Does anyone ‘top up’ their antifreeze anymore? It is 2017 after all! But if you do and are a pet owner then be very careful about where the concentrate or ready-to-use antifreeze goes – in the car radiator and not on the floor!
Cats are incredibly sensitive to most antifreeze (those that contain the chemical ethylene glycol or ethanediol which is the majority of them) and cats drinking even a really tiny amount can cause serious or lethal poisoning. It causes kidney failure in a matter of hours and the amounts needed are truly small so that a cat could be poisoned by licking from a puddle or from cleaning their coat after being splashed which they are prone to do.
So, it is very important to think of ways to prevent your cat having access to antifreeze in the first place. If you spill it, always wash it away with large volumes of water, indeed if you see puddles that could have antifreeze in them, dilute them and wash them away too.
Antifreeze is often said to be sweet (it isn’t really) and this is the reason given as to why cats are attracted to it. This isn’t true as cats are unable to taste sweetness at all – part of a cat’s unusual makeup. Why cats seem willing to drink antifreeze is a mystery but ever heard the saying “curiosity killed the cat”? It looks like this is the most likely reason.
The first signs of poisoning maybe mild and not very obvious – seeming ‘drunk’ or unsteady, maybe meowing for no reason. If you are at all suspicious you need to act quickly – it is really only cats who are treated early that survive.
· So – don’t delay – go to your vet quickly if you KNOW your cat has ingested antifreeze containing ethylene glycol or they are showing suspicious signs
· Be careful with all chemicals around cats but especially antifreeze
· If you do top up your car’s radiator then try and use those which contain propylene glycol – this is often marked as non-toxic, and while they are not completely non-toxic, they are much safer
And remember…if you are at home and need advice about ANY substance which your pet has come into contact with you can call Animal PoisonLine anytime on 01202 509 000. We can tell you if you need to go to the vet or if a visit is not necessary.