30 May Mothballs & Your Pet
With the weather keeping us more indoors, some households are packing away summer clothes and tidying wardrobes. Be careful though if you are using mothballs with cats in the house.
Many mothballs and flakes contain naphthalene which is dangerous to cats. A little sniff or lick might cause mild self-limiting signs such as nausea, vomiting and respiratory irritation. However, ingestion may lead to severe poisoning.
Naphthalene damages red blood cells causing them to rupture – a condition known as haemolytic anaemia. Symptoms include weakness, lack of appetite, pale gums, red urine, yellowing of the skin/whites of the eyes and in severe cases collapse and possibly death. Cats are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects of naphthalene.
Where possible, try some more natural alternatives to prevent clothes moths:
✅ Clean all clothes before storing them.
✅ Store clothes that will not be used for the season in airtight containers.
✅ Open up drawers and cupboards to natural light a few times a month.
✅ Scented drawer liners/sachets made with cedar, lavender, rosemary and/or thyme scents may deter clothes moths but are less effective than other methods.
If you are concerned your cat has been poisoned, please call the Animal Poisons Centre for free advice on 1300 869 738 (from Australia) or 0800 869 738 (from New Zealand).