It’s not uncommon for our furry friends to find themselves in trouble after eating something they shouldn’t have. If your cat ate rat poison, he will need to be seen by a veterinarian. Why? Because rat poison is intended to do just that—poison (and kill). Sadly, it not only targets rodents but can also kill other animals, including our precious pets. Your veterinarian can help save your kitty, but you’ll need to call them as soon as possible after they’ve eaten rat poison.
How do cats act when they are poisoned with rat poison?
At first (especially if you just saw them eat it), you won’t see anything odd, and your cat can act completely normal. Don’t be fooled—rat bait can take some time before it poisons animals.
Many rat poisons will have different active ingredients. The impact on your cat will depend on what type of poison they ate. Anticoagulants (e.g., warfarin, brodifacoum) can take several days to take effect. While others, like bromethalin or strychnine, can make your cat ill within hours. It doesn’t matter what poison they ate—as soon as you know, you should call the veterinarian. This will increase your kitty’s chance of survival.
What are the symptoms of rat poisoning in cats?
|• Weakness||• Weakness||• Thirst and peeing more (kidney failure)||• Vomiting (possibly with blood)||• Anxiety|
|• Rapid breathing (breathing through their mouth) or cough||• Tremors||• Vomiting (possibly with blood)||• Restlessness||• Stiffness|
|• Pale gums||• Seizures||• Diarrhea or constipation||• Weakness||• Seizures|
|• Red spots on gums||• Wobbliness||• Heart problems||• Breathing problems||• Restlessness|
|• Bruising on skin||• Paralysis||• Lethargy||• Seizures||• Increased reaction to noise, light, or touch|
|• Tummy pain||• Vomiting||• Weakness|
|• Tremors||• Coma|
|• Cold to touch|
|• Black or dark poop|
|• Nose bleeds|
|• Blood in their pee|
My cat ate rat poison — what do I do?
What happens if a cat eats a poisoned rat/rat poison?
Cats are natural predators, so a weak or poisoned rodent is an easy catch for your furry friend. Unfortunately, our cats can get just as poorly and die from eating a poisoned rat as they can from eating poison straight off the ground; it’s called secondary poisoning. No matter how your kitty has been poisoned they need to see the vet.
Once at the clinic, your cat will get assessed for symptoms of poisoning (listed above). Your veterinarian will choose the best treatment based on three main questions:
If your cat is lucky, you caught them eating the bait and got them to the clinic asap, so they won’t yet have symptoms.
Treatment for cats without symptoms
Most cats who get this treatment will recover well, and often you can take them away the same day for TLC at home.
Treatment for cats with symptoms
It can be more complex to treat cats that are showing symptoms of rat bait poisoning. The treatment your cat receives will depend on the type of poison they have eaten and what signs they have. They may need to stay at the clinic overnight for their treatment.
You can expect your cat to be on a fluid drip. A blood transfusion might be necessary for anemic cats who have eaten an anticoagulant bait—vitamin K is given as an antidote for these types of poison. Cats that are fitting will need special medication to control the seizures. It may take at least several days for your veterinarian to stabilize your cat if they have signs of poisoning.
Will my cat be OK if he ate rat poison?
The cats that do best after eating rat poison are those that are seen soonest, have no symptoms, and have eaten baits (anticoagulants) that can be treated with antidotes (vitamin K). With these kitties, there’s a high chance of survival.
Sadly, we can’t say for sure that your precious pet will be OK after eating rat bait, and some cats may die. Once cats have symptoms, treatment is more challenging. Products that don’t have a specific antidote (i.e., those that are not anticoagulant-based) are more dangerous if eaten. They often take effect more rapidly, meaning your cat has less time to get to the veterinary clinic—cats with symptoms have a poorer prognosis.
Will rat poison kill my cats?
Rat poison can kill cats, especially if not treated early. Don’t hesitate to get your cat seen by a veterinarian if you think there is a chance he has eaten rat poison, even if he seems fine.
What rat poison is safe for cats?
There isn’t any “safe” rat poison. Poison is intended to harm and can kill all animals. Some poisons can give your cat a better chance of survival if eaten, like warfarin and other anticoagulant baits with an antidote. For treatment to be successful, your cat still needs to be seen quickly by a veterinarian.
How do I stop my cat from eating rat poison?
Cats that eat rat poison need to be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Your cat can seem fine initially—some poisons can take several days before they take effect. Your kitty will have the best chance of surviving if you can get them to the veterinary clinic before they show signs of being poisoned.
- Related Read: My Cat Drank Bleach! Here’s What to Do! (Vet Answer)
Featured Image Credit: DenKara, Shutterstock
- How do cats act when they are poisoned with rat poison?
- What are the symptoms of rat poisoning in cats?
- My cat ate rat poison — what do I do?
- What happens if a cat eats a poisoned rat/rat poison?
- Will my cat be OK if he ate rat poison?
- Will rat poison kill my cats?
- What rat poison is safe for cats?
- How do I stop my cat from eating rat poison?