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What Should You Do if Your Cat Ate Silica Gel?

If your cat accidentally ate silica gel, you should contact your veterinarian or animal poison control center as soon as you can. Your cat may suffer from gastrointestinal issues varying from a mild case of diarrhea to severe problems like intestinal blockages.

While clear silica gel is not outright toxic to humans or pets, if your cat ate the entire package, it could pose a choking hazard or gastrointestinal threat, that’s why you should watch your cat closely to ensure they don’t have any problems.

What Should You Do if Your Cat Eats a Silica Packet?

The most important thing you can do here is to stay calm. If your cat ate a drying agent, try to see if you can entice your cat to rest and drink fluids. The silica gel will most likely pass through their stool.

Watch your cat for any intestinal problems like gas, diarrhea, constipation, or bleeding. These symptoms may be a sign of a digestive obstruction. Contact your vet as soon as possible to get further advice.

What Should You Do if Your Cat Ate a Dyed Silica Gel?

While transparent silica is non-toxic, other silica forms, like the kind you can find in some cat litters, can be harmful to your pet and you. It all depends on the dyes used. For instance, blue silica has a cobalt chloride coating, a suspected carcinogen, meaning that it is very toxic. It is also an eye and respiratory tract irritant and can sensitize the skin.

When ingested, the blue coating on the silica gel can attack your cat’s:

  • Blood
  • Liver
  • Thyroid
  • Lungs
  • Connective tissue

And it also can cause:

  • Inhalation problems
  • Allergic response
  • Mild hypotension
  • Blood disorders
  • Liver damage
  • Thyroid damage

Another dangerous silica gel is the green one because it contains a methyl violet coating, which is also harmful if swallowed. This type of dye is a potential carcinogen. It is also very toxic and can cause problems if ingested, inhaled, or if it gets in the eye

Inhalation or ingestion may cause:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Make sure that your cat does not ingest silica gels, especially ones that are not clear. A cat can eat only the transparent form of silica in small quantities with little consequence.

However, if your pet has consumed colored silica, let the veterinarian know so they can take the necessary action.

What Happens if a Cat Eats Silica Gel?

If your cat doesn’t choke with the packaging, the silica gel will likely pass right through his gastrointestinal system.

Since this material isn’t easily absorbed by the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, you will probably find it in their poop a few days later.

Nonetheless, if your cat ate silica gel beads, they may draw moisture into the GI tract causing vomit or diarrhea, so be vigilant to ensure your cat will be okay.

Dry Mouth

Your cat may get a dry mouth if they have eaten a freshness packet. The symptoms of dry mouth are saliva that is very thick and goopy.

They may also have bad breath and possibly a dry and cracked tongue. Their oral mucous membranes and tissues may become inflamed or infected.

The feline may also have difficulty chewing or swallowing. If your cat has a dry mouth, offer foods with a high-water content. You can also get your veterinarian to prescribe mouthwash, which is specifically designed for your cat. Brushing their teeth may also help.

Abdominal Discomfort

Due to the silica gel passing through the intestinal tract, your cat may feel some abdominal discomfort.

The cat may not enjoy being picked up, especially around the abdomen. The feline might also not want to be touched on the stomach and may appear lethargic. Other symptoms may include a decrease in their appetite, along with vomiting and diarrhea.

Try not to handle your cat as much, and contact your vet. Abdominal discomfort may be symptomatic of a worse condition like an intestinal blockage.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea occurs when a cat has loose bowel movements that increase in frequency and amount. Fecal matter passes quickly through the intestine, causing a decreased absorption of water, nutrients, and electrolytes. It often involves inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract.

If your cat has diarrhea, try your best to encourage your feline to drink more water and electrolytes. Make sure their bowls of water are regularly topped up and even leave some diluted chicken or beef broth out to increase your cat’s fluid intake.

If the condition persists, you can even try probiotics or anti-diarrheal medications, so your cat’s delicate GI tract returns to normal.

