Poisoning is a common occurrence in cats, although not as common as in dogs as they are more picky eaters, but it can still happen for several reasons.
- When a well-meaning pet owner administers a medication that has not been prescribed
- If the cat receives a larger dose of a prescribed medication
- The cat intentionally ingests a toxic substance (such as a plant, or medicine)
- Contact with a toxic substance that is then ingested when the cat grooms
- Secondary poisoning (eating a rodent that has ingested poison)
- Deliberate poisoning
- Venom toxicity (snake bite, spider bite, scorpion, frogs and toads)
Poisons can affect one or several body systems, and cause a range of symptoms which we have highlighted below.
Effects of poisoning on different body systems
|Coagulopathy (blood clotting disorders)|
|Gastrointestinal (vomiting and/or diarrhea)|
|Hemolysis (destruction of the red blood cells)|| |
|Hepatoxicity (liver)|| |
|Hyperesthesia (rolling skin)|| |
|Hypersalivation (drooling)|| |
|Kidney failure|| |
|Paresis or paralysis|| |
What to do if your cat has ingested a toxin
If you suspect your cat has been exposed to poison, seek immediate veterinary attention. The sooner the cat is seen, the better the outcome. Decontamination by inducing vomiting or pumping the stomach to prevent further absorption as well as supportive care and in some cases, an antidote.
Bring along any packaging, samples, photos or vomit if possible, this can help the veterinarian narrow down a cause.