We recently wrote about five foods that can kill your cat. Today we'd like to raise awareness of another potentially fatal substance to our feline friends - permethrin. And it's not uncommon to find it in many households!

Permethrin is a medication and pesticide, predominantly used to control insects and parasites. It is used in treatments for both humans and some animals, particularly dogs. However, for cats it can prove fatal.

Regular uses of the chemical are to help reduce tick, lice, nit, termite and mosquito infestations, among others. However, cats are less able to break down the chemical as quickly as humans and dogs. High (45-65%) levels of permethrin can cause muscle issues, tremors, seizures and even death. That said, it is still not ideal for dogs or humans, especially children.

Products containing Permethrin to be aware of

If you own a cat, here is a non-exhaustive list of products you should be aware of to avoid your pet coming into contact with permethrin.

- Flea and tick treatments for dogs

- Insecticides of any kind, including sprays, liquids, powder or smoke (to fight against bugs)

- Scabies treatments

- Lice and nit treatments

- Wood preservation products

To ensure your cat does not come into contact with permethrin, keep them away from any rooms that you might be treating for insects in the house.

Never give your cat flea or tick treatments designed for dogs. If you do choose to treat your dog with a product that contains permethrin, ensure that you follow the instructions and keep your pets apart for the recommended amount of time. Perhaps longer. If you're unsure, always speak to your vet.


Symptoms to keep an eye on 

Depending on the concentration, permethrin intoxication can take place quickly or over a couple of days. You may notice digestive troubles, as well as convulsions and respiratory difficulties. These can lead to seizures and also sudden death in more extreme circumstances.

If you notice any abnormal signs in your pet, and you think they may have come into contact with permethrin, take your cat to the vet immediately. While there is no cure available, your vet may administer an activated charcoal treatment to help limit the impact of the poisoning. They may also wash the skin and fur to help remove contamination.

Were you aware of the dangers of permethrin?

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