Recently, a 3-year-old boy went missing from an area not too far from where I live. The search efforts were reported in the news. The call for help spread rapidly across social media.
The weather was atrocious, raining, cold and windy. Plus he was lost in dense bushland and as the day ended, the thought of approaching darkness filled everyone with dread.
The story did have a happy ending and the little boy was found safe and well, by a relative which was really heart-warming. Everyone gave a collective sigh of relief.
The thought of something happening to our loved ones is something none of us want to confront.
While this was about a little boy and his family, I think I can safely say that pet owners too have similar feelings of dread when a beloved family pet goes missing or is not up to par.
Himalayan Salt Lamps And Cats Warning
As much as we like to think we have everything under control, things do still happen.
Maddie Smith’s situation with her cat in New Zealand illustrates this point. To quote Maddie…
We woke up on Wednesday morning to our darling Ruby walking really strangely and had her head in an odd position as she walked.
We initially thought this was just because she was so cold so we got her nice and toasty and left for work as usual. Wednesday afternoon, Clayton arrived home from work and she had deteriorated dramatically, so we rushed her to the vets.
The vets were extremely concerned for her and could see she definitely had neurological problems because she simply could not walk properly, could not hear or see, and couldn’t even eat or drink properly because she couldn’t function her tongue the best.
Her basic senses and abilities were gone in 12 hours. She was so helpless.
So the vets ran some tests, and they were all good, no worries. Until her bloods arrived back this morning, and she had extremely high sodium levels in her blood.
So this severe salt poisoning had caused her brain to swell, and ultimately the neurological problems that followed.
The salt poisoning was caused by just your normal salt lamp that we had in our lounge, Ruby has ingested the salt by simply licking the lamp (we didn’t realise obviously).
This is usually more common in dogs so this was a huge shock, and their first case they have seen with a cat.
Salt poisoning is EXTREMELY deadly to animals and she is basically a miracle to still be here now. These salt lamps are addictive to animals, and if they get a taste it becomes just like potato chips are to us!
So please please keep these out of reach from your fur babies.
What Are Himalayan Salt Lamps?
Salt lamps are carved from Himalayan rock salt. They are hollowed out in the middle, allowing a space for a light globe or a candle to be inserted.
Salt lamps have become hugely popular in recent years as they have a range of purported health benefits. These health claims are discussed in this article.
Apart from the reported health benefits, salt lamps are popular as gifts because they emit a peaceful amber glow and thus make a lovely addition to the home.
What Could Go Wrong?
You really need to be careful when using a salt lamp if you have cats or dogs, or make sure that the lamp is somewhere that it cannot be accessed by pets.
Cats like to lick the salt, as Maddie’s cat did. This can lead to dangerous levels of salt in the blood and salt toxicity.
Is Salt Toxic To Cats?
Salt lamps and cats are not a good combination, as discussed. Most of us also use salt in our cooking without knowing that too much salt is toxic to cats.
Common Signs Of Salt Toxicity In Cats
The Pet Poison Help Line outlines the following signs of salt toxicity.
- Decreased Appetite
- Excessive Thirst Or Urination
I have made homemade playdough too many times to count, and it contains a lot of salt.
Keep the cat away from having a nibble of the playdough.
It is unlikely to happen but far better to be aware of the consequences, even if the cat totally turns up his cute nose at playdough.
This detailed list outlines what is not okay for a cat to eat and the consequences. Make a note of it for future use.
Will Salt Lamps Hurt Cats?
Cats are far more likely to be affected than dogs, as they can often access areas where the salt lamp may be placed.
If you think the salt lamp is safely tucked away on a high shelf, your cat may still be able to access that area.
When the body has a big excess of salt, the kidneys can no longer return the blood volume to normal (by excreting the excess sodium in urine). This leads to muscle and nerve dysfunction.
The brain is very sensitive to changes in salt, so the first signs of too much salt are usually neurological, as Maddie described with her cat, Ruby.
With prompt attention from the vet, as illustrated in Maddie’s situation, the cat can make a recovery.
If you suspect salt poisoning, it is necessary to get medical attention from a veterinarian immediately.
Have you got a salt lamp and did you know they could be toxic for cats?