Cat Food Poisoning

It is important to be able to quickly assess if your cat has contracted cat food poisoning. Knowing the signs and symptoms can be the difference between life and death for your cat. It is not always easy to tell if your cat has been poisoned. The early symptoms are almost flu-like in nature.

What are the signs of poisoning in cats?
There are many different poisons and many different reactions to poisoning. Signs that might show that your cat has been poisoned include:

  • shock or collapse
  • inflammation or swelling of the skin
  • depression or coma
  • changes in drinking, urinating and appetite
  • Salivation
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • twitching and fitting
  • breathing difficulties

What items are poisonous to cats?
You might be surprised to find that many household items, or at least those kept in your garden, shed or garage, are poisonous to cats. Cleaning products, decorating chemicals (for example, white spirit), and pest control agents can all be harmful if ingested. These include:

  • Rodent bait – especially anticoagulant types. Be aware that cats can also be harmed by eating poisoned rodents
  • Slug bait – especially if it contains metaldehyde or methiocarb
  • Weed killers
  • Insect killers

Avoid using these substances in an area that your cat uses. Place all cleaning products on a high shelf where they cannot be reached. Keep all lids and tops screwed tightly on toxic substances to reduce accidents.

What food is poisonous to cats?
If you have a cat that is happy to eat everything they’re given, it might surprise you to learn that some foods are poisonous to cats. With cats content to investigate shopping bags and leftovers in the kitchen, food is often readily available in the home – and this can, unfortunately, make your cat unwell. Some of the most common foods to cause poisoning in cats includes:

  • Grapes, sultanas, raisins, and currants – dried fruit can cause renal failure in cats, it is thought that cats suffering from ongoing kidney disease are more at risk. Their consumption can also lead to gastrointestinal signs such as vomiting and diarrhoea. Keep the fruit bowl away from your cat to stay safe.
  • Onions and garlic and other members of the allium family of vegetables. Symptoms of allium poisoning include vomiting, abdominal discomfort, and lethargy. Avoid feeding them to your feline, and always consult your vet if you suspect poisoning
  • Chocolate – theobromine, a chemical found in chocolate, is toxic to most animals and can cause illness in cats. Signs of poisoning include vomiting, diarrhoea, drinking a lot and disorientation
  • Alcohol – while it is obvious not to give your cat alcohol, accidents, and spillages occur. Ethanol, the chemical found in alcohol, is also in surgical spirit and hand sanitiser so make sure you keep these items out of reach

How do you know if your cat has food poisoning?

Signs of salt poisoning include the following :

  • diarrheoea
  • disorientation
  • seizures
  • anorexia
  • lethargy
  • weakness
  • vomiting

For this reason, it’s best to avoid having Himalayan Salt Lamps in your home or place them well out of your cat’s reach. If you think your cat has been poisoned by salt, seek the advice of your vet immediately.

First Stages
Vomiting and diarrhea are the first signs that your cat may have food poisoning. It is not normal for your cat to have these symptoms. If your cat suddenly exhibits these signs after eating the same food it always has, there may be a problem. The sooner that you have your cat checked by a veterinarian, the better the results will be.

Agitation or Lethargy
You know your cat’s personality better than anyone. If your cat is normally playful and then becomes lethargic, take it to the vet immediately. Lethargy is a sign of renal failure. If your cat becomes unusually agitated when it is normally calm, it is exhibiting signs of distress. Your cat is speaking to you in physical ways that it cannot verbalize.

RELATED: How to Care for a Malnourished Cat

Weakness and staggering are signs of serious problems. The poison is causing severe damage in the kidneys that may be irreversible at this point. It is possible to stop further damage if your cat receives treatment, but there can be long-term residual effects.

Heavy salivating is not normal for cats. This can be a sign of liver damage. Tremors and seizures are also possible signs of liver damage. Liver damage is not the most common effect of food poisoning; the most damage happens in the kidneys. If you catch food poisoning in time, it is likely that your cat will survive.

Cat Illnesses
There are many illnesses that can mimic cat food poisoning. The only way to tell is to take your cat to the veterinarian. Do not wait if you think there is something wrong. It may not be food poisoning, but it could be symptoms of another disease or infection. It is better to be safe than sorry.