Cats are curious by nature. Because of their curious nature, it is easy for cats to ingest poisons that can cause them to become very ill. Without proper treatment, a cat could die from poisoning.
Cat owners should be aware of the types of items around the home that can poison a cat. Household chemicals, plants, trees and shrubs can all cause a cat to become ill. When you think your cat has ingested a poisonous substance, it is helpful to your vet if you can identify what has made the cat sick. If your cat goes outdoors, sometimes it is impossible to know what the cat has ingested. Here are some common plants and household chemicals that can make your cat ill.
There are certain plants, trees and shrubs that can cause your cat to vomit, become dehydrated and have diarrhea. Sometimes when a cat ingests a toxic plant, they can foam at the mouth or have excessive drooling followed by a desire to drink lots of water. Their mouth can become red and irritated. In extreme cases, a cat can fall into a coma and die.
Plants inside your home can pose a threat to your cat. Sometimes a cat does not even have to ingest the plant, but can have exposure on their skin, causing irritations. Fig plants, chrysanthemums, poinsettias can all cause reactions in cats. Most of the time these three kinds of plants will simple cause skin irritation. More serious reactions such as staggering, swelling of the mouth and general weakness are caused by household plants such as Boston ivy, arrowhead vine, caladiums, elephant's ear, heart leaf, peace lily and dumb cane plants.
If your cat has ingested a large amount of amaryllis, ivy, azalea, spider mum and creeping Charlie plants or flowers, you can expect a more serious reaction. These plants, among others can lead to vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors and heart and respiratory ailments. It will be necessary to consult your vet if you cat has ingested any toxic plants.
Outdoor plants can also pose much of the same risks and some of the indoor plants. Symptoms can include, but are not limited to diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, pain, and weakness, breathing difficulties and seizures and convulsions. Some of these plants and shrubs include larkspur, skunkweed, daffodils, foxglove, castor bean, almond plants, wild cherry, English holly, spinach, rhubarb, Jasmine, and pigweed. Other plants that can cause your cat to experience hallucinations include marijuana, nutmeg, peyote, and morning glories.
List of plants that are toxic to cats: http://www.cfainc.org/articles/plants.html
Chemicals and cleaners found around the house are also cause for concern. Cats can ingest a toxic chemical and become very ill quickly. A common poison for cats is antifreeze. They like the taste and will lick it off of the garage floor from a puddle. Antifreeze can cause seizures and if enough is ingested, can kill a cat. Other common poisons found around the house are rat poisons, and insect sprays and treatments. If you treat your home with insecticides it is very important to keep your cat away from the treated area for several hours. In addition, if you spray the inside of your home, thoroughly wash the cat's food and water bowls to clean off any residue from the insecticide.
Other common household items that can make a cat ill include bleach, alcohol, gasoline, turpentine, lead, acid, garbage waste and paint. Toads and salamanders can also cause cats to become very ill. If you cat eats a toad or salamander, it will be evident by excessive foaming at the mouth and drooling. Also, it is important to remember that if your cat eats a bird, insect or rat that has been infected by a poison, it is likely that your cat will become ill, as well.
It is always a good idea to contact your vet or the National Animal Poison Control Center if you think your cat has been poisoned. There will be different treatments for different poisons. Most vets will try to induce vomiting in order to eliminate the toxin from the body. If your cat has a toxin on the fur or skin, it will be necessary to thoroughly remove the residue by washing the cat's fur. Both mineral oil and vegetable oil are effective for removing poisons such as gasoline or turpentine.
Cats that are experiencing nervous system disorders from ingesting toxins are in serious trouble. Your cat will need to be taken to medical care immediately. Cat with nervous disorders will experience convulsions, unconsciousness and difficulty breathing.