Poisoning in Cats – Symptoms and First Aid

We all know that felines are very cautious as they are also very curious, but like any being seen can make mistakes or be attacked. Because of these carelessness and attacks, our mustachioed friends can be poisoned.

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If you are considering adopting or have a cat, poisoning in cats, symptoms and first aid , is an important topic on which to inform as much as possible, as it can cause your death. Therefore, at YourCatCareguide.com.br we want to help in this mission.

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Main Causes of Poisoning in Cats

As we indicated earlier cats can be very careful but they are very curious. This leads them to explore and prove new things, which unfortunately do not always do them good. So they often end up intoxicated, poisoned or injured in some way. But thanks to the knowledge of the potential expert of some substances and some products we can prevent this from keeping them out of the reach of our pets. See our article in which we show you 10 common things that can kill your cat .

In case of poisoning or intoxication we can not do much of anything most of the time, but we can identify the symptoms in time and resort to our trusted veterinarian as soon as possible. Still, there are a few things we can try at home while the vet is on the way and whenever you do not tell us expressly what to do check the directions that we give you next.

Some of the most common poisons and poisons commonly encountered by cats are the following:

  • Medications for humans (Acetylsalicylic acid and paracetamol)
  • Food for humans (chocolate) and other forbidden foods for cats
  • Insecticides (arsenic)
  • Cleaning products (bleach or bleach)
  • Insecticides (some external antiparasitic products that we spray on our pets and in their environment)
  • Poisonous insects (cantharids)
  • Poisonous plants

These products, animals and plants, contain chemicals and enzymes toxic to cats that your body can not metabolize. Later in the treatment section, we’ll talk more about these products, their effects and how to treat them.

General Symptoms of Domestic Feline Poisoning

The symptoms, unfortunately, are very varied since they depend on the origin of the poisoning and the degree of intoxication . But then we show you the most common symptoms and signs that cats can present in case of poisoning:

  • Vomiting and diarrhea sometimes with blood
  • Excessive salivation
  • Cough and sneezing
  • Gastric irritation
  • Irritation of the skin that has come into contact with the toxic
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Convulsions, tremors and involuntary muscle spasms
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty of coordination in the extremities due to neurological problems (ataxia)
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Frequent urination (frequent urination)

First aid and how to proceed before a poisoning in a cat

In the case of detecting any symptoms previously described we must act on the situation. The most important thing is to call the veterinarian, stabilize the animal and collect as much information and a sample of the poison so that the veterinarian can help in the best way. It is always better if there are two people to help and not just one. So, for example, while calling the vet the other may try to stabilize the garo, since we must keep in mind that in cases of poisoning time is gold.

The following are the most common steps:

  1. If our pet is very weak, almost faints or is unconscious we must put it in an open, ventilated and illuminated area . This allows us to better observe any other symptoms besides offering fresh air to our friend. To raise it we must be careful and do it in such a way as to grip the whole body firmly. If you do not have an outdoor area, a bathroom or kitchen is usually well lit and have handy water, which you will probably need.
  2. It is very important to carefully remove the source of poisoning if you can detect it so that it does not intoxicate the animal or humans who live with it.
  3. As soon as you can see the cat well, we must urgently call the vet, this helps to calm us, focus on us and indicate how to proceed. The sooner you call the vet the more likely your cat will survive. We must identify the source of poisoning if possible, as this will be one of the first things the vet will ask you for. This will indicate many things and one of the most important is whether to provoke vomiting or not to the feline. We should not make them vomit just because we think that we help them to extract the poison. We must remember that if it is something ingested for more than two hours the act of vomiting will not help at all and will only weaken it,
  4. If you can identify the venom, you should give the veterinarian as much information as you can, such as the name of the product, its active ingredient, potency, amount more or less that it may have ingested, and the time it has passed since it did, among other indications depending on the type of poison that has produced the poisoning.
  5. We should not give you water, food, milk, oils or any other home remedy until we know for sure what poison to ingest and how to proceed, so it is best to wait for the vet’s directions while giving you as much information. This happens because if you do not know well what is happening any of this food can produce an effect contrary to what we expect, thus worsening the state of our friend.
  6. If you want to give something to drink while waiting for the veterinarian and he does not contraindice you, you should give him water or salt water with a syringe.
  7. If we decide that due to the origin of the poison we should make the cat vomit we must follow certain rules for the induction of vomiting to avoid unnecessary damage during the process. These rules will be listed later in this article.
  8. Although we can cause the cat to vomit, a part of the poison has already been absorbed by the intestine, so you should try to reduce the advance of this absorption of the poison . This is possible through activated carbon, which we explain later how to use.
  9. If the contamination has occurred by some powder or oily substance and has adhered to the animal’s pleo we should shake it with an intense brushing in case it is dust or use some hand cleaner that removes the oily substances. If you still can not remove the toxin from the hair, you should cut a piece of the hair as it is preferable to eliminate it then regret a deterioration of the state of the animal.
  10. If the cat is awake a little stunned and the vet does not tell us otherwise, it will be good to give him fresh water to drink, since many poisons that cats usually ingest affect the kidneys and liver. Giving you fresh water reduces the impact on these organs a bit. If you do not get it you can give it water through a syringe.
  11. Before going to the vet or before he arrives, if possible, you should keep a sample of the poison with which the cat was poisoned, along with the packaging, label, etc., that may be part of that poison. So the veterinarian will have the most information to help our friend.