Choking

If your cat ate a silica gel packet, one of the major problems that may arise is choking. Choking occurs when your feline has the pack stuck in its throat.

There are two steps you can take if your cat is choking. The first is to try to remove the obstruction with your finger. Open the cat’s mouth gently and sweep the back of the kitty’s throat with a finger. Make sure you look into the mouth so you don’t accidentally push the blockage further down the cat’s throat.

If you cannot see anything blocking the passage, and the cat is still choking, move onto the cat Heimlich maneuver. Hold your kitty with their back against your chest. Let their legs hang down and then push on their belly with five upward thrusts. If the packet is still lodged in the throat, hang the cat with head down and back hips up.

Pat your cat’s back firmly and sweep the mouth again. If this dislodges the packet, take your cat to the vet for a follow-up.

Intestinal Blockage

Not only is it harmful, but intestinal blockages in cats can quickly become life-threatening if not caught right away. Intestinal blockages occur when a material has lodged into the intestines or stomach, forming a hard lump that is hard for an animal to pass through their digestive system.

When a cat has a GI obstruction, it will become weaker as the flow of nutrients stops and may lead to death.

If your cat ate a silica bag you can spot a blockage by looking out for the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Refusing to eat
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Swelling of the abdomen
  • Lower body temperature
  • Crying
  • Refuses to lie down

If your cat ate a silica gel packet and he or she requires a trip to the vet, there are several actions your veterinarian may do.

If your cat becomes dehydrated, they may use intravenous fluids to rehydrate him. They may also use medications like laxatives to help pass the blockage.

There are also more intensive treatments like an endoscopy, which is where they put a little camera down your cat’s throat to check the stomach for obstructions. They may also complete an x-ray or ultrasound. And, if they find a blockage, they may even have to perform surgery.

What If Your Cat Ate a Deoxidizer Packet?

Commonly confused with silica gel packets, deoxidizers contain different materials and are used to remove oxygen. They are used to prevent mold, mildew, rust, and staleness in products. They have activated charcoal and carbon in them, as well as a lot of iron.

If eaten, your cat’s stool will be darker, and if your kitty ingests the package, here too, it can cause an intestinal obstruction.

Is a Deoxidizer Packet Dangerous to Your Cat?

Like silica baggies, deoxidizers are usually found in product packaging. Deoxidizer packets are more dangerous to your furry friend than a silica gel packet.

The high iron level in these packets can be toxic to your pet. However, once oxygen gets to these packages, the iron is oxidized and becomes less harmful. If the iron is inert, it will not cause significant toxicity to your cat. On the other hand, iron-based oxygen absorbers can contain almost 50% elemental iron.

And, if the iron does not oxidize by exposure to the air, it can pose a severe threat to your cat. One of these significant threats is toxicosis, which is iron poisoning in your feline. If your cat has ingested less than 20 mg per kilogram of iron, it will be unlikely to suffer from toxicosis.

However, between 20-60 mg/kg of iron may cause your cat to have gastrointestinal issues. Over 60 mg/kg of elemental iron may cause GI hemorrhaging, metabolic acidosis (meaning the blood pH is acidic), and elevated liver enzymes.

Which can indicate inflammation or damage to the cells in your cat’s liver. If a cat ate an oxidizer with over 100 mg/kg of iron, it could result in death.

Are Silica Packets Toxic to Cats?

No, silica gel packets are non-toxic. According to the ASPCA, the consumption of a single silica gel packet required little treatment to recover. In many cases, most cats recover from eating silica gel with no treatment at all.

When you bring new products home, put silica gel packets and oxygen reducer packs in the trash. Keep them off the floor and other places where your fur baby may get to them. If your cat has eaten the entire package, make sure it is not choking.

Watch for signs or symptoms of blockages and poisoning, and be sure to call your vet to find out what the next steps are for you to take.