Some pet parents like to unwind with a glass of wine, beer, or another type of alcoholic beverage after a long day. It’s not uncommon for your glass to be sitting on the table, when up jumps your cat only to take a sip! Is it OK for a cat to drink alcohol?
Cats & Alcohol: Can be a Lethal Combination
The quick answer is no. Alcohol can make cats very sick. It’s possible to cats to become drunk; however, if they have too much alcohol, they can develop alcohol toxicity.
Cats are very sensitive to ethanol, which is the most common form of alcohol in our drinks. If your cat only takes a small lick of a drink that contains alcohol, he’ll probably be OK. The problem is if the cat has more than that. It depends on the amount of alcohol the cat has ingested and how much the cat weighs. Not only that, but cats can even absorb alcohol through their skin or via inhalation.
Another issue is that alcohol is a depressant, which acts on the central nervous system (CNS). Alcohol can also irritate a cat’s digestive system, lead to liver damage, kidney trouble and more (especially in cats that have repeat exposure to alcohol).
Symptoms of Alcohol Toxicity in Cats
You may notice these symptoms after your cat has ingested alcohol (they may show up about 15-30 minutes after the cat drank the liquid):
- Low blood pressure
- Alcoholic bad breath
In some instances, alcohol ingestion can also lead to blindness, tremors, breathing difficulties, coma, seizure and death. As you can see, this can be a very serious health issue for cats.
Treatment of Alcohol Toxicity in Cats
If you believe your cat has ingested more than a lick of alcohol, then be sure to call the vet right away. When you get to the clinic, the vet will perform a physical exam, run lab work, and more.
Treatment will depend on the severity of the cat’s symptoms and may include IV fluids, assisted ventilation, control of seizures, and more.
In most cases, the prognosis is excellent for cats who receive prompt medical treatment. However, it’s best to keep all alcohol out of your cat’s reach, never leave glasses unattended, and never give your cat an alcoholic beverage. Prevention is the best medicine—your cat will be much healthier without this deadly beverage.