While cats need a certain amount of salt for normal bodily functions, it can be dangerous if they eat a large quantity of it. Too much salt can lead to salt toxicity in cats, so it’s best to refrain from feeding your cat high-sodium foods. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your cat healthy and safe from eating too much salt.
What Happens When Cats Eat Too Much Salt
Like all animals, cats need to consume a certain amount of sodium to maintain normal fluid balance within the body. In fact, if a cat has a sodium deficiency, they can develop hyponatremia1.
On the flip side, consuming too much salt can lead to sodium ion poisoning2. Eating salty foods alone will rarely lead to sodium ion poisoning. So, if your cat sneaks in a couple of bites of salty potato chips while you weren’t looking, they’ll most likely be fine. They may just want to drink a little more water to quench their thirst.
However, sodium ion poisoning can occur if your cat licks up table salt and other high-sodium items, such as baking soda, ice melts, and seawater. Since cats are much smaller than humans, it’ll take a small amount of salt to cause sodium ion poisoning. Consuming between 2-3 g/kg of salt can lead to toxicosis3. Consuming 4 g/kg of salt can be fatal for cats.
The most common sign that your cat has sodium ion poisoning is vomiting. They may also experience diarrhea, tremors, disorientation, seizures, and shortness of breath. You may also see some changes in your cat’s behavior, including depression and lethargy.
What to Do If Your Cat Gets Salt Poisoning
Salt poisoning can be fatal, so it’s important to act quickly and get your cat to your veterinarian or an animal emergency hospital right away. Your veterinarian will work on stabilizing your cat’s condition and monitor its vitals. They’ll examine your cat’s medical history and run some lab tests to diagnose the issue properly.
Cats with salt poisoning often receive fluid therapy to help restore their electrolyte balance and address the dehydration. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend you change your cat’s diet to reduce its sodium intake or stabilize its internal sodium levels.
In most cases, cats with salt poisoning recover well and have a good prognosis. However, if the excess sodium in their blood is caused by a different underlying issue, the journey to recovery may be drawn out longer. So, it’s important to monitor your cat’s condition during the recovery process and be vigilant in providing the correct diet and enough water. If your cat reverts back to showing signs of illness, make sure to contact your veterinarian for follow-up care instructions.
Overall, cats need balanced sodium levels in their bodies. Too little sodium can lead to inefficient bodily functioning, while too much can lead to salt poisoning. Cats that eat too much salt can get sick, so it’s important to store your table salt and other salt-based products in safe and secure spots.
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