The cat was not always domestic, and even in the wild, it was very careful about what it was going to eat.
This caution has persisted to this day. This is why food poisoning in cats is extremely rare, but there are other ways of getting the poison into the animal’s body. How can the owner recognize that the pet is poisoned, what to do and where to run?
What is poisoning?
Poisoning in a cat is a violation of the functions of organs and organ systems, due to the ingestion of toxic substances of various origins. Well, if in a simple way, if the animal’s body got poison (and not always with food or water), then all functions are disrupted, specific clinical signs appear.
And after noticing them, the owner must provide first aid, that is, do what will help the pet “hold out” to the comprehensive treatment of the doctor. And be sure to contact a veterinary clinic for qualified veterinary care after it is provided.
Ways of getting poison into the animal’s body
- Alimentary. In this case, the toxin enters the animal’s body through the mouth (i.e., with food, drink). Symptoms of a cat being poisoned may differ due to the origin of the poison (food, medications, phosphides, rat poison, etc.). But the main signs of such poisoning are diarrhea in the cat and vomiting.
- Aerogenic. Here everything is simple: the cat has inhaled fumes/toxic gases, toxins enter the lungs, are absorbed into the blood and spread throughout the body. That’s all – the pet was poisoned.
- Through the skin, mucous membranes. Often, the cause of such poisoning lies in the treatment of the animal from fleas, ticks and other parasites (often due to an overdose of the drug or improper use). Or it also happens that the pet runs through the beds treated with pesticides/insecticides/herbicides, fits on the floor that has just been washed with household chemicals, or somehow manages to get dirty in toxic substances (with its paws in the paint, its face in the washing powder). The poison enters the blood through the skin or mucosa (the same conjunctiva).
- Intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, intradermal, and other methods. The owner could have injected something, made a mistake with the drug or dosage, maybe even the place of administration. As a result, the animal is intoxicated. Therefore, it is still advisable to trust the veterinarian to do any injections, and not independently prescribe medications on the advice of neighbors or colleagues.
Possible causes of poisoning
As already mentioned above, the cat is a very cautious animal with an excellent sense of smell. Therefore, it is very rarely her fault that she was poisoned. Is that kids because of their desire to learn the whole world around them, or an adult animal that is very curious.
But if the owner knows about measures to prevent poisoning in a cat, he will try to protect the home, as well as prevent his pet from coming into contact with toxic substances.
- Poor-quality food. Sometimes owners for the sake of saving their time, or laziness, or any other reasons that are clear only to them, give the cat spoiled food (the remains of their own, which has already begun to sour, or the expiration date is coming to an end). Usually the animal sniffs carefully everything in the bowl, but if the pet is young, inexperienced, or has a cold (so the sense of smell is a little blunted), or maybe too hungry, it can eat the spoiled food.
- Medications. Some owners self-medicate or neglect the recommendations of a veterinarian who prescribed a drug to a sick animal. And because of an overdose or incorrectly set medication, poisoning occurs in the cat. And without professional help, the pet can be seriously injured.
- Insect bites or snake bites, resulting in venom in the animal’s blood. Sometimes the owner does not immediately notice that the animal is bitten. But in this situation, you need to act quickly, otherwise anaphylactic shock will cause a quick death. However, how many owners know what to do if a cat is bitten by a snake or bee?
- Not hidden household chemicals, paint products, pesticides or other poisons. A curious animal, especially a young one, will sniff, lick, or simply touch a jar of chemicals with its paw (which it will then lick or wash with this paw). If you decide to make repairs or General cleaning at home, then the animal must be isolated, or even better, temporarily “relocate” to safe conditions: to friends and relatives. Or at least move to a separate room where it is safe and there is good ventilation (but there should be no drafts).
- Do you have a lot of indoor plants or do you have a wide variety of vegetation in your flower beds or lawn? Be sure to check each one – whether it is poisonous to cats! Many decorative indoor flowers are poisonous to Pets, and the cat does not always “guess” about it. Chewed a leaf, for the sake of interest or harm, and poisoned, and then the owner does not know what to do.
- I would also like to single out rat poison as a separate item! When neighbors poison rodents (in an apartment or private house), the dying rodents “crawl out” into the light, where the cats catch them. Purr eats a poisoned mouse, as a result, the poison enters the hunter’s body. The symptoms are specific, so the owner, who knows about them, quickly realizes that the beloved pet has been poisoned.
Symptoms of poisoning in a cat
The most common symptoms of poisoning are cat diarrhea, vomiting, depression (sometimes, on the contrary, overexcitation). The body temperature drops, which slows down the metabolism, the poison is absorbed worse. Due to the fact that the cat has diarrhea and vomiting, dehydration develops. And the body “requires” the restoration of water balance, so the thirst increases, the animal tries to drink as much as possible.
When a cat is poisoned with rat poison, diarrhea and vomiting are bloody, and with a small wound, blood flows almost without interruption. This is because vitamin K, which is necessary for blood clotting, is destroyed. The animal will also have seizures, Central nervous system disorders (apathy, drowsiness), and body temperature may rise.
Sometimes the symptoms appear immediately, sometimes weakly expressed and this sluggish behavior persists in the cat for a week, but most often for a couple of days without treatment, the animal dies in terrible agony.
Treatment of a poisoned cat. First aid
First of all, it is necessary to exclude further contact with the toxic substance. Provide your pet with fresh air and plenty of water. If the cat is vomiting, you do not need to give antiemetics without the permission of the veterinarian!
The fact is that if the cat vomits, then the gastrointestinal tract is freed from toxins. The same applies to diarrhea. This is an “emergency measure” of the body that does not allow the poison to be absorbed through the intestinal mucosa.
It would be good to give adsorbents – coal, white clay (the first portion before washing the stomach, wait a little for the toxin to “settle” on the adsorbent,then wash the stomach or cause vomiting, and then give the coal again so that the remnants of the poison “bind” again and are not absorbed).
The first thing the owner should do is give as much water (clean) as possible so that the animal doesn’t get dehydrated. In addition, water reduces the concentration of the toxin in the blood, this will help to buy a little more time, which is enough to get to the doctor or to the veterinarian himself came to you.
Do not put enemas if you do not know what exactly caused the vomiting.
Usually, the veterinarian prescribes diuretics, laxatives, and emetics to remove toxic substances from the body as soon as possible. Only with all these drugs it is necessary to put a dropper so that there is no dehydration.
If the poisoning was caused by a drug, pesticides/insecticides/herbicides, snake or insect venom, or household chemicals, then without an antidote, a complete recovery can not be achieved. For example, if a cat is poisoned with rat poison, then first of all you need to do gastric lavage, and immediately enter an antidote – vitamin K preparations (for example, Vikasol).
Further, symptomatic treatment will be prescribed. If necessary, it is necessary to do injections of a medication that supports heart and respiratory activities. IVS with glucose or other saline solutions intravenously.
Prevention of poisoning
- Keep household chemicals and paint products away from the animal. Repair and clean without a pet.
- Monitor the quality of food and drink. Do not let the purr eat on the street, do not let the mice eat (caught – well done, but you can not eat).
- Do not prescribe any medications yourself. And if the veterinarian has prescribed treatment, then strictly observe the dosage, frequency, and method of administration of the drug.
- If you have released your pet into nature, make sure that it does not climb into the bushes (where there may be poisonous plants or insects/snakes), and does not run through the beds that have just been treated with chemicals.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and I’m a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.