It was an unusual choice of watering hole that saw one of Willow the cat’s nine lives go down the pan.
The one-year-old moggy was feline a little flushed, after she was poisoned by a freshener block in a toilet.
Owner Amelia MacFarlane, 41, from Leith, had only recently adopted Willow when she came home to find the cat in a very distressing state.
“She was foaming and drooling at the mouth, her tongue was red and she wasn’t herself. She was so bad, we really thought we were going to lose her.”
Amelia phoned the PDSA’s Edinburgh Pet Aid Hospital, who advised her to rush Willow to the vet. As she was leaving, she noticed the toilet seat – usually kept closed – was open.
“Willow’s an adventurous cat and she likes to play with water – she’ll play in the shower, play in the toilet,” said Amelia.
“I’d put one of those blue block fresheners in the toilet and the lid was up. She must have licked it.
“When I looked in the bowl I could see her paw prints.”
After the vet carried out an examination of Willow, Amelia was told it was a case of suspected poisoning.
The miserable moggy was immediately given medication to relieve any discomfort and was put on fluids to flush the poisons out of her system.
The next morning, tests confirmed that Willow was well enough to go home, although it took her a few days to fully recover.
Luckily, there was no permanent damage and Willow’s passion for playing with water remains intact.
Amelia, who is delighted that Willow has recovered to full health, is now taking precautions to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“I don’t use any products like that in the bathroom now and the door is always closed.
“I just didn’t expect cats to go near water. I have two other cats and they don’t like water at all.”
The veterinary surgeon who treated Willow, Graeme Eckford, said cats poisoning themselves by consuming cleaning products was a “big problem”.
“We saw two cases a month over the last 12 months in the Edinburgh and Lothians area,” he said.
“Cats tend to be drawn towards certain things because they have different tastes.
“Lots of cats go for antifreeze, which tastes very sweet, and different kinds of cleaning products.”
He added: “Drinking out of toilets is quite a common thing for cats to do.
“All cats have different preferences to the bowls they drink water out of, and some only like to drink out of porcelain.
“The toilet will be particularly inviting if it has just been flushed and the water is clean and cool.”
Poisonous to felines
Using the incorrect flea treatment: Cats can be poisoned if owners use the wrong flea treatment. Those designed to be used on dogs can contain permethrin, a chemical toxic to cats.
Eating human medications: Around 25 per cent of cases in which cats consume paracetamol prove fatal.
Antifreeze: Can contain a range of toxic chemicals including ethylene glycol, which has a taste often irresistible to cats and dogs but can cause fatal side-effects.
lillies: Cats may be poisoned by lilies by eating any part of the plant or flower.