International Cat Care once again raises the issue of accidental permethrin poisoning and launches a new campaign to warn cat owners about the dangers of using dog flea products.

International Cat Care is once again raising the issue of accidental permethrin poisoning. The charity has launched a new campaign to warn cat owners about the dangers of using dog flea products, and is urging veterinary practices and pet retailers to get involved.

Cat on dripAccording to International Cat Care – formerly the Feline Advisory Bureau – reports show that the inappropriate use of dog products is the most common cause of poisoning of cats in many countries, simply because products are so freely available and nobody thinks that a drop of a dog product could kill their cat.

This means cats are still dying unnecessarily, the charity claims.
With this in mind, International Cat Care is demanding that dog spot-on flea products containing permethrin should not be available without verbal advice at the point of sale. This would require the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to recategorise the product from AVM-GSL to NFA-VPS, meaning they could only be purchased if there is someone in the shop who is suitably qualified to speak to and advise the buyer, rather than purchased “off the shelf”.

Further, the charity is asking the pet trade to voluntarily class these dog spot-on products containing permethrin as NFA-VPS and to provide advice to their customers accordingly – something that Pets at Home is already working on.

Kill the Flea posterMaeve Moorcroft, head of pets at Pets at Home, said: “We are introducing prompts at our tills so that customers are asked during the checkout process if they are aware of the risk to cats in the home when purchasing a permethrin based spot-on dog flea treatment, and also advised to wait at least 72 hours after treating the dog before the dog and cat can come into close contact.”

The charity is also urging veterinary practices to ensure that adequate warnings are given if concentrated permethrin-containing spot-on products are prescribed and dispensed for use on dogs, including when owners come in for repeat prescriptions in case a cat has recently been added to the home.

ICC veterinary director Andy Sparkes is also urging veterinary practices to report all adverse reactions to permethrin to the VMD.

Dr Sparkes explained: “Many practices see permethrin poisoning in cats several times a year but do not contact the VMD because the product is not a POM or they feel that the directorate already knows about the problem. We feel strongly that the problem is greatly under-reported. Nothing will be done unless the full extent of the problem is realised by the VMD, so please report each one by going on the website at”

He also urged practice staff to support the campaign to see permethrin-based flea products reclassified as NFA-VPS. He said: “These cat deaths are totally preventable – please sign our petition at to change the categorisation.”

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