Making Antifreeze Unpalatable To Cats

Photo by eskimo_jo (Flickr)

Photo by eskimo_jo (Flickr)

Making antifreeze unpalatable to cats would save many thousands of cat's lives and prevent hundreds of crimes. News on the subject of cats contain on at least a weekly basis one incident of antifreeze poisoning.

These poisoning are either accidental or deliberate and they most often kill the cat, period. It is the most common cause of poisoning of cats and dogs in the USA (source).

It is the major component of car antifreeze, ethylene glycol, that kills cats. A small sip is enough. The chemical is used in engine coolant and other products such as brake fluids and hydraulic fluids.

The problem is simple. Cats like the taste of antifreeze. And it is being left lying around or it leaks out of cars. Or as mentioned, it is put down deliberately judging by the comments on my blogger site (see Cat Poison).

Ethylene glycol is rapidly absorbed by the cat and within 30 minutes the cat shows signs of poisoning (as if drunk). There is a period of what seems like remission but it is not. The cat converts the ethylene glycol into other chemicals that damage its body (kidneys and central nervous system) permanently.

Other symptoms are:

--Drinking excessively
--Urinate excessively

Symptoms are similar to a cat with kidney disease a not uncommon disease in modern cats (due to dry cat food it is claimed).

Treatment should be rapid and includes:

--Making the cat drunk (alcohol apparently reduces the effects)
--Flushing the chemical from the stomach
--Flushing the chemical from the cat's body by inducing increased urination

OK enough....The point I want to make is that all this would be unnecessary if the manufacturers of antifreeze and other car products made it unpalatable by adding a small amount of another chemical that made the taste bitter. The chemical that has been used successfully is Denatonium Benzoate (DB). Sounds simple to me. But is it simple to get the manufacturers to do it? No - afraid not.

I have just learned that Humane Society of the United States is working with an organization called CSPA (Consumer Specialty Products Association) to develop legislation for adoption by state legislators. Why can't the car part manufacturers just do it rather than be forced to do it?

At Feb 2010, as far as I know the following states have enacted such laws: Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State.

I wonder if we can some how push this along a bit? A petition? Some angry voices! It is time that making antifreeze unpalatable to cats was made obligatory. The trouble is the cat is well down the list of priorities in a stretched government agenda.

Michael Avatar

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Making Antifreeze Unpalatable To Cats

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Dec 26, 2010 Thank you & merry christmas
by: Anonymous

Thank you for all the nice comments guys. And thank you for the nasty ones also. The nasty ones simply make me laugh and remind me of the fact that at least ive been brought up to believe in whats right! One day they will regret their deprived thoughts and feelings. Perhaps when they are striken with Cancer or learn they have an ever growing tumour I suppose they will wonder what they did to deserve it? Well.... Just come back to this website and read your posts. That will answer your question!

To the good guys... Thank you from the bottom of my heart for the nice comments. Gizmo really was a character! I am truely humbled. I have since learned we have an epidemic on our hands regarding cat poisoning on our street. Perhaps you guys have some advice on what we can do to get to the bottom of this. There is one good think to come from this... It has definately raised awareness in my neighbourhood. Thank you. Maybe we can save any more being murdered. I am happy in the knowledge that animals... The true owners of this planet... Will be here long after weve killed off our own race!

I love you son x

Dec 26, 2010 To Merzing
by: Ruth

You need urgent psychiatric help and I suggest you get it because being so bitter and twisted only hurts one person and that's YOU.
Be very careful because in this life there is a thing called KARMA which means what goes around comes around, what you wish on other living beings will come back to you, if not immediately then sometime in your future.
For your own sake, change now while you still have the chance. You could start by apologising to Dion for the cruel words you wrote here when she and her children are suffering the loss of their much loved pet.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Dec 26, 2010 To Dion
by: Ruth

My heart aches for you and your children at the loss of your dear Gizmo.
How any one called a human being can poison a cat is beyond belief, whether by carelesness or deliberately as they surely must have known that anti freeze kills animals.
How many more have to die before that ingredient is added !!!
You may get some mean comments about footprints in the snow and how cats shouldn't be allowed outside. But why shouldn't they,it's as much their right to live a fulfilled life as any other living being.
R.I.P Gizmo x

