Every year veterinary practices across the Uk see many cats that have been brought in to them because of accidental poisonings or accidents that occur inside or just outside their own homes. Cats are naturally very curious animals and this, coupled with their drive to keep themselves scrupulously clean through grooming, can put them at risk of getting into dangerous places and situations, accidentally ingesting toxic substances while grooming or swallowing things they are playing with. Many of these cats survive if they receive veterinary treatment immediately, but sadly others do not.
International Cat Care has teamed up with the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) and Agria Pet Insurance to launch its new ‘Keeping Cats Safe’ campaign which will highlight the dangers that can be found in and around the home. International Cat Care say
“The key message of the campaign is that prevention is better than cure and we hope that the campaign will spread widely to help prevent needless suffering and promote faster recognition and treatment following poisoning or injury”
The campaign will cover everything from common household toxins such as lilies, disinfectants, dog flea products and antifreeze, to cats eating strange things (for example, rubber bands, sewing needles and wool) and accidental injuries from collars, falls and road traffic accidents. They aim to give owners advice on the most common hazards and how to avoid them, as well as listing symptoms of poisoning and injury and what to do in these cases.
Cats are usually very careful about what they eat, but because of their need to keep themselves clean and their coats in tip-top condition, they will often accidentally ingest toxic substances. Their bodies are also not as good at removing certain toxins as other species such as dogs are, so they may be much more susceptible to the effects of poisonous substances.
The most common poisons in cats (incidents reported by vets to the VPIS)
- Unknown Agents (Poisoning is strongly suspected but the cause is not identified)
- Use of dog flea products or cat rubbing against a recently treated dog (Permethrin poisoning)
- Antifreeze (Ethylene Glycol)
- Disinfectants containing Benzalkonium chloride (also found in antibacterial cleaners, hand sanitizing solutions, mould removers and patio cleaners)
- Imidacloprid (flea treatment)
- Paracetamol (usually given by owners who do not realise it is toxic)
- Disinfectants (probably also benzalkonium chloride but unconfirmed)
- White spirit (more often in the summer months when DIY jobs are done in the home)
- Moxidectin (a wormer)
Common signs of poisoning may include
- Frothing at the mouth or salivating
- Ulceration of the tongue, mouth or feet
- Difficulty Breathing
- Lack of coordination / staggering / wobbling
If you suspect you cat may be sick or has come into contact with a poisonous / toxic substance
- Contact your vet immediately for advice
- Prevent any further grooming
- If your cat is having seizures/fits reduce external stimulus asap. (Darken the room, turn off the tv/radio and avoid talking loudly, do not touch your cat unless he or she is in danger of injury)
You can contact Castle Vets on 01189 574488 24 hours a day because we have Vets Now Emergencies on hand outside normal surgery hours.
For more information about the campaign visit the International Cat Care website