Curiosity killed the cat

Common household items that can be deadly to cats.

Any cat owner will tell you that cats are curious creatures that  love nothing more than investigating what their human is up to. This curiosity can turn deadly if your cat chews, swallows or inhales a poisonous substance. Cats can also be poisoned by brushing up or standing in something toxic which is ingested when they are grooming.

Many common household items are toxic to our furry friends.

Human medicine

Over-the-counter and prescription medicines pose a serious threat to cats, so keep your medication in a cupboard or drawer that your cat can’t access. 

Cats are clever and have been known to get into the blister-packs that most medication comes in, so don’t leave your pills on your kitchen counter or bedside table.

Indoor and outdoor plants

The house plant trend is showing no sign of slowing down but can spell disaster for cats. Many common houseplants can be deadly including aloe vera, lilies, chrysanthemum, marijuana, poinsettias and succulents.

Research whether a plant is safe for your pet before buying one for your home or garden. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals website has a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to a variety of animals.

Home maintenance chemicals

Household products like bleach, weed killer, fertilisers, rat poison and detergents taste particularly good to cats. Keep chemicals locked away and ensure your cat doesn’t walk over surfaces that have recently been cleaned or grass that has been fertilised, as cats can pick up chemicals on their paws and ingest them when grooming.

Human food

Many human foods are toxic to cats including alcohol, chocolate, onion, garlic, grapes, raisins and xylitol (an artificial sweetener). Keep any leftovers out of reach and make sure food scraps are covered in the bin. 

Poisoning symptoms in cats

Poisoning symptoms can vary depending on what they’ve eaten, inhaled or come in to contact with. Some poisons will affect your cat straight away and others can take several days for symptoms to develop. Common symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Pale gums
  • Blood in vomit, saliva or stool
  • Loss of appetite.

What to do if you suspect your pet has been poisoned

Call your vet straight away if you think your pet has been poisoned. Swift action can mean the difference between life and death. If it’s outside of your vet’s business hours phone an after-hours emergency vet. 

AWLQ and RACQ are proudly working together to help Queensland pets. RACQ is offering pet owners three months free pet insurance when they either adopt an eligible pet from AWLQ or are a customer of an AWLQ vet clinic.