National Poison Prevention: Cautious Caretakers for Curious Cats

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March is National Poison Prevention Month. Though much of the attention is on babies and toddlers, a curious cat can be just as much of a challenge. Cats are nefarious for getting themselves into interesting spaces so it is especially important to poison-proof your home to make sure your kitty’s counter surfing doesn’t end tragically.

Preparation is key to keeping your kitty safe; a little knowledge goes such a long way to keep everyone in the house happy and healthy. Online resources can help identify potentially hazardous plants, foods, and substances around the house. Even the most prepared homes are no match for an insatiably curious kitten, so it’s a good idea to have the number of an emergency vet in your immediate area and the Pet Poison Helpline in an easy to get to place, just in case your emergency is outside office hours.

Many household wares poisonous to cats are common sense and we keep them tucked away already. Household cleaners and pest killers, medications, and beauty products are typically locked up tight. Other items may not be as well known potential hazards. Lilies, many human foods, and cocoa mulch. Onions and garlic seem like unlikely offenders, but can be very toxic to your pets if ingested.

Even though medication is something many pet owners keep locked away, it is estimated that the second most popular candidate for cat poison calls is over the counter and prescription medicine. Whether it’s the amusing rattle of the pills inside or simply the dangerous side of curiosity, cats work their ways into pill bottles that may be left on bathroom counters or in purses in reach of pets. Antidepressants, in particular, seem to attract cats and should be kept far away from them. Cats tend to be more sensitive than dogs to many poisons including NSAIDs, it’s important to speak with a veterinarian before you give any pet medicine.

It’s almost time for warmer weather and if your cat spends any time outside there are all new smells and flavors to investigate. Be mindful of any accessible chemicals in your garage or shed. The sweet taste of antifreeze can be tempting as can rolling around in freshly planted flowers and bushes or cornering a pesky field rat. It’s important to immediately clean any chemical spills around the home to prevent your curious cat from pawing at hazardous liquids. You may not realize that rodents that have been poisoned with certain rodenticides may inadvertently cause poisoning to your hunting cat. Always read the instructions and warning labels of any chemicals that your pet may come into contact with however direct or indirect.

If you believe that your cat has ingested a poisonous substance, it’s of the utmost importance that you take swift action, especially if you’re not quite sure what the substance is. Easy access to the primary vet, emergency vet, and Pet Poison Hotline phone numbers can make all the difference when moments matter. Poison-proofing your home can dramatically cut down on the chance of any incidents. Knowledge is your first defense in keeping a happy home for you and your pet.


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