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How to identify Cat poisoning

November 25th, 2008, 10:27 AM
We recently lost two cats.

the first (Shadow - 6 years old) escaped on thanksgiving (canadian) and about a week later stopped eating. We took her to the vet and the vet diagnosed "poison" and "kidney failure". We syringe fed her for another three weeks with spells when she would take food and water, and other times she wouldn't take anything. After three weeks she died.

2 weeks later, our second cat (Cobbler - 16yrs) stopped eating. She had NOT been outside. They did not get along, so about the only 'spot' they shared, was the litter box. We called the vet and they suspected poison again. Before we could get her to the vet, she died. (it was the weekend) We searched the house and could not find anything they might have gotten into.

We also have an 11month old baby (of the human variety :) and are very concerned about these events. All our cupboards are locked with baby locks. We have been trying to think of what was poisoning them. We had a couple of items changed, which I will list below.

1. Shadow did kill two mice in our basement during her last 2 weeks.
2. I was having skin problems and started using my son's baby oil about the time Shadow got sick
3. We switched our tub cleaner to 'scrubbing bubbles' recently. (timeline unknown)
4. My husband works with wood, so our basement always has sawdust in it - but this has been this way for the last 7 years or so.
5. we switched cat food just after thanksgiving. (to Iams digestive) as Shadow always has had digestive problems. My husband thinks Shadow was already sick before we switched to this food.

We are devasted with the loss of both our cats so close together. We are also extremely concerned about our son. He is crawling and could be touching the same stuff.

We called the vet to see if they could determine what was poisoning them (before or after death) and they said there is no way to tell.

We would like to get another cat, but cannot do this knowing there may be something in the house poisoning them.

November 25th, 2008, 12:06 PM
Sorry to hear about that. I have to question your vet though. First of all, a vet can determine the cause of poisoning or if not exactly, know if it is one of a couple of things. Second, How come your vet fully knowing that they were poisoned, didn't admit to the hospital for observation?? That is a huge fault in my opinion as a vet.

What symptons were they having? Here is the ASPCA poison control website.


November 25th, 2008, 12:35 PM
Am I correct in reading that after your first cat died of suspected poisoning, you called the vet regarding your second cat and the vet suspected poisoning again and you didn't immediately rush your cat to the vet for treatment? :confused:

Back in 1997, my vet was able to pinpoint a probable toxin that my Puddles got into, so I would think your current vet would be able to give you some details.

November 25th, 2008, 12:45 PM
Sorry for the loss of your two cats.

Do you have mouse poison in or around your home? Your neighbors? If your cats hunted mice and the mice had digested the poison, this could be the cause (the poison can take several weeks to kill whatever ingested it). Vitamin K is an antidote to several different kinds of mouse poison. A vet can determine the right dose.

Btw, a great tub cleaner is just plain old baking soda ;). It works better than most cleansers.

Please find out the source of your cats' poisonings before bringing another into your home. I'd recommend keeping him/her indoors only. There are also much better quality foods than Iams. Please take a look at the food forum here.

November 25th, 2008, 02:51 PM
I'm not sure how to determine the poison now? that is my concern. :(

Yes, the mouse issue is possible. I'm just not sure how to determine if it is the cause.

They did want to admit the cat. Although they told us it was for the dehydration. they wanted to put her on a saline drip. But at $1000 for 3 days and $100 a day after that, I couldn't afford it. :( (she lived for 3 weeks after the vet appointment!) and they said she would probably not make it anyways. They did say they would not be able to determine the poison, and I needed to do this at home.

Yes, after the suspected poison of the first cat died, then we suspected the second, it was the weekend. we called the emergency vet number and they recommended taking her to our vet on monday. (2 days away!) Unfortunately she died at 2:30am on monday. :( I did express my concerns with the vet about the poison. (especially with my son around) The spokesperson on the phone started to say they could send samples away for testing, but was interupted. When they came back on the line, they said there was no test to tell us what the poison was. Just to confirm that they were poisoned. :(

November 25th, 2008, 02:52 PM
sorry - we don't keep mouse poison. (that was why we had the cats. :) ) But we don't know if the neighbors might have and then the mice got in our house.

baking soda? we have an insert. I don't think I'm supposed to use any powder product, as it will scratch the finish?

they were both indoor cats. They just would manage to "escape" sometimes. :( Usually we noticed and caught them right away. This day we were on our way out and didn't notice.

The first cat stopped eating or drinking. She would take sugar water from a dropper and occasionally food. Lethargic too. She would cry for food and when we fed her with the dropper she would stop crying.

The second was very similar. Although she wouldn't take from the dropper, didn't cry and we suspect she was still taking water. (she was vomitting periodically right until her last breath)

November 25th, 2008, 03:36 PM
Poisoning with anti-freeze is also quite prolonged. Cats are attracted to its taste, for some reason. My sister still mourns a cat which hung around her bathroom for days (very unusual for him) and then died suddenly. With poisoning you have to be quick, but without knowing the cause, how to proceed?
What a shocking experience. I'm so sorry.

November 25th, 2008, 05:10 PM
They did want to admit the cat. Although they told us it was for the dehydration. they wanted to put her on a saline drip. But at $1000 for 3 days and $100 a day after that, I couldn't afford it. :( (she lived for 3 weeks after the vet appointment!

I don't want to be disrespectful in this sad time, but I have to comment. You took your cat home that needed medical attention. As a pet owner, it is your right as a owner to have your pet treated when needed. If your could not have payed the amount, then your pet should have been PTS, to releave it from it's suffering and it is the most humane. It probably was for dehydration. When an animal is sick, expecially cats, can become extremely dehydrated in a shot time, and without treatment their organs start to shut down. Usually it is the liver and Kidney.

What did you do when you left the vets. Did the vet give you anything to releave your cats suffering. Because being poisoned is a slow agonzing death. And cats hide their sickness extremely well.