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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21196
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I think my cat may of licked some fabric softener off the

Customer Question

Hi I think my cat may of licked some fabric softener off the bottle she hasn't eaten in 24 hours and has been sick twice ...?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today.

What are the listed ingredients in the fabric softener?

Any drooling, gagging, or sores/ulcers in her mouth?

What did her vomit look like?

Will she drink and can she keep water down?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

If you press on her belly, any discomfort, tenderness, or tensing?

Could she have eaten anything else (ie bones, toys, plants, chemicals, etc)?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The listen ingredients are :
15-30% anionic surfactants, 5-15% non-ionic surfactants, soap; enzymes , benzisothiazolinone , methlisothiazolinone , perfumes, alpha-isomethyl ionone , linalool.She has drank and kept it down I think her gums look pretty normal and are mosit,no drooling but when I go to give her food she like gags an gips and turns away, her vomit is just a yellow colour , her belly feels okay she doesn't mind me touching it and she may of gotten bones but nothing else.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Thank you,

Now considering the ingredients in the fabric softener, I would have expected you to have seen drooling (usually quite dramatic) and possible oral ulcers if she had licked much of this. So, I am not convinced this is our culprit. Instead, bones would be a real worry since they can cause these signs and throat discomfort. As well, we'd also have to be wary about a possible bacterial or viral gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, parasites/protozoa infections, or a general dietary indiscretion.

With this all in mind, as long as there are no oral changes and since she can keep water down, we can try some home supportive care to see if we can settle her stomach. To start, if she hasn’t just vomited (since otherwise we’d need to rest her stomach for a few hours first), then you can try an OTC pet safe antacid like Pepcid (More Info/Dose @http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/famotidine-pepcid), or Tagamet (More Info/Dose Here @ http://www.petplace.com/article/drug-library/library/over-the-counter/cimetidine-hcl-tagamet). Whichever you choose, we’d give this 20 minutes before offering food to allow absorption. Of course, do check with your vet before use if she has any known health issues or is on any medications you didn’t mention. As well, if you try this and find the nausea just too severe to keep it down, then that is usually a red flag that we need the local vet to bypass her mouth with injectable anti-vomiting medication.

After that has had time to absorb, we can start small meals of a light/easily digestible diet. Examples you can use boiled chicken, boiled white fish, scrambled eggs, or meat baby food (as long as its garlic/onion free). When you offer these meals, give her 30 minutes after to settle. If she keeps the food down, you can give a bit more and so on. The aim of these diets is that they will be better tolerated/absorbed by the compromised gut. Therefore, it should get more nutrients in and result in less GI upset. As long as improvement is being seen, I usually advise that the diet be continued until her signs are settled, and that they are then slowly weaned back to their normal diet.

Overall, a wide range of agents could trigger the signs we are seeing but fabric softener ingestion should have caused her to drool right after she had it. So, I'd be suspicious that is a red herring and one of the others are to blame. Therefore, we’d want to start supportive care to settle her stomach and see if we can counter this nausea (which is causing both her vomiting and anorexia). If she cannot keep that or water down at any point, appears dehydrated already, or doesn’t respond to the above within 12-24 hours; then we'd want to get her vet involved. They can assess her hydration, rule out fever, make sure there is nothing in her stomach that shouldn't be there or any sinister viruses present. Depending on their findings, your vet can treat her with injectable anti-vomiting medication, gastroprotectants (to coat the stomach/throat if there are ulcer concerns), appetite stimulants, +/- antibiotics to nip this in the bud for her.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 10 months ago.

Hello again,

How is everything with your wee one?

Dr. B.