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Why Your Cat May Be at High Risk for Pool Chemical Poisoning

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Though it isn’t a hard and fast rule, anyone who’s ever had a cat knows that most of them aren’t crazy about water. So, this summer while the neighborhood dogs enjoy a dip or two your cat will probably do everything in his or her power to stay firmly on dry land.

lounging by the pool
Source: final gather

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean your cat is completely free from the risk of being poisoned by pool chemicals. In fact, because of their famous curiosity, they can still easily find themselves in danger. As this pool chemical safety checklist notes, these chemicals are very dangerous and cat owners should definitely take every precaution to protect their feline friends.

Here are a few reasons you may not have considered that could put your cat at a high risk for pool chemical poisoning.

Their livers lack certain enzymes. Cats are strict carnivores and must obtain certain nutrients directly from the meat they consume. PetMD.com provides a list of those substances and explains why your cat’s body can’t convert other foods, such as plant matter, into those nutrients. However, as International Cat Care explains, because cats are strict carnivores, they don’t have some of the liver enzymes that dogs have to help them break down and process a harmful chemical if ingested. So, while your curious cat may not be as likely as a dog to eat an unfamiliar substance, if they were to ingest a pool chemical, it may be more difficult for them to process, and as a result, they may not recover as well as a dog.

They groom themselves. Cats groom themselves frequently, licking their fur and paws to get clean. All it takes is brushing up against a contaminated container or walking through a spill for cats to get a harmful chemical on their fur or paws. Then, as Petco.com notes, they may lick the substance off and ingest it while grooming. The article advises that you “cat-proof” all harmful household products. Make sure they’re kept in a secure area that your cat can’t reach and make sure there are no leaks or spills that your cat could walk through.

They hide when they aren’t feeling well. As this article from KOMONews.com on how cats react when they’re sick notes, cats have a tendency to hide when they don’t feel well. So, if your cat were to ingest a pool chemical, which made them sick, they may hide away making it more difficult for you to see that they need medical attention. It is important to know if your cat demonstrates this behavior when they’re sick. If so, check on them from time to time to make sure they’re healthy and well.

Because cats aren’t as likely to jump in the pool as dogs, you may not have considered how pool chemicals could endanger them. But a cat doesn’t have to get in the water to get these chemicals on their paws and fur. If your cat loves to roam, always be on the lookout for PetMd.com’s signs of a possible chemical poisoning, such as vomiting, changes in behavior (lethargy, nervousness, hyperactivity), and pale or yellow gums.

About the author

Vee Cecil is a wellness coach, personal trainer, and bootcamp instructor based in Kentucky. She is passionate about studying and sharing her findings in wellness through her recently-launched blog.

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