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Cat Lead Poisoning

Veterinarian Reviewed on April 2, 2014 by Dr. Janice Huntingford

Cat Lead Poisoning

Signs and Symptoms

Lead poisoning can cause significant health problems for your cat and if left untreated, may result in death. If you suspect that your cat has ingested lead, you should have him or her at once.

Sources of Lead In Your Home

Although most parents of small children try to remove all or most of the sources of lead in their home, there are many day to day products that still contain lead. Although lead based paint is no longer sold in the United States, any home built prior to 1977 still may contain lead based paint and is still the most common cause of lead poisoning in cats.

Remodeling your home can cause the air to be filled with lead dust and paint that can affect both animals and children. Other sources of lead poisoning for cats are roofing, construction and plumbing materials, car batteries, lead fishing sinkers, lead gun pellets and wheel weights as well as leaded gasoline and oil from cars that use leaded gasoline.

What Age is Your Cat Most Liable To Ingest Lead

Adult cats are more likely than kittens to ingest lead due to their grooming habits. Cats will pick up lead from dust and materials that get on their fur and paws rather than by chewing on lead based products.

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning In Cats

Cats show very few signs of having high doses of lead in their system. They may experience Cat Loss of Appetite and occasionally will have Cat Vomiting or have Cat Diarrhea. If you suspect lead poisoning in your cat seek Veterinary care immediately.


Diagnoses for lead poisoning in your cat requires a special urine or blood test, and sometimes even both, to determine if there is an excess amount of lead present in your cat.


While there is no way to completely remove the leaded materials from your home, you can decrease the risk of your cat coming in to contact with lead based products. This can be done by keeping them from places where you store things such as caulking and roofing materials, sinkers, gun pellets and batteries and by closing off areas of your home where remodeling is being done and keeping the dust and paint chips from that remodeling in the area that is being worked on.

Treatment for Lead Poisoning in Cats

Treatment consists of a variety measures depending on how severe the poisoning is. IVs, seizure medication, drugs and pumping the stomach of your pet may all be methods of treatment used to treat your pet and help remove some of the lead from their system.

In homes where a cat has been diagnosed with lead poisoning, if there are young children in the home they should immediately be tested as well.

Read also: Cat Rabies
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Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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