Top 10 list. Fortunately, the severity of the poisoning is generally mild to moderate. However, it is possible that the poisoning could be life-threatening. Cats, in general, are more sensitive to garlic and onions. Additionally, garlic is said to be 5-times a potent as onions. With that being said, common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, elevated heart and respiratory rates, pale gums, and more.

If you believe your cat has eaten either onions or garlic, speak to your veterinarian right away. Symptoms may not begin to present themselves for several days after ingestion.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine products like coffee, tea, chocolate, soda, and energy drinks all possess a potential risk for feline poisoning. A small amount of ingestion, like one or two licks, will unlikely cause serious damage. The real concern comes when your cat eats unused coffee beans, coffee grounds, and  tea bags. Since cats are hypersensitive to caffeine, symptoms may present themselves as restlessness, hyperactivity, and an elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Vomiting, seizure, and more are also possible.

If your cat has ingested any form of caffeine speak with her veterinarian or bring her in for an exam.

3. Alcohol

Between cats lapping beverages out of the glass to licking up spilled cocktails, alcohol poisoning is fairly common in pets. The consumption of unbaked yeast dough, alcoholic desserts, and other surprising places alcohol may appear is as equally toxic to cats. Symptoms may present themselves as vomiting, depression, in-coordination, or weakness. Severe symptoms you may not directly notice would be low blood sugar levels, low blood pressure, and low body temperature.

If your cat has had alcohol or items containing alcohol contact your veterinarian immediately to schedule an exam.

Chemicals & Cleaners

Kitchen, bathroom, and laundry cleaners can be quite toxic to your cat. It is crucial to know the dangers of these household cleaners and keep them locked away safe from your cat. Another way to prevent potential poisonings is to immediately clean up any spills, as your cat could possibly walk through the cleaner and then lick it off when he grooms himself.

Here are some chemical and cleaner-based poisons to your cat.

1. Detergent

Poisonings from detergent are typically cause corrosive injuries, meaning injuries to the eyes, skin and esophagus that could cause tissue injuries due to contact with an acid. As previously mentioned, poisoning by detergents most frequently happens after walking through a spillage, followed by licking or chewing the detergent off the cat’s fur, paws, or skin. With that being said, the most common symptoms include drooling, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, lethargy, and more.

If you believe your cat is poisoned due to detergents, call your veterinarian immediately.

2. Flea & Tick Medication

The second most common call the Pet Poison Helpline receives about potential cat poisonings.The ingredient in flea and tick products that causes cats to become poisoned is pyrethrin. Cats are extremely sensitive to pyrethrins. Pyrethrins are used in over-the-counter dog and some cat products. Hartz products are an example of this. With that being said, always avoid applying dog treatments to your cat, even if the weight on the packaging for dogs is how much your cat weights. If you have a dog in your house, try to separate your cat(s) and dog(s) for 12-24 hours after applying the treatments. This will reduce the risk of your cat becoming poisoned with your dog’s treatments.

There are safe flea and tick alternatives that don’t use pyrethrins. These products are available through your veterinarian.

Signs of toxicity include excessive drooling, seizures, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and more. Speak with your veterinarian immediately if you believe your cat has ingested or come into contact with flea & tick medications meant for dogs.

3. Antifreeze

Most antifreeze products contain ethylene glycol, which is extremely toxic to pets. In fact, just a teaspoon of antifreeze is fatal to cats. Symptoms of poisoning may present themselves in waves with progressing symptoms like vomiting, excessive thirst or urination, in-coordination, seizures, coma, and more.

If your cat has been exposed to antifreeze that contains ethylene glycol, seek immediate medical attention. According to Pet Poison Helpline, cats need to be administered an anecdote within three hours of exposure for chance of survival.

Household

Items that may seem second nature to have around the house may actually be quite poisonous to pets. The best thing you can do to avoid the potential household poisoning is to familiarize yourself with a full list and avoid these items. If they are unavoidable, try and keep the poisonous items out of your cat’s reach.

Here are some of the household-based poisons to your cat.

1. Essential Oils

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control, essential oils are poisonous to cats. The severity of toxicity is said to fluctuate significantly. Poisoning by essential oils can occur with ingestion as well as inhalation. Symptoms of poisoning may include drooling, vomiting, respiratory distress, liver failure, and more can occur depending on the type of oil used and how it was diffused. Make sure to never apply essential oils to your cat’s fur or skin!

Before using essential oils in your home, talk with your veterinarian. Another way you can avoid poisoning from essential oils is to use them in a space where your cat doesn’t go. Speak with your veterinarian if you’re concerned about poisoning.

2. Mouse & Rat Poison

The difficult parts about mouse/rat poisons (rodenticides) is that there are different types. Identifying symptoms and treatment options is completely dependent on the type of rodenticide your cat was exposed to. Generally, symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, nose bleeds, weakness, abnormal pupil size, decreased consciousness, seizures, paralysis, shock, difficulty breathing, and even death.

If you believe your cat has ingested rodenticides, seek immediate medical attention from your veterinarian. Make sure you know which type of rodenticide your cat ingested as, previously mentioned, this will affect treatment options.

3. Mothballs

The way mothballs work is by slowly releasing gas vapors into the air. There are two types of mothballs: naphthalene or PDB. Naphthalene, or the old-fashioned type, mothballs are the most toxic form. While the newer, PDB type are less toxic, they are still poisonous to cats. Symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, excessive thirst, tremors, seizures, coma, and death.

If you believe your cat has been exposed to mothball do not hesitate to seek medical attention, as cats are extremely sensitive to the toxicity of mothballs.

In Conclusion

This is only a fraction of the poisons that your cat may be exposed to in your home. While the list is very long, please don’t feel the need to throw everything in your home out. You just have to “cat-proof” your house to help keep them safe.

For a full list of household poisons, visit the Pet Poison Helpline or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control.

If you’re concerned about a potential poisoning contact your cat’s regular veterinarian or emergency facility immediately. You can also contact either the helpline or poison control to talk about poisoning. However, both websites may charge a consultation fee if you need to contact them about poisons.

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