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Dec 26, 2010 To Dion
by: Barbara

Dion I'm so sorry, I didn't realise that this had happened this Christmas Eve, bad enough if it was in previous years but that it happened only a few days ago and then you came across the disgusting things that Merzing said is awful. I don't know who Anonymous is that has told Merzing a few home truths but I understand the emotion behind all he/she said.
I'm sorry you lost Gizmo in such an awful way, I think by ending his suffering you did the kindest and most loving thing you could for him. Your comments about his paw prints in the snow make me want to cry for you, for him and for all of us who have lost cats that we loved so much and had to say goodbye to.
I believe that all animals, have souls and because they are so much more innocent and pure than humans I am sure they go on to somewhere where they are happy, warm & well cared for (if they even still need someone to care for them - maybe they care for themselves)while they wait for us to join them.
RIP Gizmo, I apologize on behalf of humanity for the cruel way you were made so ill, but you were well loved while you were here by Dion and family

Barbara avatar

Dec 25, 2010 You need a rope Merzing
by: Anonymous

Merzing... I would quite happily watch you choke on your turkey dinner today, and die a slow and painful death in front of your friends and family. What goes around, comes around boy. You really live a happy and fulfilled life, when you spend the time to write shit like that on here on Christmas day! Obviously you dont have any family or friends or you would be spending today with them like the majority of decent life respecting people on here. But you prefer to get all that built up hatred that you inherited as an abused and raped child off your chest. Do yourself a favour - kill yourself or seek urgent medical attention. You have no beneficial meaning to anything or anyone. Remember - You are merely a fucking tennant on this planet and one day your comments WILL come back to haunt you. Tell us your story??? Was it beating or dry bummed as a child? Or are you still suffering from this abuse? We all look forward to hearing from you soon.....

Dec 25, 2010 My Gizzy.
by: Dion

How can people do this to such beautiful, warm and loving creatures? Whether its dogs, cats, birds? They live and breathe. Life is so precious. I am embarassed and ashamed to be involved in the evolution of the current human race. My baby boy was poisoned by some inconsiderate, sick and evil individual this week and was sent to kitty heaven on Christmas eve. It has wrecked mine & my childens xmas, who are now in pieces watching watership down, pouring their heart out as i write this waiting for Gizmo to come home. Ive spent £900 to try and save him which was for my childrens presents. Little do they know, the vet gave him a final hug on their behalf before his life was ended at just 2 years old.


Wow this is hurting me guys. 🙁

Dec 25, 2010 Troll alert
by: Petra

Merzing go and boil your stupid head will you.

Dion I am so sorry for your loss.

Dec 25, 2010 I like cats
by: Merzing

I don't want you to think I don't like cats. I do. I think they're delicious. Properly prepared when you put one cat and one rabbit in a stew, you can't tell them apart.

Dec 25, 2010 RIP My little boy!
by: Dion

I would like to dedicate this christmas to my beautiful little boy Gizmo who passed away on Christmas Eve due to 'Anti-freeze poisoning' causing severe kidney failure. I love you Gizmo and will miss your tail wrapped lovingly round my ankle this christmas night and each and every night after. Your character was immense but your soul will live on. Your chair in the corner never looked so cold, your paw prints are still fresh in the snow. I love you now and I will forever my beautiful cat Gizmo.

RIP Baby, I love you so much. 🙁

Nov 23, 2010 Why not?!
by: Merzing

I liked the comment from Bob that he takes his critter inside. My neighborhood is overrun with cats and while they chase the squirrels and keep the mouse population down, they do make a mess of my garden whilst using it as a lavatory. Putting out a little saucer of antifreeze may sound good to some of us fed-up gardeners. Keep your pet inside!

Oct 09, 2010 the oh so bad guy on here
by: Anonymous

what did i mis-spell so bad. just cause i abbreviate things that means i spelled it wrong. whats the harm in that. see yall people have nothing better to do then try and make people spend money where it should not be spent and criticize people. yall got to be family of barack hussein obama. you kno that guy in the white house that goin drive this whole country or should i say world in the dirt. spend money here spend money there dont worry about the lil guy thats has to buy those chemicals to make it bitter. come on now people you should feel crazy to even try something so off the wall as that.

