Last year, there were more than 100,000 cases of pet poisoning in the U.S. Many of these were caused by substances you probably have in your home, substances that may seem perfectly harmless to you. But just because something is safe for people doesn’t mean it won’t hurt beloved pets. Some of the most dangerous cat poisons are foods and medications we take on a daily basis.
Depending on how a particular substance affects your cat’s body and how much was ingested or inhaled, pet poisoning symptoms can include gastrointestinal and neurological problems, cardiac and respiratory distress, coma, and even death.
Poison No. 1: Medications for people. Pets have a much greater sensitivity to many of the common over-the-counter and prescription medications that may be in your home.
Some of the medications that often poison cats include:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. The most common cause of pet poisoning, these painkillers can cause ulcers in the stomach and intestines, and kidney damage.
Acetaminophen is particularly toxic to cats, resulting in red blood cell damage. Just two extra-strength tablets may prove fatal to felines.
Antidepressants, which may cause vomiting and, in more serious instances, serotonin syndrome – a dangerous condition that raises temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and may cause seizures.
Methylphenidate. This attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug is a stimulant for pets, raising heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Cat poison No. 2: Flea and tick products. Poisoning can occur by ingestion of a topical product or overzealous application. In addition, certain flea control products manufactured for dogs can be lethal if used on cats.
Cat poison No. 3: People food. It is important to take care that your cat doesn’t ingest foods that might cause pet poisoning or stomach upset. Foods to keep away from your cat include:
Chocolate. Experts don’t recommend giving chocolate, caffeine, or coffee to your cat.
Onions, garlic, chives. These plant foods can irritate the stomach and damage red blood cells.
Cat poison No. 4: Rat and mouse poison. Rodenticides, if ingested, can cause severe symptoms and may be fatal.
Cat poison No. 5: Pet medications. Just as we can be sickened or killed by medications intended to help us, cases of pet poisoning by veterinary drugs are not uncommon. Some of the more commonly reported problem medications include painkillers and de-wormers.