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A cat lying on the table undergoing liquid therapy, example of permethrin toxicity in cats

Permethrin Toxicity In Cats: Home Treatment For Poison And Other Info

If you're a cat owner with a dog as well, one of the most crucial pet safety tips to remember is never to use dog flea and tick treatments on your cat. This is because of permethrin toxicity in cats. Learn more about this common poison, the signs of poisoning, and prevention treatments as approved by a veterinarian.

Flea And Tick Treatment: The Cat Poison

Are you worried that your cat may have come into contact with permethrin? This chemical is commonly found in flea and tick treatments, but it can be toxic to cats if they are exposed to too much of it. But the good news is you can take steps to help treat your cat from the comfort of your home so that they don't experience any long-term side effects.

When treating permethrin poisoning, it's important to follow the instructions on the treatment label carefully. Ensure to note any warning labels about how toxic it can be for cats and how often and much of the product should be used.

Resist the temptation to apply too much and take a break from using any flea or tick treatments for a few weeks if your cat has had a recent reaction.

You should also remove any residue from your pet's fur by bathing them quickly with warm water and mild detergent. Be sure not to use hot water, as this could cause further irritation, and rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water after bath time is complete.

If you notice any swelling or redness of the skin around your pet's eyes or on their skin, consult a veterinarian immediately, as this could be a sign of an allergic reaction.

Signs And Symptoms Of Permethrin Toxicity In Cats

A lethargic cat lying on the floor, a possible symptom of permethrin poisoning

Are you worried if your cat ingested something toxic? If so, we must know the common signs and symptoms of permethrin poisoning among our cute felines.

Some of these are quite obvious, such as drooling, tremors, vomiting, and seizures. Some may be less so, like depression and lethargy. You must be aware of their previous behaviors to determine whether they are acting out of the ordinary.

Another common symptom of poisoning is ataxia. This is characterized by instability in motion. If your cat is walking like a drunk person, get him or her quickly tested by a vet.

In severe cases, ingestion of this chemical may cause respiratory paralysis. If it’s left untreated, death may even occur for your kitty. Always look out for these signs in their body language if you have pet flea treatment.

Your furry pal may also experience skin irritation when he comes in contact with this chemical. If it comes with other symptoms like loss of appetite and excessive panting, it might be time to get worried.

Another sign can be found in their behavioral changes. Cats have never been the most social creatures, but intake of this poison may cause them to have increased aggression even towards their owners.

What Veterinary Professionals Say

When it comes to specific pet emergencies such as these, it’s essential to know what veterinary professionals have to say. They’ve studied for these, after all.

With that being said, here’s a few key points from professionals when it comes to permethrin poisoning:

  • Permethrin is a powerful chemical. Even short exposure to this substance can lead to dire consequences for your cat.
  • Pet owners must watch out for signs of illness or poisoning and contact a veterinarian immediately if their cat shows any symptoms.
  • Depending on the cat's age, weight, and the severity of the symptoms, a veterinarian may recommend different treatments, including decontamination with soap and water and supportive care with fluid therapy and medications to reduce nausea, vomiting, or itching.
  • Even after recovery, long-term effects of permethrin poisoning can occur, such as neurologic issues or respiratory problems that need to be monitored.

Home Treatment Options for Milder Cases of Permethrin Poisoning

If your cat was only exposed to low levels of permethrin, you may be able to treat your cat at home with the help of a qualified vet. Here are a few treatments your vet might suggest for milder cases:


Your vet may suggest bathing your cat with an approved pet shampoo. This removes any residual toxins and helps reduce the severity of symptoms. However, it’s important to note that bathing should not be done if your cat is having trouble breathing, as it can cause further complications or even death.

Activated Charcoal

Sometimes, your vet may administer activated charcoal orally or through insertion into the stomach. Activated charcoal binds to toxins in the stomach and helps remove them from the system.

Fluid Therapy and Medication

If vomiting or diarrhea is present, your vet will likely prescribe fluid therapy and medication to alleviate symptoms and reduce dehydration. It's also important to monitor kidney function as some permethrin cases can lead to kidney damage if left untreated.

It is important to note that home treatments for permethrin poisoning are not recommended as it can be challenging to know how severe the case is without medical help from a veterinarian. Proper treatment may not be possible without hospitalization.

Other Household Chemicals That Are Poisonous To Cats

Cat lying on top of a laundry

It's not just permethrin that's poisonous to cats—there're other household chemicals you should be aware of too.

Bleaching agents

Cats can be poisoned by various bleaching agents, such as chlorine, oxygen, and peroxide bleach, usually found in laundry detergents and cleaning products. Poisoning symptoms can include difficulty breathing, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, and lethargy.

Non-bleaching agents

Non-bleaching agents such as silicates are used in liquid soaps, surface cleaners, and detergents and can be very toxic to your furry pals. You might not think twice about letting your kitty wander around the kitchen.

However, those cleaning products contain harmful non-bleaching agents that will cause skin irritations and other dangerous side effects if ingested or absorbed through the skin.

Pesticides & Herbicides

Pesticides containing permethrin are very toxic to felines as they have high concentrations of poisons that can kill or seriously harm your pet if not treated immediately. Even at low concentrations—outdoors, for example—ingestion of these chemicals can cause organ damage leading to death.

Herbicides containing glyphosate and fertilizers with other nitrogenous compounds also cause cat poisoning if ingested.

If you suspect your cat has been exposed to any kind of poison from household chemicals, it's important to seek emergency medical help right away to prevent further damage or death from poisoning.

How to Avoid Permethrin Poisoning and Keep Your Cat Safe

When it comes to poisoning in cats, prevention is indeed better than cure. Here are some tips to help keep your cat safe from permethrin poisoning:

Check labels

Be sure to read labels carefully and avoid products that contain permethrin or list it as one of their active ingredients. If you are unsure, ask your veterinarian for advice before using any product on your cat.

Safe collar usage

If you use a flea collar, ensure it meets safety standards and is designed specifically for cats. Some pet owners have seen reactions when using dog flea collars on cats, so make sure that the collar is designed specifically for cats.

Vet visits

Always follow your veterinarian's instructions when it comes to flea control products and treatments. Your vet can guide you through the best and safest way to protect your cat from fleas and other pests.

Maintain good hygiene

Maintaining good hygiene in your residence can go a long way in preventing pest infestations, especially if your family has pets like cats or dogs. Vacuum and clean regularly, empty trash cans often, seal openings or cracks around windows or foundations, and check for any signs of pests before bringing new pets.

These preventive measures can help reduce the risk of permethrin toxicity in cats caused by exposure to products containing this insecticide.


How much permethrin is toxic to cats?

Household sprays with less than 5% concentration or lower are generally safe, although cat owners should still proceed with caution.

Is permethrin toxic to cats when dry?

There is currently no related research on toxicity when this substance has fully dried, but just to be safe, it is best to use feline-friendly alternatives. No cat merch is worth the safety of your fur babies.

Why is permethrin toxic to cats but not dogs?

Dogs have certain enzymes in their liver, which allow them to safely break down these chemicals when ingested. Cats, on the other hand, do not have this option.

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