The Kelowna SPCA is warning pet owners about the dangers of rodenticides and other pet toxins after a local woman said her cat died after eating a suspected poisoned rat.
Kayla Taylor wrote in a social media post that her two-year-old cat Carbon died recently, saying that she thinks he ate a poisoned rat.
“He would make his rounds every morning getting treats from my neighbour and he told me that before Carbon went missing, he threw up twice what looked like a rodent,” she wrote.
Taylor’s neighbour didn’t think anything was wrong but Carbon then went missing, later found by a worker at the Apple Bowl as he was dying.
“While I am sympathetic to the rodent problem in Kelowna, I plead that people use safe alternatives to rat poison to deal with this issue,” she said.
Sean Hogan, Kelowna SPCA branch manager, said that it’s an incredibly sad situation and rodents aren’t the only animals that pay the price when rodenticides are used.
“Even though rodents are seen as pests and as a nuisance, they still need to be treated humanely,” he said.
“There are newer and more innovative ways of doing rodent control that is humane for everybody involved. The sad thing here is rodenticide doesn’t discriminate. It will kill rats, but it will also kill other wildlife. It can harm your pets.”
He said some of these alternatives include snap traps, which provide a quick, and thus, humane death. There is a risk that it can hurt your pet or children, so he suggested looking for boxes that cover the snap trap so only the rodent can go into it and be trapped inside.
The most effective way to control rats and mitigate risks to pets, however, is much simpler.
“Believe it or not, prevention is key. Prevention minimizes access that rodents have to attractants and entry points into our homes,” Hogan said.
“It’s really important that people maintain their homes and garages and areas around their facilities that don’t harbour rodents and invite them back. Don’t create hiding spots or nesting areas for them.”
While rodenticides are one thing to worry about, Hogan said that they are seeing many pet owners lose their animals to cannabis poisoning,as well as other household toxins.
Just as you are vigilant with wildlife and rodent attractants, he said pet owners also need to be aware of what could harm their animals inside the house.
“People need to be diligent about how they’re managing their edibles, for example. Leaving them on a table or a countertop is a huge risk,” he said.
“We don’t want to create fear around these things, of course, but we do want to create an awareness about them and their effects on your pets.”
Signs of poisoning in your pet can include lethargy, excessive thirst, as well as being wobbly on their feet.
If you suspect that your pet has ingested rat poison or another toxic, seek veterinary care immediately.