Harmful Substances and Foods for Cats

There are many food and non-food substances, including plants, which can be potentially poisonous for your cat. Household items, cleaning products and human medicines can be potentially lethal if ingested by your cat, so it’s very important to make sure your home is cat-friendly, thereby minimising the risks for your cat. Below are some tips for you to consider when thinking about the safety of your cat in your home.


Never under any circumstances give your cat any medications unless under the direction of a vet. Many medications used safely in humans can be deadly to cats

Keep all prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs out of the sight, and out of reach. Commonly used pain-killers, cold medicines, anti-cancer drugs, antidepressants, vitamins and diet pills are examples of human medications that could be potentially lethal to your cat.


There are many foods that can cause your cat an upset stomach, or worse. Dangerous foods include onions, garlic, alcohol, grapes and raisins, peach stones and apple pips, caffeine and even chocolate. Of course, Purina provide some great options for a healthy diet for your cat.

Cleaning Products

Never allow your cat to have access to the area where cleaning agents are used or stored. Some may only cause a mild stomach upset, while others could cause severe burns of the tongue, mouth and stomach, and can even be fatal if ingested.

Care should be taken when using household products such as cleaning agents, pesticides, paints and varnishes as fumes from these can be toxic to cats. Microbial and fungal agents found in air conditioners, air ducts, filters and humidifiers may also be dangerous if inhaled by your cat.

One thing to consider is the use of rat or mouse baits, ant or cockroach traps, or snail and slug baits. If they’re needed, make sure you keep your cat away from them as they are often poisonous.

Household Items

Many common household items are known to be lethal to cats. These include mothballs, potpourri oils, cigarettes, fabric softener sheets, automatic dish detergents, homemade play dough, winter heat source agents like hand or foot warmers (contain high levels of iron), batteries, silica packets, pennies, ground coffee and alcoholic drinks. Car products such as oil, gasoline and antifreeze should be stored properly. Any amount of antifreeze (ethylene glycol) can be lethal for a cat.

Garden and Flora

Some plants commonly found in your house and garden are highly poisonous to cats. Consult your vet about cat safe plants and if you’re a keen gardener try to grow only safe, recommended plants. Check on area-specific listings to ascertain which regional flora are safe for cats where you live.

If treating your lawn or garden with fertilisers, herbicides, or insecticides, always keep your cat away from the area until it dries completely. If in doubt, discuss usage of products with the product manufacturer. Always store these products in an area safely away from your pet.

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