Sometimes the poisoning occurs when a cat consumes a toxic substance. Other timesit is the result of a cats self-grooming and ingesting poison. For example, a catmay walk through a rodent tracking powder, a petroleum product or antifreeze andconsequent consumption of the toxic substance occurs during grooming. Still otherpoisons may be absorbed through the skin, particularly petroleum-based chemicalsor coal-tar products.Unless the cat has been seen consuming the poison, it may be difficult to diagnosethe cause as rapidly as is desirable. Prevention is the best means of protectingyour cat.The following information is by no means complete as it lists some of themore common poisons. It is presented as an alert to keep toxic substances awayfrom cats and to help you assess a situation in which you think your cat may havebeen accidentally poisoned.Dangerous Household Products Here are examples of potentially toxic products foundin the home:Cleaning and household supplies: ammonia, bleach, cleaning fluids anddisinfectants, drain cleaner, soaps and detergents, mothballs and matches.Garageitems: gasoline, kerosene, brake fluid, windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze.Many cats are attracted to the sweet taste of antifreeze and lap it up when it isspilled on the ground or not properly stored.Agricultural products: insecticides, rodenticides, herbicides, fungicides, snailor slug bait, worm and mollusk toxicants and plant growth hormones.Workshopsupplies: paints, paint thinners and removers, wood preservatives and mineralspirits.Medicines: aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol and other similar products), dietpills, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, laxatives and rubbing alcohol.Cosmetics deodorants, hair coloring, nail polish and remover, permanent wavelotion, suntan lotion, hair spray and perfumes.Other hazards: scrapings from lead-based paints; contaminated food; water fromtoilet bowels, especially if chemically treated.To protect a cat from accidental poisoning, store products found around the homein inaccessible containers, properly dispose of empty containers and clean upspills promptly.Dangerous Plants The list of plants potentially dangerous to cats is long. Some ofthe more common plants that can be poisonous to cats are:Dieffenbachia, philodendron and caladium cause throat irritation and will burn thethroat just as much coming up as going down. Do not induce vomiting and seekveterinary treatment.English ivy, iris, amaryllis, daffodil and tulip (especially the bulbs) causegastric irritation and sometimes central nervous system excitement followed bycoma and, in severe cases, death. Induce vomiting and seek veterinary treatment.Foxglove, lily of the valley, oleander, monkshood and larkspur can be lifethreatening because the cardiovascular system is affected.The different species of yew are also toxic because they affect the nervoussystem. If any of these are ingested, get the cat to a veterinarian immediately.Remember you are dealing with a life-threatening emergency.Poison By Inhalation Cats are vulnerable to the following gases if inhaled:ammonia, carbon monoxide, fumes from heating or cooking gas. A cat suffering frompoisoning by inhalation may exhibit weakness and dizziness, breathingdifficulties, and bright red lips and tongue. Get the cat into fresh air asquickly as possible. Prompt veterinary treatment is essential.Symptoms General symptoms of poison by ingestion include pain, nausea, vomiting,and/or collapse. Burns around the mouth, lips and tongue indicate that an acid oralkali such as drain cleaner or paint thinner has been swallowed or the cat hassuffered an electric shock. An abnormal odor to the cats breath, coughing orbloody vomitus occur when a petroleum product such as kerosene or gasoline hasbeen swallowed. If the poison is an acid, alkali or petroleum product, do notinduce vomiting.