Saturday, February 6, 2010
Antifreeze, that green-yellow liquid that keeps your car going, can be lethal to your cat -- and to dogs and kids.
Ethylene glycol is the ingredient that gives antifreeze its sweet, enticing taste, and less than a teaspoon can be life threatening for your cat. So take these precautions:
Keep kitty inside when flushing your radiator, and never drain it into gutters or onto the ground.
Fix all radiator leaks, even if no antifreeze is dripping onto the ground. Cats can (and often will) crawl up into car engines to lick drops of antifreeze from leaky radiator caps.
Store new and used antifreeze in a leakproof container.
Promptly clean all spills.
Don't let your cat freely roam in your garage or outdoors. One stroll through a puddle of antifreeze, followed by paw licking, can result in death.
Buy antifreeze with the bitter-tasting and less toxic propylene glycol instead of the sweet-tasting ethylene glycol. (All brands of antifreeze should be handled with the same precautions listed above.)
If you suspect your cat has ingested antifreeze, get to the vet immediately. Irreversible kidney damage can occur within hours of ingestion. Lethargy, depression, and staggering are a few of the symptoms of ingestion, but some cats show no symptoms at all.