By: | | Cats

It’s true, curiosity really can kill your cat. Normal, seemingly harmless materials around your home can be lethal to your beloved kitty. Even small amounts of these substances can cause severe reactions, even death. It’s best to keep these items out of your home, or stored where even the most adventurous cat can never access them.


Cats cannot taste sweetness, so they are less likely than dogs to ingest toxic foods. Even so, some cats are drawn to new flavors and textures. Though you don’t hear about them getting poisoned by chocolate as often as dogs, they are just as sensitive to the caffeine and theobromine, which can lead to a rapid heart rate, tremors, seizures, vomiting, and death.

Indoor Plants

Cats tend to chew on plants. You should keep toxic plants out of your home even if you do not believe that your cat has this dangerous habit. If your cat is ever in your garden, you should avoid planting them outdoors too. It’s best to keep your cat indoors at all times because you cannot possibly know if any of your neighbors have these plants on their property.

Some of the plants that poison cats the most frequently include:

  • Lilies
  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Azaleas
  • English Ivy

You should research any plants you bring into your home or garden to make sure they are safe for cats. As another precaution, you can provide safe plants for your cats to nibble, like wheatgrass, though you cannot rely on your cat to only chew on safe plants if poisonous plants are present.

Household Chemicals

You can safely assume that most chemicals around your home that are not meant for consumption are probably toxic to cats if ingested. Your cat does not have to intentionally consume the chemicals, either. If you cat walks over the substance, or if any is spilled on their fur, they may eventually lick it off their paws or coat.

Try switching to natural, chemical-free cleansers whenever possible. Vinegar is an effective, nontoxic cleanser, and the sour odor goes away when it evaporates. Keep your cat away from floors and windows while you’re cleaning with toxic chemicals until they are completely dry.

Antifreeze is one of the most common causes of poisoning in cats. Dogs, children, and cats are drawn to it, and it only takes a teaspoon to kill your cat. If you keep your cat indoors, you’ll greatly decrease the chances that they will ever encounter it.

What to Do If Your Cat May Have Ingested Something Toxic

If you suspect your cat has consumed a toxic substance, you should call your veterinarian or ASPCA Poison Control immediately.

Your veterinarian may tell you to give your cat a small dose of peroxide to induce vomiting if it has been less than an hour since your cat has been poisoned. Only do this with your vet’s advice, as this is not the best solution for every situation. Just keep a fresh bottle on-hand in case you ever need it.

Act fast, because the longer you wait, the less likely your cat will fully recover. Your veterinarian will likely induce vomiting and give your cat activated charcoal to help absorb the toxins before they reach the bloodstream. Your vet may then keep your cat overnight to watch for complications.

Your Maryland and DC Pet Sitter Is Your Cat’s Advocate

Though we can’t prevent all accidents, it’s helpful to have a professional pet sitter who knows CPR and may recognize potential hazards around your house. Contact us to set up your a Meet & Greet.