Iron Poisoning Is a Household Concern in Cats

It’s in common household items like hand warmers

The season is upon us for hand and foot warmers (those packets you shake to activate, which then emit heat), but be careful with them. They can be toxic to your cat because they usually contain iron powder. Once the warmers are activated and have cooled, they are less toxic as the form of iron in the product changes. However, the little oxygen absorber packets (found in packaging to absorb moisture and oxygen) are also potentially toxic to your cat because of the iron they contain, and they are just the right size for your cat’s batting practice.

Signs of iron toxicity include gastrointestinal signs, such as vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and not eating. The irritation can lead to ulcers and scarring when the injury heals. Mild cases can be handled at home, but if your cat is caught with any of these items, a call to your veterinarian or the animal poison control centers is recommended.