Treatments for various causes of poisoning in cats

Here are the treatments for the most common causes of cat poisoning , which we should only do if our veterinarian tells us or if we do not really have a choice. Ideally these measures should be carried out by a professional.

  • Arsenic : Arsenic is present in insecticides, pesticides and poisons for pests and rodents. The most common symptoms in this case are acute diarrhea and sometimes with some blood, depression, weak pulse, general weakness and cardiovascular collapse. These symptoms occur due to the acute inflammation caused by arsenic in various internal organs like the liver or the kidneys. In this case, if the poison was ingested within two hours by the cat, the emergency treatment is the induction of vomiting, followed by oral administration of activated charcoal and after an hour or two should administer gastric protectors such as pectin or kaolin.
  • Shampoo, soap or detergent : In these cases the symptoms are lighter and easier to treat. Many of these products contain caustic soda and other corrosive substances, so it should never induce vomiting. The symptoms are dizziness, vomiting and diarrhea. If it is a small amount ingested and the veterinarian does not tell us otherwise, a good way to help the cat’s organism and treat this poisoning by giving it milk or water.
  • Medicines for humans: This is a great danger that is always around without realizing it, since we usually think that they are well guarded. Moreover, the problem is not only this trust that we have but sometimes the lack of knowledge, and we end up giving them some of these medicines to lower the fever or to calm other symptoms. It is a big mistake, since most of these medicines are not made for dogs or cats, and although it gives them the minimum or recommended dose for children, we are intoxicating our partners. Therefore, never take your pet without consulting a veterinarian. In addition, we should know that most of these drugs are eliminated by the liver after metabolized, but cats can not adequately metabolize many medicines or vitamins.
  1. Acetyl salicylic acid (Aspirin): As we know it is a very common analgesic and antipyretic. But in cats it produces a very negative effect through vomiting (sometimes with blood), hyperthermia, rapid breathing, depression and even death.
  2. Paracetamol : It is an anti-inflammatory and antipyretic widely used by humans that is very effective. But again, it’s a deadly weapon for cats. It damages the liver, darkens its gums, produces salivation, rapid breathing, depression, dark urine and can result in the death of the animal.
  3. Vitamin A : We often have vitamin complexes at home for times when we want to avoid colds or other common diseases. These vitamin complexes include Vitamin A. In addition, this vitamin can be found in some food supplements and in some foods such as raw liver, which are sometimes targeted by the curiosity of cats. The excess of this vitamin produces in the felines drowsiness, anorexia, stiffness of the neck and the joints, intestinal obstruction, loss of weight, besides a strange positions like to sit on the hind legs but raising the front paws or lying down but leaving everything the weight on the ends without getting to relax.
  4. Vitamin D : This vitamin can be found in vitamin complexes, but also in rodenticides and in some foods. Hypervitaminoses D produce anorexia, depression, vomiting, diarrhea, polydipsia (extreme thirst) and polyuria (very frequent and abundant urination). This is due to the kidney and hemorrhagic lesions that occur in the digestive and respiratory tract.
  • Tar : Tar included several products like cresol, creosote and phenols. It is found in household disinfectants and other products. Poisoning in the case of cats by these products usually happens by absorption through their skin, although it can also happen by ingestion. This intoxication causes the stimulation of the nervous system, the weakness of the heart and damage to the liver, the most visible symptoms being weakness jaundice(yellowing of the skin and mucous membranes due to increased bilirubin), loss of coordination, excessive rest and even coma, and depending on the level of poisoning may cause death. There is no specific treatment. In case you have recently ingested, you can administer saline and charcoal solutions, followed by egg whites to soften the corrosive effects of the poison.
  • Cyanide: It is found in plants, in poisons for rodents and in fertilizers among others. In the case of felines, cyanide poisoning is most often caused by the ingestion of plants containing cyanide compounds, such as reeds, apple leaves, maize, flaxseed, sorghum and eucalyptus. The symptoms usually appear after 10 to 15 minutes after the ingestion and can observe an increase the excitation that quickly turns into respiratory difficulties, which can end in suffocation. The veterinarian’s next treatment is the immediate administration of sodium nitrite.
  • Ethylene glycol: It is used as antifreeze in the internal combustion engine cooling circuits and is commonly known as antifreeze for the car. The taste of this compound is sweet, something that attracts even more an animal and leads them to consume it. But, cats do not distinguish the sweet taste, in the case of cats does not occur very often and sometimes happens to ingest this substance but not by its flavor. The symptoms are appear very quickly after ingestion and may give the feeling that our cat is drunk. The symptoms are vomiting, neurological signs, lethargy, loss of balance and ataxia (difficulty in coordination due to neurological problems). What should be done in these cases is to induce vomiting and give activated charcoal followed by sodium sulfate within one to two hours after ingesting the venom.
