Quiz: Holiday myths debunked

Liquid potpourri can cause serious harm to cats.
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Dec 16, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Liquid potpourriYou chose fact: Correct!

Fact: While any pet might be burned by heated oils, cats are particularly sensitive to the components called cationic detergents that are found in liquid potpourris. Birds are also highly sensitive to airborne fragrances and products such as liquid potpourri.

Threat to pets: Because it’s difficult to determine exactly how much cationic detergent is in liquid potpourris, ingestion in cats and inhalation in birds can prove deadly.

Signs: If eaten, severe burns to the mouth, esophagus, and stomach may occur. Liquid potpourri may also cause severe irritation to the skin.

Treatment: If pets come into contact with it, their fur needs to be washed with liquid hand-washing soap until all traces of the oily residue are removed.

Prognosis: Good when treated early and appropriately. It’s best if cat owners who insist on scenting their homes use safer options such as reed diffusers, plug-in air fresheners, or scented candles. Bird owners should avoid using all liquid potpourris, air fresheners, and other aerosolized products.

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