Trick-or-treat season means costumes, fun and best of all, candy! However, many of the candies and chocolates that we so readily hand out on Halloween contain an ingredient called Xylitol. While this substance is fine for humans to consume, if your kitty was to consume it, it would have a highly toxic effect. This could cause her to become extremely ill, and in some cases could even prove deadly.
Why is Xylitol so toxic to cats?
Xylitol is a sugar substitute. Unfortunately, your cat’s body doesn’t recognize that it isn’t really sugar and will release more insulin to keep its perceived blood sugar levels under control. However, this has the effect of removing real sugar from your cat’s blood and this can cause her blood sugar levels to drop dangerously – a condition known as hypoglycaemia. Some cats that eat Xylitol also end up developing liver failure, although it is not known exactly why this happens. Liver failure is almost certainly fatal.
As you can see, it is essential that you keep any candies and treats containing Xylitol well away from your kitty this Halloween, and make sure that any visitors that you have are aware not to allow your furbaby to share their treats.
We have put together the three most important reasons to keep your cat away from Xylitol candy during this Halloween season.
1. Xylitol can make your cat sick very quickly
Not only is Xylitol extremely toxic, it is also incredibly fast-acting and can make your cat sick very quickly. In the hustle and bustle of Halloween, where you are likely to be distracted by trick-or-treaters coming to the door, parties and other general chaos, you may not notice that your cat is unwell as quickly as you need to.
Fortunately, there are some symptoms that you can look out for that could indicate that your cat has consumed Xylitol. These include:
- Becoming unconscious
If you notice any of these symptoms, it is essential that you get your kitty to your vet as soon as possible.
2. It doesn’t take much Xylitol to make your cat sick
Unfortunately, Xylitol is so potent that only a small amount can make an animal very sick. This is especially true for cats who are small in size and therefore the effects are even more potent. Even one stick of sugar-free gum contains enough Xylitol to put the life of your kitty at risk. Therefore, it is recommended that you keep all candy or chocolate containing Xylitol well away from your cat, and you contact your vet immediately if you think she may have come into contact with any products containing this ingredient.
3. Treating the effects of Xylitol consumption can be prolonged and expensive
The first thing that your vet will need to do is to induce vomiting in your cat, which should minimize the damage that Xylitol will do to her body. Nevertheless, your cat may still require a range of different treatments and therapies in order to make a full recovery from her ordeal. These might include IV fluids, antibiotics, blood transfusions and overnight care in your veterinary facility. Not only are these unpleasant for your pet, but they could also mean that you face hefty veterinary bills.
Xylitol is now found in more products than ever before, including Jell-o and other desserts, jams and syrups, protein bars, flavored water and even some brands of peanut butter. Most veterinarians will recommend that you carefully check your goods for this potentially fatal ingredient.
If you have further questions about Xylitol consumption, please do not hesitate to contact our office in Gainesville, Florida.