Medicine, Food, Plants, Chemicals: What Is Poisonous To Cats?

You know your kitty has a good share of curiosity, These days, it will benefit you to know what things won’t harm him and what might prove dangerous items to investigate. After all, you can’t say to her, “Do not eat this. It will make you sick.”

Instead, you must know what is harmful and be sure to get it out of kitty’s reach. You need to observe your cat’s behavior and make sure, for example, that she does not try to eat something that could make her sick. So, let’s look at the list.

People Medicines

I think we would naturally assume that human prescription meds are no-nos for cats. However, it’s important keep them stored somewhere that kitty can’t access. The following should be stored well out of kitty’s reach:

pile of various pills

1) 5-Fluorouracil

This one got my attention immediately because I have a tube next to my bathroom sink. It’s a cream used for topical skin cancer treatments. Your cat could get into the tube or lick it off your skin, causing severe gastrointestinal seizures.

2) Amphetamines, and including illegal substances such as MDMA (Ecstasy)

Often causes tremors and seizures in animals.

3) Calcium Channel Blockers

Blood pressure meds such as diltiazem, amlodepine, verapamil and nifedipine. Even a small exposure  to a pet can cause severe decline in blood pressure and heart rate.

4) Lamotrigine

Prescription anticonvulsant. Overdoses of this one causes severe arrhythmias and seizures.

5) 5-Hydrorytryptophan, or 5-HTP

Over-the-counter sleep supplement than can cause a life-threatening serotonin syndrome

6) Metaldehyde

Active ingredient in snail or slug baits. If your pet eats these, he will rapidly develop severe tremors and seizures.

7) Blue-Green Algae (BGA)

Blue Green Algae warning sign

Can cause rapid and severe seizures or liver failure.

8) Methomyl

Fly bait; can cause a series of dangerous conditions, leading to seizures.

9) Pain Meds (NSAIDS) such as Advil and Tylenol, or cold and flu remedies

These could result in acute kidney failure or even death.

10) Vitamins or other supplements

These may be good for you but they’re very bad for kitty. Make sure to keep them out of reach.

11) Antidepressants such as Cymbalta and Effexor

Cats are drawn to these meds for some reason. They can cause severe neurological and cardiac effects.

12) Flea/Tick products for dogs

Though not a people medicine, you must know never to use a canine flea/tick product on your cat. Sometimes just a drop of one of these products could potentially kill your cat within hours.

Foods For Folks, Not For Cats

You may already know that some of these substances do not belong in your cat’s diet, but here’s the list if you need a reminder:

1) Alcohol

cat sniffing bottle of beer

One of the most dangerous substances for cats. Symptoms can go from mild to severe, and include depressed breathing, seizures, coma, and even death. Do not leave an unattended drink near your curious kitty! If the cat consumes any alcohol, take him to the vet immediately, if you want to save his life.

2) Caffeine, chocolate, and coffee

These can lead to death for kitty, especially caffeine. Your cat’s small body is highly sensitive to its effects, and, for example, the consumption of one caffeine pill could lead to death.

3) Dairy

Most cats are lactose-intolerant. Though it most likely won’t kill kitty, it could lead to stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

4) Onions and garlic     

If kitty ingests one of these, his body will attack his own red blood cells to attempt removal of the foreign substance. This process will destroy his red blood cells.

5) Raisins and grapes

These can cause extensive kidney damage. If kitty eats enough of them, the damage could be fatal.

grapes and raisins

On Spruce Island, I read a book and munched on a sack of raisins. Loose Cat got into the bag and ate several. I did not know that they might poison him. I did take them away from him, and fortunately, he was okay. Perhaps it’s good I didn’t know, as I would have worried and wondered how I’d get to a vet.

6) Nuts

High fat can cause digestive problems, so keep them away from your cat. You would’t want him to have a stomach ache.

7) Raw meat and eggs

Remember, kitty doesn’t live in the wild now. Raw meat and eggs contain bacteria that can lead to illness. Raw fish is even more dangerous, as it destroys thiamine. Without this substance, kitty could develop severe neuroological problems, such as seizures, coma, and death.

8) Salty snacks

As salt is sometimes used as an emetic for cats and dogs, it can cause kitty to vomit.

