The following list has been adapted from the Pet Poison Helpline, one of the two 24-hour telephone services that counsels people whose pets have ingested toxic substances. They amassed all the calls regarding cat poisonings that they received in 2013 and formulated this list.
- Lillies: Plants in the Lilium species, such as Easter, Tiger, and Asiatic lilies, cause kidney failure in cats. All cat owners must be aware of these highly toxic plants!
- Household Cleaners: Most general purpose cleaners (e.g., Windex, Formula 409) are fairly safe, but concentrated products like toilet bowl or drain cleaners can cause chemical burns.
- Flea and Tick Spot-On Products for Dogs: Those that are pyrethroid based (e.g., Zodiac, K9 Advantix, Sergeant’s, etc.) cause tremors and seizures and can be deadly to cats.
- Antidepressants: Cymbalta and Effexor topped the antidepressant list in 2013. Cats seem strangely drawn to these medications. Beware – ingestion can cause severe neurologic and cardiac effects.
- NSAIDs: Cats are even more sensitive than dogs to drugs like ibuprofen, acetaminophen and naproxen. Even veterinary specific NSAIDs like Rimadyl and Meloxicam should be used with caution.
- Prescription ADD/ADHD Medication: These amphetamines such as Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, and Vyvanse can cause tremors, seizures, cardiac problems and death.
- Over the counter cough, cold and allergy medication: Those that contain acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) are particularly toxic, as they damage red blood cells and cause liver failure.
- Plants containing insoluble calcium oxalate crystals: Common houseplants like the peace lily, philodendron, and pothos can cause oral/upper GI irritation, foaming at the mouth, and inflammation when ingested, but severe symptoms are uncommon.
- Household insecticides: Thankfully, most household sprays and powders are fairly safe, but it’s best to keep curious kitties away until the products have dried or settled.
- Glow sticks and glow jewelry: These irresistible “toys” contain a chemical called dibutyl phthalate. When it contacts the mouth, pain and excessive foaming occurs, but the signs quickly resolve when the cat eats food or drinks water.
If you are ever uncertain as to whether the substance or amount of something that you pet has ingested is toxic, then do not hesitate to contact our clinic, your local emergency hospital or one of the two animal poison control centres at the numbers below:
ASPCA: 1 (888) 426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline: 1 (855) 764-7661