common poisons in cats

What are Common Poisons in Cats

What is it?

Common poisons in cats include household substances such as cleaning products, pesticides, and human medications. Other potential poisons for cats include certain plants, foods, and chemicals. Exposure to these substances can be life-threatening for cats and may require immediate veterinary attention.

How is it Treated?

The treatment of poisoning in cats depends on the type and severity of the poison, as well as the time of exposure. Treatment may involve decontamination to remove the poison from the cat’s system, supportive care to manage symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea, and medications to counteract the effects of the poison. 

Breed Predispositions

Any cat can be exposed to toxic substances and may develop symptoms of poisoning. However, some studies have suggested that outdoor cats may be at a higher risk of poisoning due to their exposure to outdoor environments and potential hazards.


While preparing dinner, Emily noticed her curious Bengal cat, Simba, chewing on a nearby houseplant. Moments later, Simba began drooling and acting disoriented. Fearing that her beloved pet may have ingested a toxic substance, Emily quickly consulted her veterinarian, who confirmed her worst suspicions: Simba had been poisoned.

Common poisons in cats are substances that can kill our pets. It is usually found in plants such as foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), and hemlock (Conium maculatum). The most common form of this toxin is digitalis glycosides. This type of poison affects the heart muscles. In some cases, the heart stops beating altogether. Other factors are Household items such as pesticides, medicines, and human food.

The first recorded case of poisoning from Digitalis was reported in 1828. Since then, many cats have died from ingesting this plant. Most deaths occur when a cat eats the leaves plant leaves. In addition, there have been reports of cats dying after eating the roots, flowers, seeds, stems, or milk from cows fed on the toxic plant.

How Do Cats Get Poisoned?

Cats are very clever animals. They use their sharp teeth to eat food, but sometimes they accidentally ingest something toxic. Poisoning in cats happens when cats consume poison, either directly or indirectly.

The most common way a cat becomes poisoned is by eating poisonous plants, such as berries, mushrooms, and weeds. If you suspect your pet ate a plant that contains a potentially dangerous substance, call your veterinarian immediately. Your vet can help determine whether your cat needs treatment.

Another possible source of poisoning is prey. Cats often feed small rodents like mice and rats, which contain harmful chemicals. These include rodenticides, insecticides, and herbicides. If your cat eats prey containing these poisons, it may suffer serious harm.

How Do Cats Get Poisoned?

Inhalation of the toxin causes respiratory distress, difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, fever, and loss of appetite.

Here are Five Types of Poisons That Cats Commonly Consume.

Household Cleaners

Common household cleaners are one of the most enormous, most significant poisonings for cats. Many of these products contain toxic ingredients that can cause serious health problems.

Some examples:

  • ammonia
  • bleach
  • bath surface cleaner
  • carpet
  • drain
  • toilet bowl cleaner


Pesticides are another source of poisoning for cats. These contain poisonous ingredients that can cause kidney disease and liver failure. Other examples include:

  • chlorpyrifos
  • rat bait
  • ant baits
  • Carbaryl
  • Metaldehyde 
  • Diazinon

In addition to common household cleaners and pesticides, cats can accidentally ingest prescription drugs. This is especially true for older cats who may have trouble remembering to give themselves medication.


Human medications are another significant source of cat poisoning, especially those prescribed for pets. These products often contain harmful ingredients that can lead to liver damage. Examples include

  • acetaminophen
  • aspirin
  • ibuprofen
  • phenobarbital
  • muscle relaxants
  • cancer drugs
  • diet pills


Toxic plants can be deadly to cats. Most plants contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.

Some examples include:

  • true lily
  • belladonna
  • Digitalis
  • hemlock
  • hydrangea
  • jasmine
  • kava kava
  • lilies
  • nightshade
  • parsley
  • poinsettia
  • rhododendron
  • rosemary
  • sage


Food can also be a source of cat poisoning if they overeat. Cats can die from overeating food, especially if fed table scraps.

This is especially true for kittens, who are still increasing. Therefore, feed your kitten small amounts of food several times daily.

Other Common Sources of Poisons in Cats

  • Chocolate

Chocolate contains caffeine, which is toxic to cats. Chocolate also contains theobromine, which causes vomiting and diarrhea. Theobromine is found naturally in cocoa beans, but manufacturers add it to milk chocolate to give it a smoother texture.