Oct 09, 2010 How thick can you get?
by: Petra

I've seen everything now, an ignorant un-schooled fool trying to tell us to get a life - ha ha ha ha, what a numpty. Go away troll.

No, better still drink some anti-freeze and find out for yourself why we're trying to protect innocent animals.

Oct 09, 2010 Troll
by: CJ

For someone not trying to be rude you did a pretty good impression of someone who was trying to be rude.
All you succeeded in doing was to show yourself up as the uneducated troll you are.
No people can't help it if they can't spell or write a sentence which makes sense but most don't come on public forums to make fools of themselves as you have.
You go get a life,you need one badly.

Oct 09, 2010 Get a life yourself
by: Ruth

You obviously have no feelings for any creature but yourself and nothing better to do than come here and write a load of rubbish.
Why not spend some time learning how to spell ?
If you hate animals well just stay away from sites where people come who care about them and let us get on with the very important work of protecting them from ignorant cold hearted abusers like you.

Oct 09, 2010 To anonymous
by: Barbara

You selfish pig! You have a life, I have a life and I don't need to "get a life". but what I would like to do is preserve the precious lives on animals that do not know a thing about chemicals but that innocently ingest the poisons that humans have made for their own convenience and then die in agony when their deaths are easily preventable by manufactureres adding a few pence worth of another chemical to their products to make it unpalatable to animals. Now what is so outrageous about that?
It's obvious you do not like animals and you've taken the opportunity to rant about all the crimes you think animals commit, but hey flower, I bet you'd soon be bleating for your momma if you were poisoned, I bet you have the full weight of health and safety laws behind you in all you do.
So, bugger off mate and spend a bit of time thinking about something else other than yourself. Oh and spend a bit more time practicing your spelling and grammar too, it is atrocious!

Barbara avatar

Oct 08, 2010 anti freeze
by: Anonymous

first of all people would not have to posion the animals if they kept them on a leash on in there own yard....some states have a leash law so why spend time tryin to make some company spend more money then they have to when you can be out there tryin to enforce the law and inform owners to keep there animals off others people cars and dogs from takin a crap in their yards.....come on now poeple the ecomony is already bad you kno they aint goin buy more chemicals to add just so it wont kill animals.....guess they gotta change everything anti freeze brake fluid power steering fluid tranny fluid reg. oil i mean the list could be a million pages... guess all acids would have to go to cause if a animal sipped on them they would die also....hell if ya wanna get tech. with it they need to make mask so animals can breath good qualilty air cause its pretty bad these days also............not tryin to be rude but i hate when people try and do stuff like this i mean its pointless........GET A LIFE

Feb 12, 2010 God work Eileen
by: Ruth

Good for you Eileen, it's only by pester power we ever make headway with things like this.
If more people protested that the ingredient hasn't been added yet, the government might listen.
I just hope the Conservatives don't get in, New Labour aren't wonderful about animal welfare but at least their priority isn't to repeal the hunting ban.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 12, 2010 Bittering Agent in Antifreeze in the UK
by: Eileen

I have written to my Member of Parliament in the hope that he may be able to persuade the Government to come up with a law compelling all manufacturers of antifreeze to add a bittering agent in the UK. Unfortunately with the potential of a forthcoming election I dont't expect to see any action in this area. At the moment it is getting passed from one Government Agency to another. How many animals must die in agony before something is done. Maybe our vets should speak out more.
I agree wholeheartedly with what you are trying to do in the USA. The next step for me is to take it to the European Parliament.

I will keep a watch on this site for any further activity.

Kind regards,

Feb 05, 2010 Poor dog
by: Ruth

I'm so sad for you about that poor dog. How kind of you to try to help him, it must have been awful for you watching him suffer then finding out nothing could be done to save him.
How can people be so cruel? It puzzles me many times how they carry on eating, sleeping, enjoying their lives when they have abused an animal.
I hope the vet reported the dog's owner but I suppose they'd wriggle out of the blame somehow.
When will animals lives be valued as they should, just like ours are ?
Take care, I expect that terrible event has never left your mind since it happened.
Try to think that the dog is at peace and no one can hurt him now.
We must push harder for the ingredient to be added to anti freeze to make it unpalatable.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 04, 2010 He deserved so much more

