Symptoms of Cat Poisoning

3 min read
Jan 12, 2022

We love cats for their intelligence, curiosity, and adventurous spirit. Unfortunately, these traits can often get our feline friends in trouble. Cat’s have a tendency to hunt, sample new drinking holes, nibble on unfamiliar foods, or even take a quick taste of some sweet-smelling chemicals. This can lead them to become sick, or even get poisoned.  As a cat owner, it’s essential to know the symptoms of cat poisoning in order to recognize when your furry companion needs medical attention. 

In this article, we’ll break down the main signs and symptoms of poisoning in a cat, as well as some of the most common culprits of cat poisoning.  

What Causes Poisoning in Cats 

There are many ways in which a cat could be poisoned.  
Cats may ingest poison during grooming if they have previously rubbed up against a poisonous substance which left residue on their coat. 

Another common way that cats may consume poison is by drinking from contaminated water sources or by eating prey (such as mice) that has been previously poisoned.  

Ultimately, the likelihood that your cat will be poisoned depends on the type of lifestyle he or she leads. Cats that spend a lot of time roaming freely outdoors may have more chances to ingest toxic substances. However, house cats aren’t necessarily free of threats.  

Household Items that Can Be Dangerous for Cats
There’s a chance you have many items around your house that are toxic for your cat. 

Many gardening substances, solvents, chemicals, car fluids, and even common human medications could be dangerous if your cat was to ingest them.  
If you have any of the following substances in your home, be sure to keep them out of paws reach:

  • Antifreeze fluid  
  • Pesticides   
  • Insecticides  
  • Human antidepressants  
  • Paracetamol  
  • Rat poison  

Many cats love to explore outside. While this activity is entertaining, it comes with its own sets of dangers.
It’s not unusual for cats to rub against plants or even chew and eat them. While most of the plants your cat will encounter are harmless, some are toxic.   
If you’re an avid gardener you may wish to avoid growing the following toxic plants in the name of your cat’s safety: 

  • Azaleas  
  • Avocado  
  • Ficus  
  • Rhododendrons   
  • Bird of Paradise  
  • Hydrangeas  
  • Buttercups  
  • Lilies  
  • Oleander  
  • Peace Lily  
  • Pothos   
  • Tulip and Narcissus   
  • Wisteria  

Always make sure you store your chemicals securely and do not keep toxic plants within easy reach of your cat. Of course, cats won’t necessarily be inclined to eat every poisonous plant but it’s still wise to play it safe. 

Now, how do you tell if your cat has been poisoned?  

Symptoms of Cat Poisoning 

The symptoms of poisoning in cats will vary depending of the type of poisonous substance and the way in which your cat ingested it.  

The most common symptom of poisoning in a cat are tremors all over his or her body.  You may also notice excessive drooling, coughing, and sneezing on a more frequent basis than normal. Often when a cat is poisoned, he or she will also show signs of depression and weakness, and in some cases, they will have difficulty breathing.

If your cat has been poisoned through his or her skin, they might show signs of irritation in the area that was affected. Your cat may develop a rash or experience extreme itchiness which could cause them to scratch the affected area. If you notice your cat acting like this, be sure to check for signs of skin irritation.   
Other common symptoms of cat poisoning are lack of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. You may also see blood in your cat’s vomit, stools or saliva. 

What To Do If Your Cat Has Been Poisoned 

If you find that your cat has consumed a toxic substance or notice that he or she is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, take them to the vet right away. 
If possible, also take a sample of the substance your cat has ingested. This way the veterinarian can identify exactly how to treat your cat.   

Will Cat Insurance Help? 
We never want to think of our pets suffering from health complications, but unfortunately, accidents do happen.  Consider investing in a cat insurance policy with MetLife Pet Insurance.1  Get your free quote today.

Protect your Cats

Enroll in 3 Easy Steps

 Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances.

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.

2 Provided all terms of the policy are met. Application is subject to underwriting review and approval. Like most insurance policies, insurance policies issued by IAIC and MetGen contain certain deductibles, co-insurance, exclusions, exceptions, reductions, limitations, and terms for keeping them in force. For costs, complete details of coverage and exclusions, and a listing of approved states, please contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC.