While rat poison can help you keep your home free of pests, it also puts your cat in danger. Cats are easily harmed by rat poison, and knowing the symptoms of poisoning can help save your pet's life. If you think your cat has been poisoned, contact a veterinarian immediately.
Any sudden, unprovoked behavioral change in your cat could indicate an underlying medical condition. Poisoning often causes sluggish, lethargic behavior. Your cat may nap more than usual, move slowly or appear uncoordinated. Poisoning can also cause avoidant behavior because it causes pain. If your cat suddenly avoids you, becomes aggressive or does not want attention, consult your veterinarian.
Some rat poisons contain anticoagulants that interfere with blood clotting and cause internal bleeding. If your cat vomits blood or has a bloody stool, this may indicate internal bleeding caused by poisoning. Internal bleeding may cause bloating around the stomach or your cat may react with extreme sensitivity to being touched.
Salivation and Vomiting
The body's first reaction to poisoning is often to try to eliminate it from the system. If your cat suddenly begins vomiting -- particularly if the vomit is a strange color or the cat has not recently eaten -- poison may be the culprit. Similarly, excessive salivation may indicate poisoning. Your cat may be having trouble breathing and might leave her mouth open to compensate, resulting in excessive drool. Alternatively, excessive drooling can be a result of vomiting and the body's attempt to eliminate the poison.
Neurological symptoms are often the last to appear after poisoning, and indicate that your cat is in serious trouble. Seizures or loss of consciousness warrant an immediate trip to the veterinarian. If you notice your cat's eyes rolling back in the head, if your cat seems confused or if your cat exhibits strange behavior such as clawing at things that aren't there, the poison may be damaging your cat's brain.
- The Merck Veterinary Manual: Rodenticide Poisoning: Introduction
- Dr. Pitcairn's New Complete Guide to Natural Heath for Dogs and Cats; Richard H. Pitcairn et al.
- Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook; Debra M. Eldredge et al.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.