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From my Inbox: "One issue that I've never seen addressed is that antifreeze is lethal for pets (and humans). There's never been any activity by the industry to add something to make it taste bad."

Indeed, because of the toxicity of ethylene glycol, there have been numerous articles warning about its use near pets, including the one linked in the title, by PetMD.com for About.com. Although the industry may not have changed its standards, a number of state legislatures have passed laws requiring the addition of a "bittering agent (most commonly, denatonium benzoate)", according to this article from the American Veterinary Medical Association. An alternate product, with propylene glycol, is odorless and tasteless, so not as attractive, although it is still toxic. My original blog:

Your garage can be a hotbed of danger for your cats, particularly in the winter season when we use antifreeze containing ethylene glycol, which is poisonous when ingested. cats have an unaccountable sweet tooth, and ethylene glycol is very sweet to the taste.

Antifreeze poisoning is one of the most common forms of poisoning in small animals, and this is because it is so commonly found in households. Antifreeze poisoning typically happens when antifreeze drips from a car's radiator, where it is then licked off the ground and ingested by an animal. Your cat may also come into contact with antifreeze that has been added to a toilet bowl. This occurs in homes where the residents will use antifreeze during the cold months to "winterize" their pipes. Even if you do not take this action in your own home, it is something to be aware of when visiting other homes, or when vacationing at a winter residence. Please don't take chances with your cats' lives. Read this article by PetMD.com for About.com for more information on the symtoms, diagnosis, and treatment of antifreeze poisoning in cats.

More Reading About Cat Safety


December 10, 2009 at 6:47 am
(1) E says:

I shudder to think of all the years we had indoor/outdoor cats, and cars that sat on driveways in the neighborhood. Even without malice, a cat could easily have been poisoned.

May 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm
(2) Rosie says:

I never knew about the effects of anti-freeze poisoning in cats at all. I have 2 cats (theyre only 3 years old) and 2 days ago they went missing. One returned today, vomiting and mum took him to the vet immediatley. Turns out his kidneys had already failed and there was a ‘toxic substance’ found in his blood test. He’s getting put down tomorrow :( The other cat is a little bit smaller; if she had also ingested the same substance we don’t hold much chance of her coming back. This is so unexpected and I would not wish it upon any cat owner :(

May 10, 2010 at 9:23 pm
(3) Franny Syufy says:

Rosie, I am so sorry this had to happen to your dear cats. My heart goes out to you.

October 14, 2010 at 10:24 am
(4) Riley says:

I agree with you E on that and Rosie I know how you feel I had to my last cat put down, I hope all is well. A few days ago my cat also came in from outside, and he has been acting strange ever since. I’m really scared because this isn’t his first time, I mean turns out the first time, he just had a piece of ribbon in his stomach. The vet then recommended some food to help pass it through. It worked, but I’m not sure about this time, for now on if he gets through this he’s staying indoors, it’s not worth losing him. His symptoms are staying low which is nothing like him, not eating, and today he’s not accepting his water very well. What has seemed to help in the passed is giving him water through a syringe.

February 8, 2011 at 8:02 am
(5) Gill says:

I recently had to put my wonderful cat to sleep after posioning by anti freeze. I dont understand why a bittering substance isnt added to every batch of antifreeze during manufacture to make it unpleasant for cats. My poor cat suffered horrible symptoms of violent vomitting, diahorrea, shortness of breath and loss of the use of his muscles, caused by the kidneys getting rid of calcium. Towards the end he started to fit. The fitting was stopped by a sedative given by the vet but it was too late to save my cat. There is an antidote avaialble but the cat must be taken to the vet as soon as they show symptoms and it must be administred within 4 to 5 hours of drinking the antifreeze..

November 14, 2011 at 10:49 am
(6) Lola says:

This too has happened to me and im absolutley devastated. My cat was only 14 months old and straight away me and my partner noticed she wasnt right and booked her in to see a vet within a few hours. I was told she had an off stomach and they prescribed her with a zantac fluid which just made her froth at the mouth. After a couple of days she didnt get any better and started to vomit, wouldnt eat anything and was shaking and crying. I took her to the emergency out of hours vet yesterday and they run some blood samples but it was too late she had already had kidney failure and had to be put asleep. This is something I have been told is very common by my vet and think this issue needs to be addressed get these companies to add a solution so its not as attractive to them. For anyone whose cat may be experiencing the same symptoms below are some of the signs which my cat shown:
1. Crying more than usual.
2. Vomiting which was clear and froth like.
3. Depressed with glazed eyes.
4. Dehydrated and was drinking more than usual.
5. Off her food.
6. Difficulty walking and moving altogether.
7. Sat in a hunched up position.
8. Difficulty passing urine or none at all.

I was told by the vet that the sooner you notice the symptoms the better chance they have of surviving and they can give them an injection which acts as an antibody. After 12 hours or so, the anti freeze starts to crystalize and blocks up the kidneys causing them to fail. If left untreated altogether they usually start to fit and eventually die.

I hope you find this information useful and hope you dont have to go through the same horrible ordeal we have had go through. If in any doubt of your cats symptoms I would just see the vet straight away to be safe anyway.

March 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm
(7) Polly says:

It makes me so sad and angry to read these stories. In February 23rd . 2012 I lost 3 cats through anti freeze poisoning. One on the 23rd one on 24th and one on 25 feb. to say I’m absolutely heartbroken is an understatement. It’s about time more warnings were gubernatorial out and some horrible smelling stuff added to anti freeze. My 3rd cat is missing so I’m assuming he too died of this horrible poisoning. My thoughts are with you all

March 21, 2012 at 12:39 am
(8) nicola says:

My cat has just been put down following anti freeze poisoning.

It was the most awful thing to see, all loss of balance, semi conscious & the horrendous fitting!!

Dreadful dreadful thing x

August 27, 2012 at 8:21 pm
(9) tetrod says:

Wouldn’t it be safer to keep your pet cat indoors?

January 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm
(10) jackie says:

think my cat died of anti-freeze poisioning 3 wks ago..after reading some of these. think its disgusting! my neighbour was working on there car..trying to get it running after months..had bonnet up,may have been to do with them..i dont know..cat came from there front..was being sick outside mine..when he came in he kept nearly falling as if back legs were going,hunched up/drinking loads /not eating..cried out..then died while i was stroking him..he was quite old i think..he turned up as stray 3 yrs ago,loved him so much..2nd cat we have lost in spate of months. really terrible.. such a shame.

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