My cat has been poisoned - help!


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Would you know what to do if your cat had been poisoned? Read on for the symptoms so you can act quick.

If you suspect that your cat may have become exposed to a harmful substance, but is not showing signs of illness, stay calm! Top vet Bradley Viner explains the steps you should take:

Contact your local veterinary centre. Not all exposure situations require an immediate trip to the clinic, but it's always a good idea to check if you do need to pay them a visit.

Poisoning checklist

What should I do if I think my pet ate something poisonous?
If your cat is having seizures, losing consciousness, is unconscious or is having difficulty breathing, telephone ahead and bring your pet immediately to your local veterinarian or emergency veterinary clinic.

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What should I tell my vet?
Make sure you inform them of:

  • The species, breed, age, sex, weight and number of animals involved
  • The animal's symptoms
  • Information regarding the exposure, including the agent (if known), the amount of the agent involved and the time since the time of exposure.

Have the product container/packaging available for reference. Collect in a sealable plastic bag any material your pet may have vomited or chewed. This will help your vet ascertain what your cat has been poisoned with.

Most cats are poisoned by common household goods and products. These include prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including painkillers, cold and flu preparations and antidepressants.


  • All drugs should be kept out of reach, preferably in closed, locked cabinets.
  • Insecticides and insect control products such as flea and tick preparations for dogs, and insect baits, are potentially toxic to cats.
  • Common household plants such as lilies (including day lilies) azaleas, kalanchoe, rhododendron, sago palm and schefflera can also be harmful to pets.
  • Chemical bait products designed to eliminate mice, rats and other rodents are highly dangerous. When using any rodent killer, place the product in areas that are completely inaccessible to companion animals.
  • Common household cleaners such as bleaches, detergents and disinfectants.
  • Antifreeze poisoning is a very real possibility due to accidental spillages (cats find the liquid's sweet taste irresistable)
  • Gastrointestinal distress and irritation to the skin, eyes or respiratory tract may be possible if a curious cat has an inappropriate encounter.