Poisons to Protect Your Cat From

Easter lily
iStockphoto
Lilies might be beautiful, but they can be toxic for cats.

Many food and household items, as well as plants, can be toxic to cats, sometimes even fatally so. It's important to be aware of what could hurt your feline friend and to use and store those substances safely.

Never give your cat medicine meant for people unless instructed to do so by your veterinarian. Cats metabolize medications differently and many over-the-counter medications, such as acetaminophen, can be fatal. It's important to store your medicine out of your cat's reach.

Because cats lick their feet and fur, they can potentially ingest things they would not intentionally eat. That means it's important to be mindful of potential outdoor hazards. For instance, fertilizers and insecticides can be toxic to pets and it's important to keep your cat out of any areas treated with these products, as well as to keep your cat away from mouse and rat poisons. Additionally, many plants are toxic to cats, especially certain types of lilies. It's important to be aware of the kinds of yard and household plants you have and whether they pose a danger to your cat.

Garage chemicals, like paint containing lead, antifreeze, gasoline and propane, are also hazardous to pets and should be stored out of reach, with any spills mopped up. 

Finally, it's generally not a good idea to give your cat table food. Some human foods are toxic to cats, including coffee, onions and alcohol.

Signs of poisoning can vary, but may include vomiting, lethargy or convulsions. If you think your cat has ingested something poisonous, call your vet or an animal poison control hotline immediately and, if possible, have the label of the suspected poison available since poisons can act in different ways.

The  ASPCA has a 24-hour poison control hotline at 888-426-4435. The  Pet Poison Helpline number is 855-764-7661. (Note: Callers will be charged a consultation fee.)

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