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Poisoning in Cats and What to Do if it Happens

4 minutes
Curiosity may have killed the cat, but perhaps they were poisoned.
Poisoning in Cats and What to Do if it Happens
Last update: 21 December, 2022

Street cats are very exposed to different kinds of dangers, for example, consuming  poisonous weeds, making contact with or eating chemically modified foods, etc. So, let’s find out more about poisoning in cats and what to do if it happens.

Poisoning in cats is a common occurrence. They’re either poisoned by some hater who wants to get rid of them or it’s the cat who finds a toxic substance and then eats it.

Poisoning in cats happens more often than we would all like. Statistically, cats are more susceptible than dogs to be poisoned (purposely or accidentally). Because of their agility and curiosity, they usually spend a lot of time on the streets, checking out different objects or food. Unfortunately, this means they’re also more exposed to harm than other animal species.

Types of poisons and risks

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Pesticides and insecticides are the most dangerous substances that usually lead to poisoning in cats. Other dangerous substances include medication, poisonous plants, and foods they can’t digest.

As you can see, there are potential poisons everywhere. It’s for this reason that you should be responsible in the way you handle and place your drugs and chemicals. The more you monitor your pet, the more risks you’ll avoid.

So, if you detect there’s a chance of poisoning in your cat, then you must ensure they drink plenty of water. This is one of the main ways in which their body will expel most toxic substances.

Symptoms of poisoning in cats

  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased salivation
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Foam around their mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting and recurrent diarrhea
  • The animal seems depressed and uninterested in things they would normally be interested in
  • Seizures and tremors

Once you detect poisoning in your cats, the second step is to recognize the ingested substance. That is, try to identify the poison. Next, move and place the animal in a well-ventilated area where there’s no place to hide. It’ll help you keep the cat under observation at home.

Once you find the substance and are certain it may be the culprit you must calm down and not transmit your anxiety to your cat.

It’s not recommended to medicate the animal unless your veterinary specifically advises you to. Some medications could worsen a case of cat poisoning.

In general, don’t induce vomiting in the animal as there are some poisonous acids that could do more damage if they go back through the esophagus. Substances such as petroleum products (gasoline, lighters, kerosene), detergents and even household rust.

You may induce vomit if your cat ingested a toxic ingredient over 2 hours previously. But only if they’re wide awake and can swallow the antidote. However, you must be sure they have, in fact, ingested a toxic substance.

Do a checkup on your cat

You should do a thorough checkup of their skin after the prescribed treatment, as this is the way you can verify the poison is out of their system.

Types of poisoning in cats

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Arsenic is a common ingredient in pesticides, rat poisons, insecticides, etc. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning in your cat can be diarrhea, depression, lethargy, weakness, etc. If this is the case, then you should seek a mucosal-protective agent.

Soaps and detergents

These symptoms are usually not very serious. For example, vomiting, dizziness, and diarrhea are the most frequent. As for treatment, the cat should drink plenty of fluids, especially milk or water.

Poisoning in cats: chlorine

Chlorine is present in many products, for example, industrial cleaners, hot tubs, swimming pools, home cleaning products, etc.

The symptoms are similar to those of detergent ingestion. It’s also effective to drink lots of milk as treatment, even if it’s mixed with water. Very important: don’t feed your feline for at least twelve hours.


Cyanide is a substance present in several fertilizers. Unfortunately, the most common mode of intoxication is for cats to eat plants such as eucalyptus, corn, flax, etc. Here a visit to your veterinarian is essential.


This can be one of your greatest mistakes. Your cat can’t tolerate caffeine or other substances present in chocolate. The reason for this is that their bodies don’t absorb the substances contained in these products correctly.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.