Cat Environment and Harmful Substances

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Is your cat exposed to harmful substances? It is important that you always be aware of your cat’s environment. There are several household items that can severally harm your feline friend. According to the ASPCA, the most common potentially deadly substances found in your home are:

Human medications. Some cold relievers, antidepressants, dietary supplements, and pain relievers—most notably such commonly used substances as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol®), and ibuprofen are a common cause of feline poisoning.

Cats are apt to swallow pills that have been left on night stands or counter tops or have been accidentally dropped on the floor. Never give to your cat or allow them to eat human medications, these are substances that are very harmful or even deadly to your cat if ingested.

Insecticides. Cats can be poisoned by certain products that were designed specifically for dogs as a means of killing fleas, ticks, and other insects. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions while administering such pesticides.

Human food. Ingestion of many tasty substances, such as grapes, onions, raisins, avocados, and chewing gum that contains a sweetening chemical called xylitol, can be severely debilitating to a cat. Chocolate—especially baker’s chocolate—is particularly dangerous, since it contains chemicals that can potentially cause abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, depression, and seizures.

Indoor and outdoor plants. Flowers such as Lilies, tulips, foxglove, and philodendron are among hundreds of plants that are known to be poisonous to cats. Ingesting just a small leaf of some common ornamental plants such as poinsettias could be enough to make a cat ill, and swallowing a sizable amount could prove fatal. Lilies are especially toxic to cats; they can cause life-threatening kidney failure if ingested even in tiny amounts.

Veterinary medications. Although created for household animals, such preparations as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), heartworm preventatives, antibiotics, and nutritional supplements can be toxic if improperly administered.

Pest poisons. Substances that are designed to poison mice and rats contain ingredients that may be attractive to a cat as well. Depending on the type of rodent poison, ingestion can lead to such potentially life-threatening conditions as internal bleeding, seizures, and kidney damage.

Household cleaning products. Products such as bleach, detergents, and disinfectants can cause severe gastrointestinal and respiratory tract distress if swallowed by a cat.

Heavy metals. Lead, zinc, mercury and other metals may pose a severe threat if ingested or inhaled. Lead is especially dangerous, since cats are exposed to it through many sources, such as paint chips, linoleum, and dust produced when surfaces in older homes are scraped or sanded. Zinc is present in pennies minted after 1982 and ingestion of even a single penny may result in potentially fatal anemia and kidney failure.

Garden products. Fertilizers, for example, can cause severe gastric health issues and possible gastrointestinal obstruction if ingested.

Chemical hazards. Such products as ethylene glycol antifreeze, paint thinner, and swimming pool chemicals can cause kidney failure, gastrointestinal upset, respiratory difficulties, or chemical burns.

Click here to read more about holidays objects and substances that can harm to feline friend.


These are the most common harmful substances that can harm your cat. If you suspects that your cat is showing signs of any type of poisoning, contact a veterinarian immediately.



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