With the summer here, now is the perfect time to get outdoors! Many of us spend this time of year enjoying and maintaining our gardens, which may include putting down weedkillers to keep our lawns in tip-top condition. However, what you might not know is that these products and the herbicidal compounds that they contain, can be harmful, even fatal, to cats.
As part of the charity International Cat Care’s Keeping Cats Safe campaign, the danger to cats from weedkiller products is being highlighted in the month of August.
Cats can become exposed to weedkillers during or soon after their use by walking on or brushing against treated grass and plants, and then grooming, walking in or licking up spills or drips, chewing treated plants or (rarely) via 'spray drift'.
Although there are a wide range of garden weedkillers on the market, they only contain a few different herbicidal compounds. These are: glyphosphate, chlorophenoxy derivatives, ferrous sulphate and fatty acids. Exposure to these chemicals can lead to a wide range of symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, anorexia, eye and skin irritation and a high temperature. In extreme cases poisoning from weedkillers can be fatal; for example glyphosphate exposure can lead to extreme respiratory problems which can result in death.
If you think your cat has been exposed to a weedkiller and it is showing any of the symptoms of poisoning, you should seek veterinary advice immediately. It is important to find out which particular product a cat may have been exposed to, noting the name and/or ingredients, so that if the cat requires treatment the vet can decide which is the best approach.
International Cat Care’s advice is to always read the packaging on herbicidal products and use them according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It may be difficult to prevent access to these products in free roaming cats, so if you are concerned that your cat may come into contact with any weedkiller you apply, it may be best to avoid their use and stick to manual removal of weeds.
More information on herbicides can be found on a pesticides database which is freely available on the internet. For this database and more information on the risks of herbicides see: http://icatcare.org/advice/keeping-cats-safe-campaign/weedkillers
Full details about the Keeping Cats Safe campaign, which is supported by Agria Pet Insurance and the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS), can also be found at: http://icatcare.org/keeping-cats-safe
Cats are most likely to ingest weedkiller after grooming it from their paws or fur after exposure to it
Weedkillers can be dangerous to cats
Jo Vuckovic, Digital Communications Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org, +44 (0)1747 871872
Notes to editors:
About International Cat Care (iCatCare)
A charity dedicated to the health and welfare of cats.
The International Cat Care vision:
All cats, owned and unowned, are treated with care, compassion and understanding.
The International Cat Care mission:
To engage, educate and empower people throughout the world to improve the health and welfare of cats by sharing advice, training and passion.
About the International Society of Feline Medicine (ISFM)
ISFM is the veterinary division of International Cat Care. ISFM aims to provide a worldwide resource for veterinarians on feline medicine and surgery.