Weather: Pet owners warned of antifreeze dangers to cats

Blue Cross officials have issued advice to pet owners for the cold snap.

Blue Cross officials have issued advice to pet owners for the cold snap. - Credit: Archant

PET owners are being urged to keep an eye on their animals during the cold snap – especially as cats have a liking for poisonous antifreeze.

Officials at the Blue Cross animal rescue centre in Felixstowe said every period of freezing weather saw cases of cats being taken ill, and some dying, with antifreeze and salt always the main suspects.

The charity’s chief vet Mark Bossley said: “We are braced to see a number of cats over the next few days needing emergency treatment after being poisoned.

“Salt can easily get on a cat’s paws or fur and be swallowed when they groom themselves.

“Strangely, although it is toxic, some cats seem to like the taste of antifreeze and will lick it off a car window. Be vigilant, if your cat appears to be ill always contact your vet as quickly as possible.”


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Signs of poisoning include lethargy, vomiting, appetite loss and drinking excessively.

In severe cases cats will collapse, have seizures and find difficulty walking. In large amounts, salt can cause severe dehydration, brain damage and even death.

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The Blue Cross said there were other cold weather hazards, too, for pets.

If left outside cats may seek warmth in dangerous car engines, or get trapped somewhere without access to food and water.

Pets should not be left outdoors for too long as they can develop hypothermia if they remain in the cold for long periods. Small pets like rabbits and guinea pigs are particularly vulnerable and could be brought indoors or be given extra bedding to keep them warm.

Salt and grit can also be harmful to dogs and irritate their paws. Their feet should be washed after walks to make sure there is nothing stuck between their pads.

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