Why my friend's cat died

Elly_NJAugust 15, 2010

You hear about this but rarely get to find someone affected by it.

My friend's beloved cat started having seizures a year ago. The vet put him on phenylbarbatol, and it was controlled.

But his weight was dropping little by little. Not enough for alarm.

Then in June he went into organ failure and died suddenly.

Just the other day my friend found an old bottle of Pine sol in his cabinet, where the cat had access. There was a congealed puddle of Pine sol under the bottle. The fumes were overwhelming. Evidently the cat ingested or repeatedly inhaled the substance. All the symptoms are consistent with Pine sol toxicity.

He is more than devastated. He is consumed with thoughts that he killed his cat, and no words help him.

Even a little Pine sol or Lysol can kill a dog or cat. Please pay attention to the toxicity warnings on common household stuff. I see people here dismiss concerns about substance toxicities, saying I give my dog (chocolate, grapes, raisins, whatever) all the time, and he's fine. I clean my house with lysol all the time and my pets haven't died.

It just has to happen once.

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Thanks for the warning elly. I feel sorry for your friend but it's a reminder to all that pets should be restricted from household stuff just as children are (or should be!).

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Having pets is like having toddlers around. And it's good to remind people about the dangers. I don't take it lightly, either and always check the house when I leave for things like electrical cords and venetian blind cords and that cabinet doors are closed and my husband hasn't left candy or edibles around. He thinks I'm a little nuts, I expect but it only takes once.

I'm assuming that the cause of death was not determined by a necropsy and it was assumed this was the probable cause. Was it the vet who made that determination or your friend's presumption? I suppose a cat might ingest it if they lay in it and were cleaning themselves, but cannot believe they'd voluntarily ingest it or even habit a place where the fumes were strong. There are lots of other causes for seizures or organ failure and just finding a puddle of chemical where a cat might possibly get to it is a big jump for a chronic condition over a year's time. I'm not trying to dispute that it could happen, but hope your friend isn't beating him/herself up over a conclusion they jumped to. They have enough pain without adding guilt (especially unfounded guilt) to it.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:26AM
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Having pets IS like having toddlers around. Last week a friend had to rush her whippet to the emergency vet because he had gotten her husbands heart meds which he had just picked up at the pharmacy. Counting them she guessed the dog ate 3 so they put a heart monitor on him and gave him charcoal. He spent the night and cost her $400 but he recovered. A costly mistake. I try to be extra careful but sh-t happens to the best of us.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 2:45PM
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HOLEY CRAP! I have been using Pine Sol to clean around the cat box. One of my males will sometimes over shoot the box. It's on a cement floor in a small basement bathroom. I have been pouring Pine Sol on it then washing it down the drain with water. The Pine smell will linger in the drain for a while. If I just wash it down with water the urine smell lingers in the drain. Would the smell from the drain be a danger?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 3:01PM
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The Pine Sol company claims it has pine oil in it. Pine oil is very allergenic - pine trees are one of the biggest problems for the allergy-prone. Inhaling it can be trouble. It may well be a neuro-toxin for the sensitive humans and pets who come into contact with it. It is an old-fashioned cleaner. There are many better, less toxic cleaners out there.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:53PM
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Anything can happen. One of my friends got her cat a collar. She thought it was cute because it had fake diamonds and all. Well, one day she woke up and her cat was dead; he had choked to death on it after getting it caught on something. I will never put a collar on a cat now!

So, anything can happen.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 5:34PM
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He does blame himself totally. No, no necropsy, but he thinks the cat walked through the cleaner and then groomed; and the fumes were chokingly strong.

He will not accept the shadow of a doubt.

Yes, anything can happen. So we try to prevent the ones we can prevent.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:00PM
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That's terribly sad, Elly. I read the MSDS on pine oil and from what I can see if the cat had enough exposure to it to have caused a year's worth of symptoms, I'd have expected it to have presented with pneumonias, GI disturbances and a lot of other symptoms before things like seizures and organ failure set in.

In almost every death I've had to grieve with my pets I've looked back over every one of them second-guessing if I could have staved it off awhile/prevented it/ waited too long to euthanise/not long enough/fed it differently/spayed sooner or later/exposed it to other animals unnecessarily/stinted on money toward its recovery/wasted money on its recovery. Don't most pet owners do this? For the most part it's self-defeating and changes nothing. I'd do everything I could to dissuade your friend from blaming/punishing himself. I'd also suggest he contact his vet and talk to them. I think it might grant him some peace of mind. I really, really have the gut feeling the cleaner was totally unrelated to the cat's demise and I think a vet could help him understand that.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 6:19PM
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