Symptoms of Antifreeze Poisoning in Cats (and associated matters)

Cat Vomit

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This lists the symptoms of anti-freeze poisoning in cats and interesting secondary matters. I have realised I have not listed them on PoC despite the numerous articles about this form of cat poisoning. Poisoning with antifreeze is one of the most common poisonings for cats because ethylene glycol is sweet tasting and it appeals to cats and dogs. It is sad to report that is is probably a favourite of cat haters. One teaspoon can kill a cat.

Posts on PoC about antifreeze poisoning

The sudden signs of toxicity are:

  1. vomiting
  2. uncoordinated gait (the cat walks in wobbly manner appearing as if drunk)
  3. weakness
  4. stupor (unresponsive but not unconscious)
  5. convulsions (unusually)
  6. chronic kidney failure if they recover (the poison damages the cat’s kidneys
  7. coma (unconscious for a long time and can’t be woken)
  8. death in 12-36 hours (quite possible)

These are very severe symptoms. Sometimes cats survive and alcohol delivered intravenously is an antidote or any other way.

Postscript – spin off issues

There is another interesting but also very sad postscript to what is stated above. When a cat is poisoned by antifreeze he vomits. He may vomit several times and this is quite likely to occur outside.

The vomit will contain ethylene glycol and therefore the cat vomit becomes a poisonous substance in itself. Dogs can lick up vomit. In which case a dog could also be poisoned by the same source of antifreeze and it may well have been deliberately left lying around to poison cats. It is ironic to think that if this was the case and if the poisoner was a dog owner, he may unknowingly be creating a serious health hazard for his dog.

Of course the dog may then vomit, thereby spreading more poison on the ground outside.

In addition, playing children might pick up the vomit on their hands and then lick their hands. This could happen inside the home. Therefore the original source of antifreeze could conceivably poison children as well. I hope cat hating poisoners realise this.

I also hope that the police realise this because it occurs to me that if someone is deliberately poisoning cats with antifreeze, they are quite possibly also endangering the lives of children and other animals. That puts a different complexion on what they are doing. It should encourage the police to take the act of trying to poison cats with car antifreeze more seriously as there are crimes concerning negligently endangering the lives of others.

In Massachusetts there are no animal cruelty investigators. It is up to the public to be alert. The police are presumably the people to call when there has been a possible deliberate poisoning. The Salem Friends of Felines say the public should be more alert to what I have mentioned above and keep their dogs and children away from vomit. I have taken what they have said as a source for part of this article.

I don’t suppose the specific hazard of cat vomit is that prevalent and important but it is something to think about.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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