by Melissa Waller, DVM
The house carries many dangers for cats – some that may not be obvious at first glance. Cats are much like toddlers; anything they can put into their mouths, they will. Kittens are especially susceptible to this, as they learn by chewing and eating.
The biggest hazard to our cats and pets, in general, are human medications. Many adults are on medications for a variety of reasons, and it is easy to lose these medications on the floor, where animals are the ones to find them.
Cats can and will eat these little pills and they can have bad reactions to them. Keep all medications in containers, and if a pill is dropped, find it as soon as possible. If you think your cat has eaten a pill, bring in a list of medications to your veterinarian, because it is very helpful in determining what type of treatment will be effective.
Some common prescription medications that can cause big problems are blood pressure medications, blood thinners, heart medications, pain medications and diabetic medications.
Over-the-counter drugs are not always safe for pets either – ibuprofen and many pain medications are extremely toxic to cats. These medications can cause severe and irreversible kidney damage, and in small doses can even cause death. The gelcaps are very appealing to cats and they do not have to ingest the whole thing to be in danger. To be safe, do not give any over-the-counter pain medications to your cat. If you think your cat has chewed an ibuprofen tab or capsule, take your cat into your veterinarian’s office straight away so that their kidneys can be checked, and if appropriate, treatment can be started.
With the recent legislation involving marijuana, there is an increased danger for cats, which can inhale and be affected by the smoke, edibles, etc. There are no approved veterinary formulations of CBD, THC or hemp, and no safe doses found for our pets yet.
Some signs you might see if your cat is experiencing marijuana toxicosis include wobbliness, disorientation and vocalness. Some cats will lose control of their bladders. The more silent and more dangerous effects of marijuana intoxication in cats are heart rate and blood pressure changes – something your veterinarian will need to evaluate.
Being upfront with your veterinarian about what your cat or other pet may have been able to get into is the best way to get the correct treatment started right away. Be honest with us – our concern is making sure your animal gets the correct treatment and nothing else!