New cat? Time for a household poison check - Dr. Marty Becker


New cat? Time for a household poison check

Tuesday, Sep 15th, 2020 | By Dr. Marty Becker

sick kitten at vet

If you have pets in your home, you need to put poisons in your place. And that place is completely out of their reach. Here are some specific concerns about cat poision prevention.

Q: I’m getting my first cat. Are there any household poisons or other dangers I should be concerned about?

A: Cats are not as likely as dogs to scarf up any old thing they run across, but they are still at risk of accidentally ingesting toxic substances such as ammonia, bleach, cleaning agents, disinfectants, drain cleaner, gasoline, oven cleaner, paint, and rodent poisons — all of which can kill your cat.

Maybe you mop the floor with pine-scented cleaner and your cat walks across it while it’s still damp. He then licks his paws to clean them off, and the next thing you know, he has been poisoned from ingesting the cleaner. That can happen with many substances if your cat walks through them. Antifreeze drips on the garage floor are a big concern, for instance.

Any time you use cleansers on floors, counters or other surfaces, put your cat in another room until the surface is dry or you have thoroughly wiped up the residue. Clean up antifreeze spills immediately, and never assume that poisons are out of your cat’s reach. Put anything toxic, especially if it could leak, inside a locked cabinet away from your cat’s normal living area. That includes weed killers, pesticides, turpentine and dried-up paint rollers. If you have a rodent problem, use traps that kill instantly instead of rodenticides or sticky traps that cause cruel, painful deaths.

Other household dangers include washing machines or dryers with doors left open. We know of a very sad case recently where a kitten was drowned in the washing machine because no one realized he was inside it. A cat may also find the warm interior of a dryer an inviting place to take a nap, but it could be fatal if someone turns it on without checking first.

There’s more – including pet disaster preparedness tips – in Pet Connection, the weekly nationally syndicated pet feature I co-write with Kim Campbell Thornton and my daughter, trainer Mikkel Becker.