The top 10 cat poisons in the USA and lilies are in the number 1 spot

Who would have thought that lilies are the top cat poison in the USA? This beautiful plant has been discussed a lot online and the information that they are deadly to cats has been widely disseminated. And yet they still harm and kill lots of cats. Unfortunately the Pet Poisons Helpline does not provide actual statistics. Lilies are particularly dangerous because some lilies are not poisonous but please click on this link to read a discussion about that complicated issue. Even lily pollen can kill a domestic cat. Just the pollen. It is about as poisonous as it gets. Why? Well you can click on this link to find out.

  1. Lilies (Lilium species)
  2. Spot-on flea/tick medication for dogs
  3. Household Cleaners
  4. Antidepressant Medications
  5. Essential Oils
  6. Anti-inflammatory Medications
  7. Mouse & Rat Poisons (rodenticides)
  8. Stimulant Medications (e.g., for ADD/ADHD)
  9. Onions & Garlic
  10. Vitamin D Overdose

So what about the rest of the list? Five out of the ten are medicines (one being a vitamin). Of the medicines one is for pets and the other four are human medicines. Clearly medicines for human use are a hazard in the home. I am convinced that 90% of the population of the US don’t realise it because if they did they’d be more careful about leaving them lying around.

How many pet owners who care for cats and dogs in the same home are guilty of cutting corners and giving their cat a medicine designed for their dog? A lot. And it is a very, very dangerous thing to do. Flea preventative treatments are potentially very dangerous. Yep, they are important in some places in the US and vets will heavily advise that they are used. I never use them and my cats never have fleas. Just so you know. And I don’t go around killing fleas all day by hand. There are no fleas in my home or on my cat. That does not mean that it won’t happen but it hasn’t happened for many years. I hate cat flea treatments. The instruction put me off. They say you have to wash you hands after use and be very careful about getting the stuff on your hands and yet we are putting a dollop of it on our cat’s skin. What gives?

I am going to speculate that the list may be slightly incorrect because sometimes it can be hard to tell what the poison was. What about moth balls, carpet chemicals and most importantly, fire retardants. The last one can cause thyroid problems. The problem may be almost commonplace but no one has made a firm connection between fire retardants and hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and described fire retardants as ‘pet poisons’.

How can cats become overdosed on vitamin D? Answer: often by ingesting rat poisons as it contains vitamin D. So this should be added to mouse and rat poisons. It seems that rat poisons are used carelessly in homes where there are cats. A friend of mine whose wife spends time in Thailand has a housekeeper who looks after their home in Thailand while they are in the UK. The woman directed someone to put down rodent poison or did it herself. She was charged with looking after several cats. They died mysteriously. I suggested that the cause was the rodenticide. My friend’s wife lost her beloved favourite cat this way. Sadly, it was sheer carelessness in my view but it was never confirmed that the rodenticide was the cause.

Putting down lawn treatments in common areas in blocks of flats where some residents have cats is also carelessness of the highest order. I hate saying it but cats killed by people is because of carelessness. I can be careless but I sure as hell try not to be.

There are lots of pages on cat poisons. Please use the search facility at the top of the page.


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Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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