Top 10 Toxins for Cats
By Emily Hoppmann, DVM
1) Lilies: Plants in the Lilium species, such as Easter, Tiger, and Asiatic lilies, cause kidney failure in cats. All cat owners need to be made aware of these highly toxic plants since they are so common in households and we all know cats love to chew on plants!
2) Household Cleaners: The most damaging products are the more concentrated ones, such as toilet bowl or drain cleaners, which can lead to chemical burns internally when swallowed and externally when in contact with skin. In general you want to keep all cleaning products in an area that your pets can’t access – even if that means using a baby-proofing technique on your cabinet. Any ingestion has the potential to cause damage to the organs and bone marrow. If your pet has ingested something he should not have, often times you will see your pet show signs of GI upset (vomiting, diarrhea, excess salivation).
3) Flea and Tick Over-the-Counter Products: Flea collars, shampoos, and spot-on treatments are not regulated so the amount of poison in them varies and these levels that are high enough to kills the parasites can cause severe, even fatal, consequences to your cats. This is especially true with young, smaller/underweight or cats with underlying illness. All tick products are pyrethroid-based (Zodiac, K9 Advantix, Sergeant’s) and this is a chemical that is deadly to cats. If any of these types of products have been applied or your cat has come in contact with them via being close to your dog who has just had product applied, wash your cat in Dawn immediately to remove as much of the poison as possible. Watch for signs of tremors or seizures and seek immediate veterinary care if seen. The most effective, safest product for cats for heartworm, flea, and intestinal parasite control is Revolution applied monthly.
4) Antidepressants: Cymbalta and Effexor were the two most ingested antidepressant by cats and they resulted in severe feline neurologic and cardiac effects on ingestion. Cats are masters of disguise and that often means they may not appear sick until it is too late, so the best thing possible is to prevent access to your medications.
5) NSAIDs: Cats are extremely sensitive to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs meant for humans, such as aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen and naproxen. These medications can cause organ damage/failure, ulcerations in the intestines, and damage the red blood cells. Even if your cat gets into NSAIDS that are meant for pets at too high of a dose, it can have the same effects and should be treated as an emergency.
6) Prescription ADD/ADHD medications: These Amphetamines drugs, such as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine and Vyvanse, can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and death in pets. Limiting access to your medications is the only way to keep them safe.
7) Over-the-counter cough, cold and allergy medications: Those that contain acetaminophen (as is found in other non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol) are particularly toxic to cats, as they carry the same risks as NSAID, but can also cause liver failure and/or acute or delayed kidney failure. These medications can also increase the heart rate to such high levels that patients can have heart attacks or strokes.
8) Plants containing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals: Common houseplants such as peace lilies, philodendron and pothos can cause oral and upper GI irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, foaming at the mouth and inflammation when ingested. It is best to always check the safety of any plant that you bring into your home.
9) Household insecticides: The chemical levels in most of these household sprays and powders are strong enough to kill their target, but these chemicals can also have serious neurological and even fatal consequences if ingested. It is best to keep cats away from plants or areas where the product has been applied for a least several hours after the products have dried or settled.
10) Glow sticks and glow jewelry: These irresistible “toys” contain a chemical called dibutyl phthalate which can damage the bone marrow and internal organs. The immediate effect when it contact with the mouth is pain and excessive foaming, but in order to resolve these less severe side effects encourage your cat to eat food or drink water.
Top 10 Toxins for Cats