Cats are known for being inquisitive, so it’s important to be aware of common poisons that could be harmful to your feline friend at this time of year, and keep your cat out of harm’s reach!
Permethrin (insecticide) is commonly found in many over the counter spot-on flea treatments for dogs and is very toxic to cats. Summer time can see a peak in poisonings when flea activity is at its peak, and poisoning often occurs when dog owners have mistakenly applied their dog’s flea treatment to their cat. However, cats can also be affected by rubbing up against dogs that have recently been treated with Permethrin-containing spot-on flea treatment. The effect of poisoning is often rapid and signs to look out for include drooling, twitching and seizures. Wipe your cat’s fur with a cool damp cloth to remove any product residue, and contact a vet immediately. Always separate pets if treating them with insecticides to avoid the potential for contamination.
Slug pellets and slug bait containing Metaldehyde are poisonous to cats if ingested even in small amounts, and signs include muscle spasms, loss of coordination and seizures. Poisoning can be fatal without veterinary treatment. If using in your garden, check labels when buying and look for slug deterrents without Metaldehyde.
Summer is often prime DIY time, but it’s worth noting that decorating materials containing petroleum distillates can be harmful to cats, and can induce vomiting, drooling, rapid breathing, skin irritation and lack of coordination. Keep cats away from products such as paints, wood strippers, varnishes, preservatives, paint and glass cleaners and avoid the potential for your feline friend to brush against these substances when treated surfaces are still wet.
Did you know toads can be toxic to cats? Toads produce a natural toxin over their skin to deter predators, and whilst your cat is unlikely to eat one, mouthing or licking a toad can cause a painful reaction. Toad poisoning is more likely in the summer months when toads are spawning. Signs can include drooling, distress, a very red mouth, abnormal breathing, vomiting and even loss of consciousness.
If you think your cat may have been poisoned in any way, remove your cat from the source and get veterinary advice immediately. If you can identify the poison over the phone and bring a tin or label – or a plant that has caused a reaction – when you come in, this is really helpful. Whilst we may not have an antidote, giving your cat immediate supportive treatment can make all the difference to the outcome.
For lots of information on indoor blooms, potted plants and garden plants that can be dangerous to cats, check out Cats Protection’s Plants Poisonous to Cats page.