By Tui Benjamin
A poisoned cat who drunk deadly antifreeze escaped with all nine lives intact after a quick-thinking vet served him a shot of VODKA.
One-year-old black moggy Tipsy was discovered collapsed minutes from death in Brisbane, Australia, last Tuesday after lapping up the toxic substance.
But when the feeble feline was rushed to the city’s RSPCA Queensland animal hospital vets knew of an unusual antidote to the poisonous liquid – alcohol.
Luckily, a staff member had left a bottle of Absolut vodka from a Christmas present in the practice’s freezer and Tipsy was intravenously administered with 20ml of booze via a drip.
And amazingly, the unusual move saved the poorly pussycat’s life and he was left with no lasting damage – although he did live up to his name and get ‘off his rocker’.
Shelter vet Sarah Kanther, 35, said: “Tipsy was comatose, was having convulsions and had a very low body temperature when he came in.
“Tests showed he was suffering from antifreeze poisoning which can cause death within six hours – when he arrived he would only have had a matter of hours or minutes to live.
“Luckily we knew the antidote for antifreeze poisoning is ethanol – otherwise known as alcohol – and even more luckily we remembered we had a bottle of vodka lying around.
“It had been a leftover Christmas present someone had forgotten about and was just sitting in the freezer, so we found it and gave it to Tipsy just in time to save him.
“While he was on the drip Tipsy was absolutely off his rocker, he looked like he was having a good time.
“Afterwards he was a little bit dizzy and he woke up with a bit of a hangover but apart from that he was pretty good.
“Using alcohol as the remedy may seem strange but the science is all there and this time vodka really did save his life. He was pretty close to death but the alcohol saved him.
“Normally it does the opposite, so hopefully he won’t need rehab!”
Tipsy was discovered collapsed in a park near to a tyre store in Lowood, Brisbane, last Tuesday by an RSPCA inspector.
The comatose kitty was having convulsions and had a low body temperature – with blood tests and ultrasounds revealing he was suffering from antifreeze poisoning.
Sarah administered Tipsy with 20ml of vodka over a 12-hour period via an intravenous drip, with the booze diluted with sterilising fluid to support the moggy’s kidneys.
The IV cocktail of vodka and water worked because the enzymes in Tipsy’s body which had been trying to metabolise the antifreeze and would have caused kidney damage and eventual death instead got to work metabolising the ethanol in the vodka.
Antifreeze – also known as ethylene glycol – is extremely poisonous to cats but moggies are attracted to the substance because of the sweet taste.
Sarah said she could not be sure whether Tipsy had accidentally ingested the toxic substance or been deliberately fed food laced with the chemical in an act of cruelty.
The 35-year-old said: “It sounds unusual, but most veterinary clinics actually have a bottle of vodka on their shelf for incidents like this.
“We were very lucky we had the vodka lying around and didn’t have to go down to the bottle shop!
“It was the first time I have administered booze to a cat.
“I have seen antifreeze toxicity in cats before but it is a very fast-acting and potent toxin so you only have a very short window of time in which to get the alcohol into their body to save them.
“I would like to think it was an accident but unfortunately we just don’t know – it would be horrible to think someone had done that deliberately but you just don’t know.”
Tipsy is now recovering in a temporary foster home before he can be neutered and put up for adoption to find a permanent new family.
Blood tests revealed his kidney enzymes had returned to normal within days and he has luckily been left with no permanent damage.
Staff at the animal hospital did not know his real name as he was a stray but said his new moniker couldn’t be any more perfect.
Sarah said: “Tipsy was a stray so we didn’t know his original name when he came in, but Tipsy did seem to suit him at the time.
“He is the most chilled out, relaxed cat I have ever come across, he is doing really well.
“He is a very lucky little cat, a little fighter and will definitely be looking for a permanent home in future.”