Flea and Tick Medicine Poisoning in Cats

Cecilia de Cardenas
Jan 19, 2009
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Adverse reactions such as salivation, paw flicking, and ear twitching are often mild and self-limiting. If your cat has been saturated with spray products, dry it with a warm towel and brush. If mild symptoms continue, bathe your cat using a mild hand-dishwashing detergent.

If symptoms continue and progress to tremors and incoordination, your cat will require immediate care and hospitalization. Cats that are seriously affected will need to be stabilized, including fluid support, seizure control, and maintenance of a normal body temperature. Once your cat is stable, a bath with liquid hand-dishwashing detergent and warm water is critical.

Your veterinarian may also prescribe medications to lessen the severity of the symptoms and to help detoxify the cat's body.

Living and Management

Hypersalivation may recur for several days after using a flea-control product on an animal. This is especially true for cats, because they groom their entire bodies using their mouth and paws. Most mild to severe clinical signs resolve within 24 to 72 hours.


It is important that you do not apply dog-only products on cats. Proper application of flea-control products greatly reduces the incidence of adverse reactions; therefore, closely follow all of the directions listed on the flea-control products you use.

The correct dose for most sprays is one to two pumps from a typical trigger sprayer per pound of body weight; cats that are sensitive to sprays should receive an even lower dose. Spray the Pyrethrin or Pyrethroid onto a grooming brush, and evenly brush through the hair coat. Be careful not to accidentally spray the product into the cat's mouth.

If you are using these products in liquid form, commonly called dips, never submerge your pet into the liquid. Instead, pour the liquid over the body, using a sponge to cover the dry areas.

With house and lawn products, do not apply topically (to the skin). After treating the house or yard, do not allow your cat in the "treated" area until the product has dried and the environment has been ventilated.

Because cats frequently groom each other, if you are treating more than one animal, keep the animals separated until the product has dried entirely, to avoid accidental ingestion through grooming.

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