About 9 years ago I came home late from work and saw a very thin dog hanging out in our side yard. I called to him but he wouldn't come. He just stood there and looked at me with his head hanging low. About 15 minutes later I went back outside to dump the garbage and the dog was standing in the driveway. His head has low and even though it was dark I could see him shaking. I called to him and walked towards him very slow with my palms out. He just stood there with his head hanging. He let my pet him and he was all skin and bones. Ever few seconds he would start shaking. I called to him to follow me. He tried but couldn't. Finally I picked him up and took him upstairs to my flat. He wagged but I think it took a lot out of him. He stood in the doorway of my bedroom. I don't think he could go any further. All I had was cat food so I offered him some with water. He couldn't eat and barely drank. I helped him lay down and looked at his tags. I contemplated calling but this dog was so thin I couldn't help being angry at his owners. I sat with him maybe 10 minuets before he got up and tried to make it to the door. He lost his boules that were filled with blood. He started to violently shake. He looked into my eyes as if to say he was sorry. He couldn't move. It was about 11PM and I had to get him to the vet. I called an emergency pet hospital and told them what was going on. I warped the dog up in a blanket and put him in the back set. Every time I looked back to see him he was looking at me. We were the only ones at the hospital. So white and bright. They took the dog immediately to the back. I stayed and waited. I filed out a report about what happened and waited. Finally the doctor came out to tell me the shepherd mix had antifreeze poisoning and his organs were shutting down. They had tried to flush his system but he had ingested the antifreeze too long ago. He had crystals forming inside of him and he was in pain. He had to be euthanized. I was very neigheve and thought they were euthanizing him because of money. I offered to pay but the vet let me know that antifreeze is fatal. I asked to see him but it was already too late and I was not his owner. "Is the antifreeze the reason he was so thin?" "No, he was starved." "Did someone deliberately poison him?" The vet could not answer this. He could only tell me that antifreeze has a sweet taste to animals and yes, some people put out antifreeze to kill neighborhood animals. He warned me to keep my cat inside. The vet said they would call the number on the tags to inform the owners. I didn't feel they had a right to know anything about the dog they allowed to suffer this way. I walked outside into a beautiful black sky with a million stars. I said a prayer and whispered a little goodbye. This guy had a life that went from bad to worse. I cannot fathom why the sweetness of antifreeze has not been changed by outraged citizens and the courts. Maybe it will take the death of a child to accomplish that.

Feb 04, 2010 Anti freeze
by: Barbara

I agree with anything to stop cats being poisoned with antifreeze. I did hear that to add something to make it repel cats rather than attract them would only add about 1p per litre to the price, so what's the problem? Why isn't it being done as a priority? How come in the UK we have the animal welfare law and yet this hasn't been addressed? It's an open invitation to cat haters and far too easy to do.
I think one of the reasons is that dreaded state of apathy, petitions should be inundated with signatures but you see maybe 70-80 and then the thing is abandoned.
How can we stir this up in the UK, any ideas?

Barbara avatar

Feb 04, 2010 Thanks
by: Michael

Thanks for your support, Ruth.

Feb 04, 2010 Petitions
by: Ruth

Well said Michael !
We have been signing petitions for years about this but nothing ever happens. If you put 'anti freeze petitions' into google search they all come up but most are closed !
We had an incident late last year in our own County where someone was deliberately poisoning cats with anti freeze, it was reported in our local newspaper.
Cats are of little importance to the 'people in power' and a pest to people who hate them, but it's people to blame,not the cats if they are hanging around garages and cars looking for a bit of warmth. If people didn't 'throw them out' or move away and abandon them,the poor creatures wouldn't need to beg for food and warmth.
We in the UK will keep on protesting until anti freeze is made unpalatable to cats and I hope cat lovers all over the world are doing the same.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 04, 2010 Antifreeze
by: Bob

I've been working on cars for over 20 years. They're one of my passions. But I see no reason why manufacturers shouldn't just add that extra compound to make it undesirable to animals. My boy Dodge was threatened by a neighbor who had intended on poisoning him, which was the key factor in my ultimately deciding to take him into my house. It made more sense than anything else I could think of at the time, and I knew the authorities wouldn't spend much time on a case where a neighbor allegedly poisoned a stray animal. At least in his case, the threat of antifreeze poisoning got him a home where he would be spoiled.


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