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.
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
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