Cat owners warned over accidental flea treatment poisoning
Vets are warning pet owners after a series of cat poisonings caused by flea treatments intended for dogs.
The animal welfare charity PDSA has reported that it was seeing about 20 cases of accidental poisonings a month.
It said some owners did not realise that certain treatments should not be given to cats, but in other cases cats were being poisoned by contact with dogs.
It has backed a campaign by fellow charity International Cat Care to change the licensing of the products.
PDSA said flea products containing a toxic insecticide called permethrin, could be fatal if given to cats.
Pet owner Debbie Barker, from Stoke-on-Trent, urged people to be careful after her cat, Scratchy, was poisoned.
"I bought some flea treatment for my dog Coco to prevent her getting any infestations. I knew I had to keep her separated from the cat for a while," she said.
"After a couple of days I allowed Scratchy and Coco to play with each other.
"But the following morning, Scratchy became really poorly; he was being sick and was foaming at the mouth. I knew straight away it was poisoning."
Charity PDSA said much-loved cats were suffering "terrible reactions" to the flea treatments
Although Scratchy was successfully treated, Ms Barker said: "I would advise other pet owners to be careful about which products they buy, especially if they own a dog and a cat."
PDSA senior vet Sean Wensley said: "Many cats are continuing to fall victim to accidental poisoning by certain flea treatments.
"This oversight is having devastating consequences, with many much-loved cats suffering terrible reactions including respiratory and neurological problems, convulsions and tremors."
International Cat Care is petitioning for it to be a legal requirement for customers buying the products to be given verbal advice before the purchase.
Chief executive Claire Bessant said: "These cat deaths are totally preventable."