Cats are susceptible to caffeine and theobromine, so they’re especially vulnerable to chocolate poisoning. As a result, they may vomit, become lethargic, develop tremors, lose coordination, and exhibit other symptoms.

  • Onions, garlic, chives

Cats are susceptible to onion and garlic fumes. They do not just gross them out; they die from inhaling too many pungent foods.

Onions contain sulfur compounds called thiosulfates, which cause vomiting, diarrhea, and respiratory distress. Garlic contains another compound called allicin, which causes similar symptoms. Chives have a chemical called nepetalactone, which irritates the eyes and nose.

  • Rat and mouse poison

Mouse baits are also dangerous to pets because they’re toxic to rodents. But rats and mice aren’t the only animals who eat poisoned food. Cats often eat poisoned rodent bait, too. So be careful when disposing of any poisonous material.

  • Pet medications

Pet medications are toxic to humans and dangerous to our furry friends. The most common poisons in cats include anticoagulants (blood thinners), antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, heartworm and flea products, sedatives, tick products, and painkillers. These drugs can be fatal to pets who eat them.

What are the Symptoms of Poison in Cats?

Poisoning occurs when cats vomit, have diarrhea, feel lethargic, have seizures, have coma, difficulty breathing, drooling, excessive salivation, twitching, muscle spasms, tremors, convulsions, loss of coordination, paralysis, and death.

What to Do if Your Pet Has Been Poisoned?

What to do if your pet has been poisoned?

Contact your vet if you think there’s a chance your cat may have ingested some toxin. Keep your pet inside while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive if possible. A veterinarian will perform a physical exam and determine whether your cat needs immediate medical attention.

Be careful around cats who seem to be agitated or aggressive. Cats are susceptible to stress and anxiety, especially during illness or injury. As a result, they may lash out because they feel threatened.

If you suspect your cat has ingested poison, wrap it in a towel and place it in a safe spot until emergency personnel arrives. Do not attempt to move your cat yourself.

How to Diagnose Common Poisons in Cats?

Contact your vet if you think there’s a chance your cat may have ingested some toxin. Keep your pet inside while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive if possible. A veterinarian will perform a physical exam and determine whether your cat needs immediate medical attention.

Be careful around cats who seem to be agitated or aggressive. Cats are susceptible to stress and anxiety, especially during illness or injury. As a result, they may lash out because they feel threatened.

If you suspect your cat has ingested poison, wrap it in a towel and place it in a safe spot until emergency personnel arrives. Do not attempt to move your cat yourself.

Treatment Options for Poison in Cats

Some poisons cause immediate symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, while others take longer to show signs of poisoning. The most common treatment for poisoning is gastric lavage (also called stomach pumping). This involves inserting a tube down the cat’s throat and forcing fluid back into his stomach.

Other treatments include activated charcoal, which absorbs toxins; intravenous fluids, which flush out toxins; and medications, which treat specific symptoms.

Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat has been poisoned. He may be able to administer emergency care at home. Otherwise, he will need to take your cat to the vet.

Prevention for Common Poisons in Cats

Cats are notorious for eating things that aren’t meant for them. They’re curious creatures who often eat items that are not food. This includes household cleaners, antifreeze, and even batteries.

Preventing poisoning is simple. Here are some tips to help you keep your kitty safe:

  • Don’t Give Cats Too Much Sugar.

Many cats are sweet-natured animals and love treats. However, if you give your cat too much sugar, he may become hyperactive and aggressive. This behavior can lead him to bite or scratch you.

It’s best to avoid giving your cat too much sugar. Instead, feed your cat small amounts of dry food once every two hours.

  • Never Leave Food Out All Day.

Some cats are starving after waking up from sleep. If you leave food out all day, your cat may eat until he becomes sick or bloated.

This can happen quickly, especially if your cat has an empty stomach. Make sure to remove any leftovers within 2 hours.

  • Be Careful With Medications.

Medication labels usually list the amount needed to treat a specific condition. But unfortunately, some medications are toxic to cats, and others can be fatal.

Be careful when administering medicine to your cat. Always read the label carefully and follow its instructions.

