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Cat Tips

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Expert Q&A

I work during the day, and I’m always worried that my cat will ingest something that it shouldn’t. Is there any way I can train it to avoid certain items?

I work during the day, and I’m always worried that my cat will ingest something that it shouldn’t. Is there any way I can train it to avoid certain items?

BY: The Daily Cat experts

If you’re worried that your cat may look mischievous, surveys show that most reported cases of pets unintentionally poisoning themselves occur among dogs. It’s not really a dog’s fault, however. Canines are omnivores and have more of a desire to taste everything in sight. Nevertheless, cats account for about 9 percent of calls to poison centers, so you are right to be concerned.

The Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680), a 24-7 animal poison control service based in Minneapolis, recently conducted a survey to determine the top five cat toxins. They are:

1. Human or veterinary drugs

2. Poisonous plants

3. Insecticides

4. Household cleaners

5. Other toxins, such as glow sticks and liquid potpourri

Some human medications are coated in materials that are palatable to cats, so be sure that you keep all medicines stored safely away. Also, never give your cat human meds, unless directed to do so by your cat’s veterinarian.

Regarding poisonous plants, the ASPCA website provides a thorough list of plants that are toxic and nontoxic to pets.

For insecticides, take necessary precautions with all such products. A big mistake is to give your cat concentrated topical flea and tick medications that are meant for dogs. Dog-specific insecticides often contain ingredients like pyrethrins or pyrethroids that are dangerous for cats, which may even lick them off of treated dogs. Consult with your veterinarian about this issue if any of your pets have a flea problem.

It’s really up to you to safeguard your cat against accidental ingestion of toxins. Products that contain these chemicals are probably located all over your house, so it would be difficult to train your kitty to avoid them. If a poison-related emergency does occur, take action immediately by contacting your cat’s veterinarian, a local animal hospital, or the Pet Poison Helpline



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