Vet 101:March is Pet Poison Awareness Month – How To Keep Your Cats Safer

Odin-dog day afternoon-007

UPDATED: March is Pet Poison Awareness Month. It’s springtime and thoughts turn to spring cleaning, gardening and holidays like St. Patrick’s Day and  Easter. While most of us know of the obvious toxins like chemical cleaners, nail polish removers and insecticides, there are other quieter dangers like prescription meds or supplements, foods like chocolate, garlic, alcohol (watch dyes for making green beer or coloring easter eggs) and the very lethal pollen, stems and leaves of Easter and other lilies. It’s not necessarily the item but the quantity ingested that creates the hazard.

Spring cleaning is a good time to inspect and cat-proof your home from top to bottom.

If you think your cat has ingested something harmful, do not hesitate to call your vet or poison control hotline.

The other day I was testing a carpet cleaner to spot clean the stairs and the soapy water leaked a big puddle on the floor, at the same moment Odin bounced into the room. Cats have odd timing that way. I barked at him to stay and luckily saved him a trip to the bathtub and a paws washing. He’s always getting into mischief indoors and outdoors so I keep spray bottles of Vetericyn handy for abrasions and I apply coconut oil to protect and soothe dry paw pads.

Odin the cat licks paws pads and toes

A cat’s nose, paws, skin are highly sensitive to environmental irritants. Odin loves the snow but only for a few minutes.

cat-licking-nose-gris gris-cat wisdom 101

Odin-cat-sun-cat wisdom 101-paws

Veterinarian, Dr. Rich Goldstein has a few more tips to keep cats safe.

Many household items, ranging from floor cleaners and disinfectants to plants and foods, can be toxic to our pets. It’s important to be aware of them, and what to do if there’s exposure. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Always read the labels on cleaning products to see what it says about exposure to pets. Most will recommend keeping pets away (i.e. in the other room) until the product has completely dried.  Any cleaning product, even pet-safe products, can potentially cause skin irritation (if walked upon), or stomach upset (if ingested), or respiratory symptoms (if inhaled). Best to keep Fluffy out of the room, and ventilate the room until the products are fully dry and aired out.
  • If your kitty does come in contact with a cleaning solution, immediately wash the paws in warm water with a mild dish soap (like Dawn or Joy or Palmolive), rinse off the soapy water completely, and dry the feet thoroughly.
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Senior boy Merlin getting a gentle and natural bath.
  • Store household products in cat-proofed cabinets when not in use.
  • Put together a Poison Safety Kit to keep in your house (right next to the First Aid Kit that you have!). Among the items it should include are:
  • Fresh bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide, with a bulb syringe (to induce vomiting – but only on the advice of poison control or your veterinarian)
  • Grease-cutting dishwashing liquid (like Dawn, or Joy, or Palmolive) (to wash feet and fur)
  • A can of soft cat food
  •   A soft towel
  •  A bottle of saline eye flush and artificial tears (to protect the eye after flushing)
  •  Rubber gloves
  •  Tweezers
  • The number for your veterinarian, local emergency clinic, and Poison Control
  • The ASPCA has one of the finest Animal Poison Control Centers in the country, available 24-7. Visit their website at more advice at ASPCA or call 888-426-4435. There is a $65 consultation fee for this service.
  •  The ASPCA also has a list of toxic household items for free.

safe cat housekeeping

26 thoughts on “Vet 101:March is Pet Poison Awareness Month – How To Keep Your Cats Safer”

  1. TW’s always scared that I’ll get poisoned like we fear Nicky was accidentally. She only steam washes the floors or uses dish detergent and water. Any time she uses Murphy’s Soap, I’ll be right over waiting to walk on it. One day she spilled an entire bottle of lavender oil and really freaked. I wsn’t allowed in the room for days.

  2. I’ve checked many sites on poisonous items to cats and I was really surprised at what I found!
    I’m very vigilant about what my catd are around.
    So many Thank You’s for introducing Vetericyn!! I also use it on myself, haven’t seen the human version, but the animal version works great. It does work great for chin acne, cuts, itchy skin and the eye version is a winner also.
    Purrs and Love to you and Merlin.

  3. Great advice indeed..and gardening things can also include mulches and blood and bone type products which cats love the smell of but are super bad. We have the emergency vet number on speedial on the landline and mobile and also written on a chalkboard in case anyone else needs it..vital as the snake season has been long and we have had Forrest bitten again by a deadly our snake proofed new yard! i love indoor plants but have none and any flowers i get are well out of the way..can never be too careful! hugs Fozziemum xx

  4. Great info! The mom tries to use cleaning products that are natural but even natural products can be toxic for us cats.

    Oh and the mom says ever since you told her about Vetericyn, she keeps it handy too. And even uses it on herself!

  5. Good information and toe photographs. Poor wet Merlin!
    Mickey Mouser gets chin acne when he’s stressed. Vetericyn is good for that as well. I feel more prepared with a bottle of Vetericyn and cotton balls in the first aid cabinet.

  6. Thank you for thereminders about the poison potiential. Sometimes we get lax in our vigilence. It is always good to be reminded!

    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  7. These are all excellent tips, especially as spring cleaning comes along! MomFOD stopped using stuff in the house and mostly just uses vinegar and steam cleaning. But having the kit just in case is a great idea. – Crepes.

  8. doodz & N…grate post two day…thanx for de tipz… sum cat we noe….tuna…getted two close for comfort a few bak… while de food servizz gurl wuz kleenin de tub…itz been bakin soda & vinegar ever sinz ♥♥

  9. Thanks for the reminder ! Our human tries to clean “green”, and put everything in cabinets out of our reach. A poison safety kit is a great idea, we don’t have it ! Purrs

  10. Great tips! Some cleaning products can be really dangerous, since I read the labels of the bottles, I turned into a careful buyer…
    btw: what have we done before we had vetericyn? it’s really a magic potion and I’m glad there is something what we can nearly use for all reasons.

  11. My human always worries I’m going to step on something bad when I’m outside, or sniff a plant that’s toxic to kitties! I know she wants to keep me safe, but she can be a little annoying!

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