Top Cat Toxins

During Poison Prevention Week, see if your home is as safe as possible for your cat.

By Anastasia Thrift | Updated: March 6, 2014, 7 a.m., EST

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Pixiebob Cat
Keep human medication out of reach of cats.
Pixiebob Cat
Stop cats from sniffing Easter lilies (unless they're fake, like the ones above).
Pixiebob Cat
Although some disagree, the ASPCA firmly states that avocados are toxic to cats.
Pixiebob Cat with Paw
Raisins are toxic to cats, and will put a frown on any cat's face.
Our households contain everyday items that can pose threats to our cats' health.

Poison ingestion could lead to cats vomiting, bloating or suffering other gastrointestinal distress. In severe cases, cats could experience neurological issues.

The Pet Poison Helpline lists the following as the top five poisons to cats. The hotline for dog and cat safety from toxicity compiled the list from "thousands of calls" it received from cat owners and veterinarians treating cats that led to emergencies over the past two years.

Top Five Cat Toxins
  1.     Topical spot-on insecticides
  2.     Household cleaners
  3.     Antidepressants
  4.     Poisonous plants
  5.     Human and veterinary NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
The ASPCA provides updated information on how to prevent pet illness with their list of toxic and nontoxic items for cats and dogs. Here’s a list of what to eliminate in a poison-free pet environment.

Bad Food for Cats
•    Alcoholic beverages
•    Avocado
•    Chocolate (all forms)
•    Coffee (all forms)
•    Fatty foods
•    Macadamia nuts
•    Moldy or spoiled foods
•    Onions, onion powder
•    Raisins and grapes
•    Salt
•    Yeast dough
•    Garlic
•    Products sweetened with xylitol

Hot-Weather Harms
•    Animal toxins—toads, insects, spiders, snakes and scorpions
•    Blue-green algae in ponds
•    Citronella candles
•    Cocoa mulch
•    Compost piles Fertilizers
•    Flea products
•    Outdoor plants and plant bulbs
•    Swimming-pool treatment supplies
•    Fly baits containing methomyl
•    Slug and snail baits containing metaldehyde

Common examples of human medications potentially lethal to cats and dogs, even in small doses, include:
•    Pain killers
•    Cold medicines
•    Anti-cancer drugs
•    Antidepressants
•    Vitamins
•    Diet Pills

Cold-Weather Concerns
•    Antifreeze
•    Liquid potpourri
•    Ice melting products
•    Rat and mouse bait

Common Household Hazards
•    Fabric softener sheets
•    Mothballs
•    Post-1982 pennies (due to high concentration of zinc)

Pet health experts warn against using fabric softener sheets near cats and dogs because these sheets contain cationic detergents. According the the "Merck/Merial  Manual for Pet Health," the home edition of the respected veterinary resource, these chemicals can cause corrosive tissue injury that can affect a pet's entire body. Cats are at a higher risk of toxin ingestion because of their grooming habits.

Although some companies promote using dryer sheets as pet hair repellents, only use dryer sheets in the dryer, and toss them after use.
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Reader Comments

Ann    moline, IL

7/20/2015 6:14:32 PM

i didnt know avocados were bad for cats ,i fed them some a couple times and they loved it ,they have been fine and never got sick

Samantha Frost    San Leandro, CA

7/20/2015 1:29:40 PM

You can use a wool ball in lieu of dryer sheets in the dryer such as woolsies or make your own - that will help with static and is nontoxic to cats & people.

Linda    Lyndhurst, NJ

3/23/2014 5:36:57 AM

Is it ok to dry my cat's blankie in a load that contains a dryer sheet? Would it be diffused enough?

Marcia    Molalla, OR

3/22/2014 11:47:01 AM

I have a cat that "nurses" on fleece blankets. She has one favorite, I can't use liquid softener because it upsets her tummy. Without anything the static is enough to send her up in flames. What should I do???

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