bad kitty
October 25, 2005 2:21 PM   Subscribe

Last week my wife put one of those toilet cleaning puck things - 2 discs, one blue and one white (a type of chlorine bleach, I think) in the toilet tank. Apparently one of us or our houseguest left the toilet open and one of our two cats - the stupid one - drank a quantity of the water, even though he had a big bowl of fresh water by his food (yes, we're now being very careful to leave it closed). My questions: 1) did he drink it because it tasted good, the way some animals will eat antifreeze, and 2) is he gonna be OK? He's acting a little odd - staring at his own shadow and attacking invisible things, growling at nothing, but then again he's kind of brain-damaged anyway (flea anemia as a feral kitten). He's 9 yrs old and otherwise in good health.
posted by luriete to Pets & Animals (15 answers total)
Response by poster: oops, actually, i think it was me that left it open, not the houseguest, to be fair.
posted by luriete at 2:22 PM on October 25, 2005

If this just happened, you ought to call a vet. If some number of hours have passed and cat seems functional, he's probably OK.
posted by beagle at 2:32 PM on October 25, 2005

My cats drink from swimming pools with no ill effect and that has a lot of chlorine in it. The toilet cleaning things are probably more intense than the swimming pool and may have other nasty ingrediants, but I imagine they are well tested against animal ingestion, and would have huge TOXIC TOXIC warnings if it would kill a supping pet. Yours is not the first animal to drink from the toilet after all. IANAV, but I wouldn't worry about it if it was just once and the animal seems fine.
posted by dness2 at 2:40 PM on October 25, 2005

Oh, forgot to say, they prefer the swimming pool to a water dish. I have no idea why. Maybe it tastes cleaner to them. Chlorine is a method of sanitizing questionable water sources while hiking or surviving natural disasters after all.
posted by dness2 at 2:42 PM on October 25, 2005

I'm not sure why the cat went for the chlorinated toilet water, but antifreeze has ethylene glycol which tastes sweet but crystalizes in the kidneys and causes renal failure.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:43 PM on October 25, 2005

Oh, preferring other sources of water instead of from their water dish - it's sometimes because the water is at a lower temperature than the water in their dish.

Refilling the pet dish with cool water at regular intervals *might* ween them from drinking from the toilet/pool (providing the pool isn't heated).
posted by PurplePorpoise at 2:45 PM on October 25, 2005

At least in New Zealand, the most dangerous ingredient in those toilet cleaner things is phosphoric acid. I would imagine that some irritant/corrosive substance would also be the most dangerous here in the US. Thus, systemic toxicity is usually not a problem. Check in its mouth if you can for signs of redness, swelling etc. that would indicate local irritation. If ithe cat is eating and drinking fine then there is probably no esophageal damage. If it goes off its water or food, then get it checked out.
posted by gaspode at 2:45 PM on October 25, 2005

Apparently ingestion of sodium hypoclorite solutions is dangerous

I'd bring the cat to the vet..but first, obviously, a quick phone call will settle the question.
posted by elpapacito at 2:47 PM on October 25, 2005

The better question is, if kitty's not alright is there anything to be done about it? I'd be cautious about getting roped into a bunch of tests to tell you something you're powerless to change anything about.

If it's a water freshness issue perhaps one of those pump/waterfall dish things would be a good idea.
posted by phearlez at 3:06 PM on October 25, 2005

If I remember correctly... Bleach is kind of an intoxicating drug for a cat. So if there is bleach in those tabs that could be why your cat is acting funky. I used to have a cat that would freak out if I cleaned something with bleach and he would want to rub all over me for hours to come as well.
posted by Zolan at 3:43 PM on October 25, 2005

Response by poster: I'm calling the vet now. Also, the water in his dish was fresh and cold. Yes, he was acting intoxicated, and was fine a few hours later ... we'll see. Thanks for your advice everyone!
posted by luriete at 3:49 PM on October 25, 2005

As for why the cat drank the toilet water...cats are f*uckin weird, they will drink anything except what's in their dish, usually. My kitty loves to drink from the faucet when I'm in the bathroom, and has a fascination with the tub (contrasting with his innate fear of water...).
posted by radioamy at 6:54 PM on October 25, 2005

I had heard once that cats do not actually like water bowls, as generally they tend to be small enough that their whiskers touch the bowl, causing sensory overload. I don't know if it's true or not, but since we switched to a larger bowl, our cats stopped drinking out of the toilet. I can't really explain it, but there you are.
posted by angeline at 9:40 AM on October 26, 2005

Why wouldn't you call the vet first? As far as I know, no one here is a vet.
posted by agregoli at 9:41 AM on October 26, 2005

Response by poster: Vet told me to relax and not worry about it. They said that if it was poisonous for cats to drink, the company would have been sued into the stoneage years ago due to the number of dogs and cats that drink out of toilet bowls. The vet said, as someone else did here, that small amts of chlorine will intoxicate cats and maybe make them throw up, and that's about it.
posted by luriete at 10:36 PM on October 26, 2005

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