Jessica is an experienced pet mom with dogs, cats, rats, fish, axolotls, a gecko, chickens, and ducks.
Household Things That Are Toxic to Cats
If you have cats, you know that they get into everything. Any corner of your house that they can get to, they will explore. This is part of what makes cats so fun, but since they are so curious, it is important to make sure that there is nothing around your house that can hurt them.
This list will go over household items that should be kept away from cats, some of them are pretty surprising!
There are quite a few houseplants that are toxic to cats. This is especially important to be careful of because if your cat is anything like mine, they will eat anything green that you bring into the house. Some common houseplants that can harm cats are:
- Peace lilies
- Jade plants
This list goes over a ton of different toxic plants.
If you suspect your cat has eaten a poisonous houseplant, it is important to call your vet right away!
This one is surprising because cats are known for loving to play with a ball of yarn. The first reason yarn could be dangerous is that they could get tangled up in it, so it definitely isn’t a good toy for them to play with unsupervised.
The second reason is that string can get caught in a cat's digestive tract. Their tongues are covered in barbs, and this makes it so they can’t spit something like a string back up. This can result in a linear foreign body, which is where one end of the string gets caught in the digestive tract, making it impossible to pass. This can really hurt your cat, and it takes surgery to get rid of it.
Lilies, whether they are fresh flowers or houseplants, are super dangerous to your cat. Any plant in the lily family is toxic to cats, although some are worse than others. Every part of the plant including the stem, pollen, and leaves is toxic to cats. Eating one or two leaves from a lily can cause liver failure, and this could be fatal.
The most immediate symptom of lily poisoning is vomiting, but some symptoms take 12 or more hours to develop.
Some other symptoms include:
- decreased appetite
- increased or decreased thirst
- increased or decreased urination
- seizures (occasionally)
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If you suspect your cat has eaten lilies it is important to take them to the vet right away. Try to bring a sample of the plant if possible.
It is important to keep your medications out of your cats reach. Most human medications can hurt cats if they are eaten. Even vitamins can be harmful if a cat gets into them. Prenatal vitamins are especially dangerous because of their high iron content. If you ever suspect your cat has eaten human medication or vitamins it is important to call your vet immediately.
The best thing you can do to avoid this is to keep any medications out of your cat's reach. Even if you think your cat has been trained not to jump on the counter they still might do it every once in a while. You can avoid anything bad happening by keeping your medications in a cabinet and making sure that all of the lids on medication bottles are secure.
5. Rodent Bait
If your house has a pest problem you may be tempted to put out mouse/rat poison, but think twice if you have a cat. Rodenticides can be very harmful to cats.
Signs your cat may have eaten rat poison are:
- Bruising easily
- Bleeding or pale gums
- Blood in urine, feces, or vomit
- Weakness or lethargy
- Staggering or walking with a gait
- Labored breathing, which can signal blood accumulation in the chest
- An enlarged abdomen, which could be an accumulation of blood
If your cat is showing any of these symptoms it is very important that you take them to the vet immediately. If you know that your cat has gotten into rodent poison you should take them to the vet regardless of whether they are showing any symptoms.
Remember that cats will hunt and eat rats and mice. If the rats and mice have eaten rodenticides it can poison your cat. If you have a pest problem at your house please consider using a different method for taking care of it.
6. Certain Foods
Just like dogs, cats have certain foods that they can not eat. There are a number of foods that cats shouldn't eat, but here is a list of foods that are truly toxic to cats:
- Onions and garlic: Onions and garlic can cause anemia in cats. This also includes concentrated forms like onion and garlic powder.
- Chocolate: Chocolate is just as poisonous to cats as it is to dogs. Chocolate contains methylxanthines. Dogs and cats metabolize methylxanthines slower than humans, which is why chocolate is toxic to them and not to us. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in cats are vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, high body temperatures, increased heart rate, and seizures.
- Caffeine: Cats can't have anything with caffeine for the same reason they can have chocolate. Caffeine contains methylxanthines.
- Alcohol and raw dough: Raw dough is included because it causes expansion and creates alcohol in the stomach. Alcohol poisoning in cats can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lack of coordination, seizures, problems breathing, and even death.
- Grapes and raisins: Grapes and raisins cause kidney failure in cats. Symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, and decreased urination.
- Xylitol: This is found in things like sugar-free gum, toothpaste, candy, and mints. It is very toxic, even a small amount can lead to hypoglycemia and liver failure. Signs of xylitol poisoning are vomiting, weakness, trouble walking, lethargy, and seizures.
It is important to keep these foods away from your cat! Since so many recipes contain onions and garlic, it is also recommended to avoid feeding your cat table scraps.
7. Household Chemicals
This one probably goes without saying but there are a lot of household chemicals that are harmful to your cat. Some common ones to keep away from your cat are:
- De-icing salts (watch out for this when you come back inside, you may have some on your shoes)
- Dog flea and tick medication
A good practice is to keep all of these things in a place where your cat can not get to them. When you are cleaning with harsh chemicals such as bleach make sure to keep your cats away. Cats are often very curious about what their owners are doing and you don't want them to get into anything that could hurt them!
- Lily Toxicity and Your Cat
- Foods That are Dangerous or Toxic to Cats
- How To Tell If Your Cat Ate Rat Poison
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2021 Jess H
Jess H (author) from Oregon on March 03, 2021:
They do like to get into stuff. Thank you!
Sp Greaney from Ireland on March 03, 2021:
Every pet owner needs to be careful with leaving anything within site of their cat as they can be super nosy. This is a good list of things that you have put together here.