  • Fluorine : Fluoride is used in rat poisons, oral cleansers (toothpaste and mouthpiece) and environmental acaricides. Because fluoride is toxic to dogs and cats, we should never use our toothpaste to wash our mouths. Special toothpastes are sold to them that do not have fluoride. The symptoms are gastroenteritis, nervous signs, increased heart rate and depending on the level of poisoning including death. In the case of severe poisoning, calcium gluconate should be given intravenously or magnesium hydroxide or oral milk immediately so that these substances are combined with the fluoride ions.
  • Chocolate: Chocolate contains theobromine which is a chemical belonging to methylxanthines. In humans it does not produce any harmful effects since we have enzymes that can metabolize theobromine and convert it into other safer elements. On the other hand, felines do not have these enzymes which causes a small amount to intoxicate them. Therefore, it is a human food that we can love and so we often give our pet as a prize and this is a huge mistake. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning usually appear within six to twelve hours after ingestion. The main symptoms and signs are constant thirst, vomiting, salivation, diarrhea, restlessness, and swollen belly. After a time the symptoms progress and appears hyperactivity, tremors, frequent urination, tachycardia, bradycardia, respiratory distress, heart failure and respiratory failure. First-aid treatment in this case is, as soon as you take care of the ingestion, induce vomiting of the cat and give it activated charcoal orally. If the chocolate intake occurred after two hours or more, the vomit will not be very useful once the stomach digestion process has already happened. Therefore, we must take the intoxicated cat directly to the veterinarian so that he treats the symptoms immediately with the appropriate material.
  • Raisins and grapes : This case of poisoning is not very common, but it still happens. It happens more in dogs than in cats. It is known that the toxic dose in dogs is 32g of raisins per kg of body weight and 11-30mg per kg of body weight in the case of grapes. So knowing this estimate, we know that for a cat toxic doses will always be smaller amounts. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, extreme thirst weakness, dehydration, inability to produce urine and ultimately kidney failure, which can result in death. As first aid you should induce vomiting to your pet and then take it to the vet where, in addition to other necessary things, urination will be induced through intravenous fluid therapy.
  • Alcohol: In this case of animal poisoning the most common alcohols are ethanol (alcoholic beverages, disinfectant alcohol, fermentation paste and elixirs), methanol (cleaning products such as windscreen wipers) and isopropyl alcohol (disinfectant alcohol and pet flea aerosols made with alcohol). Isopropyl alcohol has twice the toxicity of ethanol. The toxic dose is between 4 and 8 ml per kg. This type of toxin is not only absorbed through its ingestion but also happens through absorption through the skin. Cats are especially sensitive to these alcohols, so we should avoid rubbing them with anti-fleas that are not suitable for cats and contain alcohol. Symptoms appear within the first half hour to one hour of intoxication. Vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, disorientation, tremors, difficulty in breathing and in the most serious cases, due to this respiratory insufficiency, ends up causing the death of the animal. As first aid should ventilate the cat, ie move the animal to the outside without it is directly in the sun, and if alcohol intake has recently induced vomiting. Do not give activated charcoal, as in this case will have no effect. Then go to the vet to see and act as needed. since in this case it will have no effect. Then go to the vet to see and act as needed. since in this case it will have no effect. Then go to the vet to see and act as needed.
  • Chlorine and bleach: Household cleaners and those used for swimming pools contain bleach and therefore contain chlorine. Sometimes we see that our pets like to drink the water from the mop bucket containing these mixed products, drink the freshly treated pool water and bathe in it. The symptoms are vomiting, dizziness, salivation, anorexia, diarrhea and depression. As first aid we should administer milk or milk with water to our cat as a syringe in good form in a leisurely way and letting the same go drinking by itself. We should never induce vomiting, it will vomit by itself and cause even more vomiting will cause it to become weak and damage the digestive tract, because bleach and chlorine are corrosive to the stomach. Activated charcoal should not be given as this will have no effect. If you have not swallowed and poisoning has occurred through the skin, you should bathe the cat with a mild cat shampoo and rinse with plenty of water so that no debris remains. Finally you should call the vet for a check up.
  • Insecticides : Insecticides include products containing carbamates, chlorinated hydrocarbon compounds, permethrin or pyrethroids and organophosphates, all of which are toxic to our pet. Signs of poisoning in this case are frequent urination, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, cramps, ataxia and seizures. In this case the first aid will be the administration of activated charcoal followed by &

