The natural tendency of cats to roam outdoors means that it isn’t possible to keep a watch on your pet at all times. If a cat which has previously appeared in good health returns home in a distressed state, then poisoning should be suspected. It can be very difficult to identify the cause in some cases however, so always seek veterinary advice without delay as early treatment will ease your cat’s suffering and greatly improve his chances of making a full recovery.
Your cat’s curiosity can lead him into trouble on occasions, and may result in him being poisoned. The average garden shed may contain many hazards — such as pest controls and weedkillers.
Is it safe to use treatments to control garden slugs and snails? Concerns over the metaldehyde component of some brands of slug and snail pellets has led manufacturers to seek safer options, which do not represent a serious hazard to cats or other wildlife. These are unlikely to be hazardous to pets, but always follow the recommendations for use on the pack.
What about using weedkillers?
Again, the majority of such products are much safer than in the past, but don’t leave any chemicals of this type accessible in a greenhouse for example, where your cat may drink some of the poison. Apply the weedkiller as directed, and try to prevent your cat walking over the treated area of lawn by keeping him indoors for a few hours after the application.t certain times of year,
particularly in country areas where there is nearby heathland cats are at risk from snake bites. The adder or common viper presents the greatest risk to cats in Europe because this snake is widely distributed there. An adder will respond by biting if threatened, more so in the spring when it has recently emerged from hibernation and is less active. An adder bite is deadly if untreated. It is likely to show up as a swelling with two characteristic puncture marks in the centre, where the snake’s fangs entered the skin, often on the cat’s legs or face.
Although cats will generally avoid sampling unfamiliar liquids, they will drink anti-freeze quite readily because the taste appeals to them. Anti-freeze contains a potentially deadly component, called ethylene glycol, which crystallises out in the kidneys as oxalic acid. This chemical is almost invariably fatal, which is why garage doors should always be kept closed when carrying out any work which could involve draining the radiator.
- Snake venom travels in the lymphatic system, so that it is not necessary to apply a tourniquet to the leg very tightly if your cat has been bitten here. Rapid veterinary treatment will be necessary though.
- Flea treatments should not be used outdoors in a garden close to ponds. Although safe for your cat, they are likely to be deadly to the fish if the spray or powder enters the water.
- Cats seem to like drinking from green pools of algae, but microscopic organisms can also prove to be poisonous.
Some dangers are more obvious. You should be concerned if your pet comes home with his coat soiled by a wood preservative, perhaps acquired by brushing against a fence. The affected area needs to be washed using a cleaning agent or cut off, to stop him ingesting the chemical.