Ruby, a little Turkish Van-type cat, licked a Himalayan salt lamp because it tasted good and became seriously ill. She was poisoned by the salt which caused her brain to swell. This caused neurological problems such as ‘walking really strangely’ and ‘her basic senses and abilities [were] gone in 12 hours’.
Ruby lives with Maddie Smith in Wanganui, New Zealand but salt lamps are available in many places. I have written about the potential hazard that they present to domestic cats before but this is a specific example of what can happen.
Initially Maddie didn’t think too much about her cat’s strange walking but later her cat ‘deteriorated dramatically’ and she took her to the vet as an emergency.
Her veterinarian found that Ruby had extremely high sodium levels in her blood. Salt is sodium chloride. The high levels of salt had poisoned her causing her brain to swell. The salt lamp was in the lounge and Ruby had licked it a lot because she liked the taste.
Maddie’s vet said that salt poisoning is ‘extremely deadly’ to animals. She said that salt lamps are like potato chips to cats.
The key to this hazard is that salt lamps are only a really danger if a cat ingests a lot of salt – ‘in extremely large doses’. The daily intake of salt for a cat is 42 mg according to the Yahoo News article in quoting Wilde Open Pets.
Salt lamps should be out of reach to companion animals. For cats that might not be practical advice in which case don’t have a salt lamp in the home if you have a cat.