Poisoning: Everything Cat Lovers Need To Know

Cats have fine noses, but that doesn’t mean that they can recognize or smell poison as such. It is therefore particularly important to know which items in the household can be dangerous for cats.

Poisonous Plants for Cats

Some plants are particularly poisonous to cats. These include lilies, oleanders, poinsettias, rhododendrons, ivy, tulips, and holly trees.

The main problem with most plants and grasses is that they irritate the gastrointestinal lining and cause vomiting. Dogs use these plants to vomit. In cats, however, this behavior is rather unusual.

Poisonous Foods for Cats

Certain foods can also be toxic to cats. It is therefore particularly important to know what a cat can and cannot eat. The following foods should be avoided in addition to these ten foods:

  • Fish offal can cause paralysis and stiff muscles, also known as chastek.
  • Salt can cause urinary problems if it builds up in the kidney. Therefore, it is better to buy low-salt products.
  • Cats can also be lactose intolerant, so milk can cause diarrhea.
  • Onions, but also leeks and chives, contain thiosulfate, which destroys red blood cells and thus causes anemia.
  • Chocolate is a food that cats cannot digest and that can therefore be highly toxic for four-legged friends.
  • The same applies to drinks such as coffee or tea and of course to alcohol.


  • The most common and dangerous pesticides for cats include all types of insecticides, especially phosphoric acid esters or pyrethroids.
  • Insecticides for molluscs such as snails or slugs, also better known as molluscicides.
  • Fungicides, that is, anti-fungal agents.
  • Known rodenticides for use against rodents.

More Toxic Substances for Cats

There are certain substances in the household that can be toxic to cats, such as:

  • Medicines for us humans like aspirin or paracetamol
  • Products for the car such as antifreeze, brake fluid, etc.
  • Cleaning products such as bleach, disinfectants, polishes, etc.
  • Cosmetics of all kinds: sunscreen, nail polish remover, hair dye, make-up, etc.
  • Stronger chemicals like solvents, turpentine, or paint

How the Cat Can Be Poisoned

Cats can absorb the toxins in different ways:

  • You can swallow the poison. It is enough if the animals lick the poison. Then it can already be absorbed through the mucous membranes.
  • They can eat other animals, such as mice, that have previously been poisoned.
  • Cats can absorb the dangerous toxins through their skin. The latter can stick to the paws and get into the body when the cat is cleaning itself.
  • They can ingest toxic substances through the airways.

Symptoms of Cat Poisoning

  • Vomiting or diarrhea are signs of gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Tremors, poor coordination, depression, or nervousness are neurological symptoms.
  • Sudden cough, severe fits of sneezing, or breathlessness as signs of difficulty breathing.
  • Itching, eczema, or reddening of the skin, which are typical of skin conditions.
  • Loss of appetite, sudden weight loss, or increased water intake can all be symptoms of kidney failure.
  • Yellowish sputum or vomiting can be symptoms of liver failure.

These are just a few of the symptoms of poisoning. If the animal shows these signs, it is better for the owner to see the veterinarian immediately.

Cat Poisoned: What to Do?

Cats are carnivores and do not have liver enzymes, so they cannot metabolize some substances. This makes it difficult for them to recover from poisoning. For dogs, on the other hand, recovery is a little easier because they have these enzymes.

How to Prevent Poisoning?

  • If you have the above plants in your house, keep them out of the reach of cats. While this is easier said than done, it is still very important!
  • Owners can buy cat grass as the animals use it as a remedy for digestive problems.
  • Cat owners should store all chemicals in closets so that the cat never has access to the funds.
  • It is better to put them in tall cabinets to make sure that the cat really cannot reach them.
  • Cosmetics should also be stowed in cupboards. Alternatively, cat owners can keep the bathroom door closed to keep the cat away from the substances.

In addition to these precautionary measures, owners should know that their four-legged friends like to hide when they are not feeling well. So if you haven’t seen your cat for a long time, you should go looking for it, watch it closely, and, if necessary, take your cat to the vet.

Judy Taylor

Written by Judy Taylor

Judy Taylor combines her love of science and writing to educate pet owners. Her articles on pet wellness, published on a variety of platforms, reveal a deep passion for animals. With a teaching background and shelter volunteer experience, Judy brings expertise to the fields of writing and compassionate pet care.

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