Hidden Household Cat Poisons

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Story Updated: Jun 19, 2013

You do your best to ensure you feed your cat the right food, give it plenty of water, and make sure it has a comfortable bed to sleep in and a pile of toys to play with. While you assume your home is a safe and happy place, you may have some surprising things around that are toxic, and even fatal, to your cat.

Aside from the well-known poisons that lurk in your kitchen cabinets and garage -- household cleaners, bleach, detergents, pool chemicals, paint thinner -- there are some less obvious toxins that could do just as much harm. Below is a quick list of some common threats you might have in your home.

In the Kitchen
Many people don't see any harm in slipping their cat a bit of their dinner (he's begging!), but many spices and foods we cook with are poisonous to cats, to different degrees. Never allow your cat to have onions or onion powder; chives; garlic; grapes; mustard seeds; grapefruit, lemon, limes and other citrus fruits; chocolate; coffee; or chicken bones.

In the Bathroom
Most human medicines and vitamins are not good for cats. Always be particularly careful if leaving any out, and be sure to conscientiously find and pick up any dropped pills. Ibuprofen, aspirin, laxatives, diet pills, multivitamins and supplements could all be fatal if ingested by your kitty.

Flowers and Home Decor
Plants make your home pretty, and flowers can smell great. But many houseplants are extremely lethal to cats. Among the most common: lilies, azaleas, begonias, birds of paradise, caladiums, carnations, chrysanthemums, daisies, gardenias, mums, peace lilies, poinsettias and tulips. Always research flowers before you bring them into your home.

Similarly, aromatherapy oils and candles can be hazardous to cats. Many of these contain pure extracts from other foods or flowers that are harmful, making them that much more toxic. Even just a small amount could prove fatal.

If you ever have any doubt about an item, a quick Google search can usually answer your questions. There are great resources, like the ASPCA, which provide extensive lists on their websites. The bottom line is to always double-check what you bring into your home.

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