Symptoms of a Cat That Ate Rat Poison

Updated April 17, 2017

There are three basic types of rat poison: anticoagluants, bromethalin and cholecalciferol. These come in a variety of baits under several different brand names. Whatever the poison bait type, cats, being the curious creatures that they are, will find a way into a bait trap if they really want to get in there. But eating the bait directly is not the only way a cat can get poisoned. If a cat finds a poisoned rat staggering around, the cat is likely to kill it and eat it. The poison from the rat is now inside the cat and soon, the cat will exhibit signs of rat poison ingestion.

General Symptoms

When a cat has ingested rat poison, whether directly or indirectly by eating a rat that had been poisoned, the cat will exhibit a set of symptoms as the poison works its way through the cat's body. Since different brands of rat poison contain different ingredients, the symptoms can sometimes vary. Overall, though, a cat poisoned with rat poison will have an unsteady gait, run a fever, have seizures, show a lack of interest in food or water, twitching muscles, vomiting and paralysis.

Symptoms of Vitamin D3 Toxicity

Rat poisons that contain huge amounts of vitamin D3-cholecalciferol, such as Rampage, will be toxic to any animal that eats them. If a cat consumes dangerous levels of vitamin D3, it will experience a very quick increase in calcium in the blood. This leads to diarrhoea, vomiting, seizures and, eventually, kidney and heart failure. If you notice the symptoms in time, a veterinarian can reduce the calcium levels to prevent death.


Most rat poisons contain a hemorrhagic agent such as warfarin or coumadin. These chemicals prevent vitamin K from being produced. Vitamin K is needed for the blood to clot. Therefore, consuming toxic levels of an anticoagulant rat poison will cause bleeding both internally and externally. A cat will begin to bleed from its nose and mouth, and blood will be in the urine and faeces. The cat will bleed to death very quickly. Generally, by the time the cat is found and the symptoms have presented, it is too late to seek treatment.

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About the Author

Gemma Argent writes articles and essays for Associated Content, HART, Horizon Magazine, and Canada. She writes fiction for Aria Kalsan and sci-fi and essays for Writing Edge magazine. She has bachelor's degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno, in environmental resources and archaeology and has done graduate coursework from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in water resources and writing.