Lack of awareness is having devastating consequences

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Vets are warning of a cat-astrophe as thousands of pet owners are mistakenly poisoning their animals.

The PDSA are warning cat owners, after revealing that around 20 cases of accidental poisoning are being seen by vets every month due to flea treatments intended for dogs accidentally being applied to cats.

The charity said that some owners are also mistakenly failing to follow the packaging advice relating to dosage.

The PDSA is backing a campaign by feline welfare charity International Cat Care, which is calling for a change in licensing products.

They hope to change the rules so the products legally require verbal advice at the point of sale from a suitably qualified person.

This lack of awareness of the dangers is having devastating consequences, with much loved cats suffering terrible reactions including respiratory and neurological problems, convulsions and tremors. Tragically, the poisoning even results in death in many cases.

Cats can even be poisoned through contact with dogs in the same household who have recently been treated with flea spot-on products containing permethrin.

One such case was a kitten from Stoke called Scratchy who almost died after he was poisoned by licking some flea product containing permethrin off the fur of his canine companion, a Doberman called Coco.

Scratchy needed emergency treatment by vets, which included the administration of intravenous fluids.

Scratchy’s owner said her family were devastated when he fell ill.

She said: “I had bought some flea treatment for my dog as usual to prevent her getting any infestations.

“I knew I had to keep her separated from the cat for a while but after a couple of days I allowed them to play with each other as they are big pals and even sleep in the same bed together! But the following morning Scratchy became really poorly; he was being sick and foaming at the mouth”.

Treatment was successful and he was able to go home from the vets after 24 hours. Vets advise that in homes where there are cats and dogs living together, dog flea treatments that contain permethrin should be avoided.