Poisoning in Cats – What You Should Know

We live our lives surrounded by various poisons and toxic substances, which can lead to potential illness in our pets. Poisoning is a common problem in dogs and cats due to their curious nature, indiscriminate diets and the intentional administration by a well-meaning owner.

Poison and toxin are terms commonly used interchangeably but do have slightly different meanings. A toxic substance is anything that causes abnormal body function. This includes overdoses of medications as well as poisonous substances. A poison is a substance that can result in abnormal body function and has no medical use.

Damage to the body is based on the amount of poison ingested and how long the poison was in the body before treatment. If treatment is immediate, many poisons do not result in significant illness. Some, regardless of how quickly treatment is administered, are fatal or result in permanent damage.

The effect of a poison is not always immediate. Some poisons do not cause illness for days, weeks or even years after ingestion but the most common poisons usually result in signs of illness within 3-4 days of exposure. Therefore, if you see your pet ingesting a potentially toxic substance, do not be lured into thinking he will be fine just because he does not immediately become ill. Every toxic ingestion is cause for concern and should prompt an immediate call to your veterinarian or local veterinary emergency facility.

Without witnessing exposure or ingestion of a poisonous substance, poisoning can be difficult to diagnose. Signs to watch for vary depending on the type of poison and type of exposure. Some poisons are inhaled and a few are absorbed, but the majority are ingested.

What to Watch For



Reducing Additional Absorption

Delay Absorption

Speed Elimination

Reduce Continued Toxin Damage

Supportive Care

Home Care and Prevention