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Most Common Household Toxins For Cats

Common Household Poisons Cats
Cats are curious little souls, often readily sniffing around unusual or random places in or around the home. While we celebrate feline curiosity and the funny and silly (and relatively harmless) predicaments it often leads to, this trait may predispose your cat to some not so obvious dangers in the home. The good news is that armed with the right information, you can easily cat-proof your home to keep your kitty healthy and safe.

Human Medicines

Some human over-the-counter and prescription human grade medicines pose serious toxicity risks to cats, including:

  • Antidepressants
  • Cancer medicines
  • Cold medicines
  • Diet pills
  • Pain relievers (acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K)

You may have learned that some common medicines work for people and cats. While this is true, refrain from offering your cat any medications without first consulting with your vet.   Many medicines that are virtually harmless for people can be very toxic, even fatal for cats.

Human Foods

Many cats beg when we sit down to eat, even try to steal some tidbits when we are not paying attention.  There are several humans foods that can be quite toxic to cats, including:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine in coffee, tea, certain sodas
  • Chives
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Onions
  • Raisins
  • Xylitol (an artificial sweetener found in sugarless gums, candies, toothpastes)
  • Yeast dough


Common houseplants and some others that may be present in and around the home can be toxic to cats.  These include:

  • Aloe
  • Azalea
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Hyacinths
  • Lily
  • Marijuana
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Rhododendron
  • Tulip

Common Household Chemicals

Some chemicals surprisingly can taste especially appealing to certain cats. Thus, without exception, keep any chemicals safely locked away, especially:

  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach
  • Detergents
  • De-icing salts (which pets may walk through and ingest by licking the salts from their pads)
  • Dog flea and tick medication (pills, collars, spot-on flea treatments, sprays, shampoos)
  • Fertilizers
  • Herbicides
  • Insect and rodent bait

Additional Household Hazards

Remain vigilant about common household items that can choke, strangle,  block intestines, or electrocute:

  • Chicken bones
  • Dental floss, yarn, or string
  • Holiday decorations, including lights and tinsel
  • Toys with small or movable parts that can be ingested.

If You Suspect Your Cat Has Been Poisoned

Act quickly!

Call your vet: Have your veterinary clinic’s and Animal Poison Control Center [(888) 426-4435] phone numbers posted in a visible, convenient place to refer to in a snap.

Watch for the onset of common clinical signs.  Common signs of feline toxicity include:

  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Coughing
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drinking and urinating excessively
  • Drooling
  • Seizures
  • Shivering
  • Skin irritation
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Dr. Roger Welton is a practicing veterinarian and highly regarded media personality through a number of topics and platforms.  In addition to being passionate about integrative veterinary medicine for which he is a globally recognized expert, Dr. Welton was also an accomplished college lacrosse player and remains to this day very involved in the sport.  He is president of Maybeck Animal Hospital , runs the successful veterinary/animal health  blogs Web-DVM and Dr. Roger’s Holistic Veterinary Care, and fulfills his passion for lacrosse through his lacrosse and sport blog, The Creator’s Game.

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