  • Watch What You Put On Your Cat.

When you apply sunscreen to your skin, you should wash off any residue immediately. Sunscreen can irritate your cat’s eyes and ears.

Please do not allow your cat to lick his paws after applying sunscreen. He may ingest the chemicals and develop health problems.

  • Do Not Use Pet Products That Contain Poisonous Ingredients.

Pet products such as flea collars, shampoos, and grooming kits contain ingredients that can harm your cat. These items can cause vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and death.

Always consult the manufacturer’s directions before using pet products.

  • Avoid Giving Your Cat Foods High in Fructose.

Fructose is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. However, some foods contain excessive levels of fructose.

These include honey, corn syrup, and table sugar. Feeding your cat foods containing high levels of fructose can result in kidney failure.

  • Know How to Recognize Signs of Illness.

Knowledge is power. Knowing how to recognize signs of illness in your cat can save her life.

Most illnesses in cats are mild and easily treated. However, some diseases are severe and can be deadly.

  • Get Vaccinated Against Rabies

Rabies is a virus that affects the nervous system. It is transmitted via saliva and bites.

If your cat gets bitten by another animal, she may contract rabies. Therefore, vaccination against rabies is recommended for all cats.

  • Take Care of Your Cat’s Teeth

Teeth play an essential role in digestion and eating. Without teeth, your cat would starve.

However, overgrown or poorly maintained teeth can damage your cat’s mouth and gums.

Regular dental care is necessary for maintaining your cat’s oral health.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cats can recover from poisoning if they receive medical treatment immediately after exposure. The symptoms of poisoning vary depending on what substance was ingested. Contact your veterinarian directly if you suspect your cat has been poisoned.

When your cat recovers, you’ll want to monitor them closely. You’ll probably notice clinical signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, lack of appetite, drooling, excessive licking, etc. If these symptoms continue, contact your veterinarian again.

The treatment of cats for lily poisoning is expensive. The average price for this treatment is around $400-$600 per cat. This includes the medication, the vet’s visit fee, and any additional tests needed. If your cat has ingested more than one poisonous plant, you’ll probably want to see if there’s anything else you can do to help him recover.

The most toxic substance to cats is lead poisoning. Lead poisoning occurs when your cat ingests some form of information. This could come from eating paint chips, chewing on old batteries, licking up chemicals used around the house, or drinking water contaminated with lead. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat might be suffering from lead toxicity. Your vet can perform blood tests to determine if your cat is experiencing any symptoms of lead poisoning.

If your cat shows no signs of lead poisoning, you can still do many things to help keep him healthy. You should always make sure he gets plenty of exercises and fresh air. He should also get regular checkups at his vet’s office so that they can monitor his health closely.

The best way to keep cats out of your garden is to make them afraid. The best way to do this is to put up some barrier around your garden, so they don’t want to go near it. This could be anything from a fence to a tall hedge. If you’re worried about how much work it will take, there are plenty of ways to keep cats away without spending too much money.

You can use repellent sprays, available at most pet stores, or you can buy cat deterrents online. There are many different types of these products, including ones that spray a foul-smelling liquid onto the ground, emit loud noises, and even ones that contain sharp objects like spikes.

Although some peace lilies can be poisonous, most of them are not. However, if you are uncertain whether a particular peace lily is edible or contaminated, it’s best to avoid eating it.

If your cat appears to be having seizures, has changes in heart rate or rhythm, loses consciousness, or has bloody diarrhea or vomiting, it may have been poisoned.

Many things can poison cats, but the most common are Cat food poisoning from eating pests or prey, ingesting poisonous plants and mushrooms, and accidentally ingesting cleaners or other chemicals. Other causes include bird flu (or H5N1), environmental toxins such as lead and arsenic, which can be found in older homes or if a pet has been brought into the house by an infected animal(s), viruses such as Feline panleukopenia virus (FPV) and calicivirus infections caused by their customary indoor/outdoor activities like scratching posts and trees.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this veterinary website is intended for general educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult a licensed veterinarian for any concerns or questions regarding the health and well-being of your pet. This website does not claim to cover every possible situation or provide exhaustive knowledge on the subjects presented. The owners and contributors of this website are not responsible for any harm or loss that may result from the use or misuse of the information provided herein.

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