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7 Common Household Items That Can Kill Your Curious Cat

You’ve heard the phrase, “curiosity killed the cat.” That can be true when it comes to accidental poisoning caused by everyday household items such as laundry detergent or bouquets of flowers.

Your best line of defense is to cat-proof your house, removing poisons dangerous to cats (or at least, keeping them completely out of your cat’s reach).

In this article, we’ll introduce you to seven common items that are toxic for cats, and explain what to do if your cat ingests something poisonous.

7 Common Household Items That Can Kill Your Curious Cat | AtlanticVetSeattle.com

The 7 Most Common Feline Poisons

1. Poisonous plants

Cats love munching on greenery and bouquets of flowers. But some common household and garden plants, such as tulips, daffodils, lilies, philodrendon, Dieffenbachia, foxglove, and Japanese yew, are very dangerous for cats. Only one bite of the petals or leaves can kill a cat! Even licking the pollen or lapping up water from the vase can result in severe, potentially irreversible acute kidney failure.

Lilies are particularly toxic, including the following varieties:

  • Tiger lilies
  • Day lilies
  • Asiatic hybrid lilies
  • Japanese show lilies
  • Easter lilies
  • Rubrum lilies
  • Stargazer lilies
  • Red lilies
  • Western lilies
  • Wood lilies

2. Laundry detergent, drain cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, and other household cleaners

Keep your cat out of the room while you’re scrubbing toilets or doing laundry. Some household cleaning products, when ingested by a cat, can cause profuse drooling, chemical burns, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

3. Human antidepressants

Human antidepressants are like catnip to cats. They love the smell of common antidepressants such as Effexor, Prozac, Cymbalta, and Zoloft and can’t resist eating the pill. However, instead of improving their mood and energy level, human antidepressants can cause lethargy, tremors, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperthermia in cats.

4. Flea and tick topical medications for dogs

Never apply an insecticide intended for dogs (even small dogs) to your cat. These medications often contain high concentrations of a chemical derived from the Chrysanthemum flower – a chemical that is highly toxic to cats. Don’t allow your cat to lick the medication off your dog, either.

5. Over-the-counter aspirin, baby asprin, naproxen, and ibuprofen

If your cat is experiencing joint pain, giving him even half a pill can be fatal, resulting in stomach ulcers and kidney failure. Consult your veterinarian before giving your cat any over-the-counter medications for pain.

6. Onions, Garlic, Chives

The gastrointestinal irritation humans feel when indulging in copious amounts of onions, garlic, or chives is compounded in cats, and can lead to red blood cell damage.

7. Raisins and Grapes

Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure.

What to do if you think your cat was poisoned

Call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center Hotline: (888) 426-4435 (fee-based). For info, visit https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control

Or call the Pet Poison Helpline (fee-based). For info, visit https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/

Learn more about cat hazards and toxins

Animal Poison Control Center Podcast

Download a free mobile app from the Animal Poison Control Center that will:

  • help you identify over 300 potential hazards and toxins found in and around the home
  • provide crucial information about the severity of the problem
  • suggest critical next steps


11 Responses to “7 Common Household Items That Can Kill Your Curious Cat”

  1. Reply Roger Russell

    I just put my cat to sleep. He was 5. And a Prince of Felines. Perfect. We lost him due to kidney failure, acute. With nothing visible on the ultrasound. We can’t figure out what went wrong. We still have his sister and don’t want her to get into anything he may have gotten into. Perhaps it wasn’t anything that he ate around here at all. No one can tell us. We’re just devastated. And worried.

    • Reply Campbell David

      I just went through the same thing with one of our rescues. We’re devestated and have three other cats. My condolences. We have no answers either

      • Reply Julie Annette

        I was never told that the shots they give our animals could have a really bad effect on my animal .
        Next….. rescue kitten given distemper shot couldn’t have a real bowel movement for a year and this is a good thing??? My only two cats lost hair from their ears down to their eyes this is a good thing?????WTH

  2. Reply Maria Johnson

    We also just put our 3 weeks old baby kitten to sleep. We did not know that lilies were poisonous for cats. My husband gave me some beautiful orange lilies for my birthday and she loved them. As much as I tried to keep her away from them, she managed to get to them. She also said as diagnosed with kidney failure acute. We are devastated, feeling guilty because we should’ve researched more about what is harmful for cats. I think, all those flowers need to have a warning saying that they can kill your cat. She was our new baby after loosing our 16-year-old cat a month and a half ago. This is so hard


    Check your home, yard, neighbors yard everywhere you can think of for any kind of lilly. An innocent looking day lilly shut down my cats kidneys with only one bite..
    Tiger lilies
    Day lilies
    Asiatic hybrid lilies
    Japanese show lilies
    Easter lilies
    Rubrum lilies
    Stargazer lilies
    Red lilies
    Western lilies
    Wood lilies

  4. Reply Lincoln Mitchell

    Another dangerous appliance is a dryer. we just lost our 5 month old kitten to the dryer. She was such a sweetheart though. It breaks my heart that this horrific thing had to occur. So, if you have a cat, make sure that they stay away. We just buried her in one of the most peaceful spots. Under a beautiful evergreen tree.
    For love and memory of Rose Tyler, the greatest cat to ever live.

  5. Reply Norma Powell

    How can a cat grab our hearts so completely in Only 4 months?

  6. Reply Sunil Kumar

    I love reading about curious cats and their adventures! This blog is so informative and I’ve learned a lot about common household items that can kill a curious cat. Thank you for writing!

  7. Reply Shawanthi karunaratne

    My 5 months old kitten was lost due to epilepsy hence she hsd consumed detergent accidentally. Such a lovely one. Feel lonely and empty without her. She was with us only for two month. Feel like she was with us for years. Little Binny.

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