    Dose advice and oral administrations

    • Induction of vomiting : We must achieve a solution of hydrogen peroxide 3% (hydrogen peroxide) and a child syringe to administer the solution orally. We should never use solutions that have higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide like some hair products, this will further harm the cat rather than help. To prepare this solution and administer it you should know that the dose of 3% hydrogen peroxide is 5 ml (coffee spoon) per 2.25 kg body weight and is given orally. For an average cat of 4.5 kg it needs more or less than 10 ml (2 tablespoons of coffee). Repeat the process every 10 minutes for a maximum of 3 doses. You can administer this oral solution soon after poisoning, use 2 to 4 ml per kg of body weight of this solution of 3% hydrogen peroxide.
    • Effective way for the cat to swallow the oral solution: This involves introducing the syringe between the cat’s teeth and tongue so that it is easier to introduce the liquid and easier to swallow. In addition, we should never introduce all of the liquid at once, but 1 ml at a time and wait for it to swallow and return another 1 ml.
    • Activated charcoal : The normal dose is 1 g of powder per one-half pound of body weight of the cat. An average cat requires about 10 g. we must dissolve the activated carbon in the smallest possible volume of water to form a kind of thick paste and use the syringe to administer it orally. Repeat this dose every 2 or 3 hours for a total of 4 doses. In the case of severe poisoning the dose is 3 to 8 g per kilogram of body weight once every 6 or 8 hours for 3 to 5 days. This dose may be mixed with water and administered with a syringe orally or with a stomach probe. Activated charcoal is sold in the form of liquid already diluted in water, powder or tablets which can also be dissolved.
    • Pectin or kaolin : Must be administered by the veterinarian. The indicated dose is 1 to 2 g per kg of body weight every 6 hours for 5 or 7 days.
    • Milk or milk mixture with water : We can give milk or a 505 milk dilution with water when we want it to bind to certain poisons, for example fluorine, and thus the passage through the organism is less harmful. Appropriate is a dose of 10 to 15 ml per kilo of body weight or anything the animal can consume.
    • Sodium nitrite : should be administered by the veterinarian. 10 g in 100 ml of distilled water or an isotonic saline solution with a dose of 20 mg per kg of body weight of the animal affected by the cyanide should be administered.

    This article is purely informative, in YourCatCareguide.com.br we do not have the capacity to prescribe veterinary treatments nor to make any type of diagnosis. We suggest that you bring your pet to the veterinarian in case of any type of condition or malaise.

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    Emily Harris

    Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-pI am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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