Exotic cats are like two year old children their entire lives. Everything they see will end up in their mouths and a lot of it won’t be good. We had a sick Serval who eventually died from cancer, who we had to force-feed every meal for seven months. It was an all out battle to get good wholesome food into this cat, but one day a volunteer left a bottle of flea dip in the kitchen. You can’t get within ten yards of a cat with flea dip behind your back but this Serval found the bottle of flea dip and chewed the bottle in half and then drank half of the contents before he was discovered. That was nearly the end of him.



VOMITING should NOT be induced if:

1. More than two hours have passed since the poisoning.

2. The cat is comatose or nearly there.

3. The cat has swallowed a petroleum product.

4. The cat has overdosed on tranquilizers.

5. The cat has completely swallowed a sharp object.

6. The cat has swallowed an acid, alkali, solvent or cleaning agent.

OTHERWISE, INDUCE VOMITING by giving three cc’s Hydrogen Peroxide 3% orally, every ten minutes for up to three doses. Hold the mouth shut for a few seconds and then stand back. Or 1/4 teaspoon of salt dropped on the back of the tongue. Whether the poisoning has come from plants, chemicals or poisonous toads, (with the exception of the items listed in DO N OT I N DUCE VOMITI N G) the key to survival is getting the poison out of the body as quickly as possible. After you have induced vomiting, you need to prevent or at least delay the absorption of all traces that may be left in the body. Even if the cat did not swallow, some poison may have already been absorbed through the roof of the mouth. To prevent or delay absorption, mix 5 grams of activated charcoal with 20 cc water and give one teaspoon per two pounds of body weight. Thirty minutes later give one teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia for each five pounds of body weight. If these items are not available you can coat the stomach with milk and vegetable oil and give a warm water enema.


This is not at all an inclusive list of poisonous chemicals, but is the most frequently ingested in the cat crowd. Many of these chemicals are used to control vermin and insects, and because your cat will unhesitatingly eat either of these, he may consume the drug second hand. Rat poison can be Strychnine, Sodium Fluroacetate (1080), Metaldehyde, Phosphorus, Arsenic, Zinc Phosphide, Decon, Warfarin, and Pindone. Add to this list, food poisoning, lead poisoning, drinking antifreeze (they love the stuff) and the accidental ingestion of human drugs and your symptoms all look pretty similar:




Heavy Breathing

Seizures and Convulsions

Diarrhea or severe constipation


Collapse and even Coma

Your cat may exhibit one or all of these symptoms. Treat poisoning by these chemicals by inducing vomiting and then coat the bowels and delay absorption as indicated in POISONING . These are only temporary measures and you should get your cat to a Veterinarian as quickly as possible. Many poisons result in long lasting problems usually affecting the liver and or kidneys. This is why it is so important to remove the toxins from the body as quickly as possible.

Some poisons are absorbed through the skin. Insecticides such as Dichlorvos, Malathion, Sevin dust, Ectoral, Lindane, Methoxychlor, Toxaphene, Chlordane, and Lead are used to kill fleas, but used improperly can kill the cat instead of the flea. Symptoms include twitching, convulsions, and hysteria. If the cat has licked his fur, induce vomiting and then wash the cat immediately.

If your exotic ingests gasoline, turpentine or kerosene or even inhales them, he may exhibit signs of laboured breathing, convulsions, vomiting and coma. DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Be ready to give artificial respiration if the cat stops breathing and give one ounce of cooking oil and then thirty minutes later give one teaspoon of Milk Of Magnesia per five pounds of body weight. Get him to your Veterinarian.

If your feline swallows acid DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING. Rinse the cat’s mouth with water and then give one teaspoon of Milk of Magnesia for every five pounds of body weight. If it was an alkali, DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING and mix one part vinegar or lemon juice to four parts water and give orally.

If your cat licks or eats a Bufo Marinus Toad, use a garden hose or kitchen sprayer to flush the mouth, being careful not to drown the cat. There are 12 species of this nasty frog world wide and they prefer dark, damp areas, like the places your cat will most likely choose to cool off. A cat can die within 15 minutes of tasting one of these toads. Induce vomiting and then be ready to administer artificial respiration on your way to the Veterinarian. We had a Bengal survive his encounter with the Florida species of this toad, but he nearly lost his tongue from the corrosiveness of the secretion.

As with most disasters, you can prevent them with proper planning and not having to deal with these emergencies is a reward that will far outweigh the time and cost involved in prevention.

Note: I am not a veterinarian. If your exotic cat has suffered from poisoning please consult a licensed veterinarian.

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