9) Xylitol

Highly toxic! Kitty’s body produces a rush of insulin, leading to low blood sugar. For kitty, even ingesting a small amount can lead to liver failure or death.

10) Yeast dough

Uncooked yeast dough releases alcohol and carbon dioxide into kitty’s system, possibly causing life-threatening consequences.


1) Lilies

Some lilies are non-toxic. These include the calla lily, peace lily, and Peruvian lily. These can cause irritation of the  upper gastrointestinal tract.

Day lilies

The toxic lilies can prove deadly for kitty, and even a tiny amount can cause kidney failure. Toxic lilies include the tiger lily, Japanese show, and Easter lily.

2) Below you will find a list of other poisonous plants

This list includes both indoor and outdoor plants, all of which are bad for kitty to eat. Please check out the following links to earlier posts covering poisonous indoor plants and outdoor plants.

Meanwhile, here is the list of plants found in my research:

  1. Aloe
  2. Azalea
  3. Chrysanthemum4.
  4. Dieffenbachia5.
  5. English Ivy6.
  6. Hyacinths
  7. Lily
  8. Marijuana
  9. Mistletoe
  10. Philodendron
  11. Poinsettia
  12. Rhododendron
  13. Sago Palm
  14. Tulip


1) Household Cleansers

All-natural products are your best choice. However, concentrated products such as Drano or other toilet bowl cleaners can cause chemical burns.

2) Household insecticides

If  you use such chemicals on your indoor plants, keep your cat away from the plants after application. Once the products have dried or settled, they won’t harm kitty.

3) Glow sticks and glow jewelry

Don’t let your cat gnaw on these, as they contain a chemical that, if it leaks, will burn kitty’s fur and tongue.

Keep your cleaning supplies put safely away out of kitty’s reach. If you use strong chemicals on your floor, you might consider switching to something more pet friendly. If the cat walks on the damp floor and then licks his paws, he could ingest enough to become sick.

cleaning supplies

Check this additional list of products that could be a problem if kitty decides to snack on them:

  • Antifreeze
  • Bleach
  • Detergents
  • De-icing salts (which pets may walk through, then lick from their pads)
  • Fertilizers
  • Herbicides
  • Insect and rodent bait

What To Do If You Think Your Cat Has Been Poisoned

1) The first rule: Act fast!

2) Call your vet

Keep your vet’s number posted someplace where you can find it easily.

3) Collect samples

Take samples of vomit, stool, and the poison when you take the cat to the vet.

4) Watch for symptoms

Some of these may show up right away, and others will appear more gradually.

Watch For These Signs

grey cat with dilated pupils
  • Breathing problems
  • Confusion
  • Coughing
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drinking more and urinating more
  • Upset stomach
  • A lot of saliva
  • Seizures
  • Shivering
  • Skin irritation
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Inform the poison control center and/or the humane society. Let them know what happened, so they can help prevent other animals from ingesting any of these toxic substances.

Of course your kitty’s health is important to you. Become aware of these potential harmful substances and then make sure you keep any of them well out of kitty’s reach.

By educating yourself about harmful substances, you can protect your kitty’s health in a very important way.

References I used for this post:

7 thoughts on “Medicine, Food, Plants, Chemicals: What Is Poisonous To Cats?”

  1. This is valuable information and some of it is downright surprising. It’s hard to believe, but I trust you, that most cats are lactose-intolerant. You just assume, probably from watching cartoons as a kid, that milk was the main food source for cats. I would do well to make a list of some of these things to avoid leaving them out. I get not leaving out the chemicals but others like raisin et. al. I might have known about until now. Thanks. 

    • It’s true — many people do not realize that most cats are lactose-intolerant. It can cause them diarrhea — it messes up their digestive systems. Interesting, isn’t it, how many things we take for granted and later learn the truth. Glad you were able to pick up some new information from the post.

  2. I found this article to be very well worded, I can’t tell you put a lot of time and research into this post. I believe anyone that has a cat should check the out. 

    As someone that owns animals I can’t tell you how many times I have looked up stuff that is dangerous to them. I have always wanted the best for my animals. 

    • Glad you are a responsible pet owner. Yes, it took some effort to produce that post, but wanted something thorough enough to be of real value. A couple of people I know said they were keeping it on hand as a reference. I’m so pleased to produce something that is of value to my readers.


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