My Clinic:

Justin Phillips

Published: Monday March 16 2015 by Justin Phillips

Support our campaign to ban ALL antifreeze preparations unless they contain a bitterant

Ban ALL Antifreeze Preperations Unless They Contain A Bitterant

Antifreeze kills: how to spot if your cat has antifreeze poisoning

White Cross Vets is leading a campaign to ban ALL antifreeze preparations, unless manufacturers add bittering agents to make the taste less appealing to pets. The most common cause of death in more than 200,000 pets, is due to Ethylene Glycol poisoning* – the deadly ingredient in anti-freeze.  The figures also show that 90% of cats that swallow antifreeze will die as a result.

 Sign the petition

Antifreeze poisoning in cats

Craig Harrison, Clinical Director at White Cross Vets explains: “We see too many poisoned pets across our practices every year who are in distress after swallowing antifreeze either as a terrible accident or a malicious act of cruelty.

“Ethylene Glycol is highly toxic and because of its sweet taste it is especially appealing to pets but just one teaspoon is enough to kill a cat and a tablespoon will kill a dog. If an accidental spill occurs and a pet either drinks or walks through the antifreeze and then licks their paws it can kill them. We have also seen cases where pets have been intentionally poisoned with food that has been soaked in antifreeze. However, these cases could be prevented if antifreeze wasn’t sweet tasting and included bittering agents.”

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned with this substance, it’s essential they see a vet straight away. Early treatment can often be effective but many pets that are left untreated unfortunately have to be put to sleep or die of kidney failure within days.”

Common symptoms of antifreeze poisoning in cats

If you’re concerned that your cat or your new kitten might be suffering from antifreeze poisoning then it’s vital you seek urgent veterinary advice - swift treatment for Ethylene Glycol poisoning saves lives. Symptoms may include:

Up to 12 hours after ingestion: Cat is vomiting, appearing ‘drunk’, wobbly, may be more ‘vocal’.

12-24 Hours after ingestion: Cat is exhibiting further depression, increased heart rate, usually at this point the kidneys begin to struggle to cope.

After 24 hours: You may notice your cat drinking more, lethargy, vomiting and a painful abdomen. Acute renal failure is likely and unfortunately the prognosis at this point is very poor.

What to do if you suspect your cat has been poisoned with antifreeze

If you are concerned or you recognise any of these symptoms in your cat, please contact your local vet immediately. Your cat needs urgent care.

White Cross Vets have provisions for 24 hour emergency vet care.

Contact your practice here to find out more.

Please support our petition to ban all preparations unless manufacturers add bittering agents to make the taste less appealing to pets.


 Sign the petition


*Figures courtesy of The Veterinary Poisons Information Service , Nov 2014.

Need help or advice? Contact your local practice

Want our blog delivered into your inbox?

Fill out your email here:



Introduce a


If you recommend us to a
friend and they register
their pet with us, we will
give you both £10
each to spend
on your pets.

Find out more >


Visit our Facebook page

What’s going on in your local practice right now?

Visit our Facebook page to find out

Enter email address


Sign up for e-news!

Enter your email address to receive updates from White Cross Vets.