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Published: Nov 16, 2011

Cats tend to be more finicky about what they eat than dogs, who tend to try anything. This assumption might make owners think their cat is less likely to get poisoned by household products or other toxins, however, this notion can be very wrong. VCA Animal Hospitals reports that cat poisoning is common, mainly because of their obsessions with grooming and their intense curiosity.

When compared to dogs, cats often become more ill after exposure to a small amount of poison. First, cats have smaller bodies, so ingesting even a tiny amount of a chemical can be deadly. Cats also tend to hide when they feel sick, so an owner may not realize their pet has been poisoned until well after the fact. VCA also reports that cats have lower levels of some liver enzymes which may make it harder for their bodies to decontaminate many chemicals.

Common clinical signs that a cat may have been poisoned include gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea and sometimes even neurological signs such as tremors, incoordination and seizures. Other signs such as inflammation of the skin, coughing or difficulty breathing may also indicate a possible toxin exposure.

If an owner thinks their cat has ingested or been exposed to chemicals, he or she should bring it to a veterinarian health clinic immediately. A few common household items that are toxic to cats include antifreeze, fuels, disinfectants, onions, cocoa, prescription medications, and tyelenol.