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Common cat poisons: the substances to avoid reading-time-icon 2 min read

As a cat lover, you'll naturally want to protect your cat from the hidden dangers lurking around your home… 

Let's take a closer look at some of the most common poisonous substances, and how to keep your cat safe.

Toxic foods

Many human treats, particularly festive favourites, are highly toxic to cats.

When tucking into the likes of chocolate, alcohol and sugar-free snacks, whether at Christmas or any other time of year, be sure to keep them out of your kitty's reach! 

Read more: 9 Christmas foods that are toxic to pets.

Antifreeze poisoning in cats

Antifreeze contains ethylene glycol. Ingestion can result in severe symptoms and often death.

To protect your cat, store antifreeze in a strong, clearly labelled, sealed container, well out of their reach. Be sure to clean spillages immediately – however small – and keep your cat away from the area until it’s safe, clean and dry.  

If you you think your cat has ingested any antifreeze, contact your vet or emergency care provider right away.

Read more: Antifreeze poisoning in cats: how to protect your cat.

Household chemicals

Cats often learn to open cabinets so they can get to their favourite treats. Ideally, solutions like bleach, disinfectant and white spirit should be locked away, safe from probing paws.

The same goes for garden chemicals like insecticides and pesticides – both of which are highly toxic – and other products used to treat garden pests, such as slug pellets, which often contain metaldehyde.


Lots of human medications are poisonous to cats. Be sure to keep medicines well out of their reach at all times.

Paracetamol is particularly poisonous to cats, and spot-on flea treatments for dogs that contain permethrin are also a danger. If you have a cat and a dog, be extra careful when applying and administering flea treatments.

Are lilies toxic to cats?

Among all the garden plants that are toxic to cats, lilies are particularly bad.

Read more: Are lilies toxic to cats? Vet Vs The Net. 

How about other plants?

The folowing plants are highly toxic to cats. If you're a cat owner, it's safest to avoid planting them in your garden:

  • Lilies
  • Daffodils
  • Foxgloves
  • Mistletoe
  • Poinsettia
  • Azaleas
  • Chrysanthemums

Read more: Are plants poisonous to dogs and cats? 6 toxic plants to watch out for...

cute cat behind table

Symptoms of poisoning include:

  • Vomiting  
  • Lethargy
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Appearing drunk and uncoordinated  
  • Seizures

If you suspect that your cat has been poisoned, or ingested any of the substances mentioned in this article, contact your local vet or emergency care provider right away.

Need more info?

For expert advice on the substances that are toxic to cats, and the best ways to keep them away from your pet, contact your local vet. 

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.

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