Q. One of my local friend's cats died suddenly and the vets said it was from poisoning. We don't know how or what poisoned her. Now I'm dreadfully worried about my cat. What do I need to be careful of and what signs would my cat show? Ann, via e-mail
A. This problem is not uncommon in cats. Although they are generally fussy about what they eat, they can be very susceptible to poisoning and one of the biggest causes of moggies getting ill in this way is through owners accidentally poisoning their own cats. As owners, we need to be very observant and careful about how we administer any sort of drug to our pets. Unfortunately cats are less able than other animals to detoxify from many poisons.
Firstly, never, under any circumstances give any medicine that is not for cats and also be very cautious with the dosage. You can overdose them very easily. Another thing is to look around your home and garden and make sure that household and car-cleaning products are safely stored away from their reach. Anti-freeze, for example, can be very palatable for cats but can be fatal too, so it's a good idea to keep your pet away from the garage as well. Suffice to say that rat poison is also lethal, and they can ingest the toxin from rats if they eat them. Not many people know that house plants and flowers such as lilies can be toxic for cats. Eating just two leaves may be enough to kill.
When your pet goes running around outside check him when he comes back in. If he seems to have any solutions or oil on him you will need to remove it immediately as they might ingest the chemicals while grooming themselves. Cut away as much of the contaminated fur as possible, use cooking oil to dab away the rest and wash with baby shampoo. Concentrate on the paws, armpits and groin. If your cat looks under the weather, is not eating, vomiting, and having fits or diarrhoea you should seek veterinary advice immediately.
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort an early visit to the vet is always recommended