If you've been on Instagram lately, you've probably seen a few Himalayan salt lamps in the backgrounds of selfies. They're all the rage recently, but vets have issued a warning to cat owners about the dangers of the trend after a cat was taking seriously ill.
Maddie Smith, from New Zealand, woke up in June to find her cat Ruby walking strangely and holding her head in an odd position. Assuming it was just a cold, they got her wrapped up and left for work. But when they returned home, her condition had gotten far worse. Ruby was now unable to hear, see, or walk. She couldn't control her tounge and was unable to eat or drink as a result.
The family rushed Ruby to First Vets, where they discovered that the cat had an extremely high level of sodium in her body.
"So this severe salt poisoning had caused her brain to swell, and ultimately the neurological problems that followed," Maddie explained in a Facebook post.
Maddie went on to explain that the problem was caused by the Himalayan salt lamp.
"The salt poisoning was caused by just your normal salt lamp that we had in our lounge," she stated. "Ruby has ingested the salt by simply licking the lamp (we didn’t realize obviously). This is usually more common in dogs so this was a huge shock, and their first case they have seen with a cat."
"Salt poisoning is EXTREMELY deadly to animals and she is basically a miracle to still be here now. These salt lamps are addictive to animals, and if they get a taste it becomes just like potato chips are to us."
Maddie went on to encourage pet owners to keep Himalayan salt lamps away from their animals and provided an update on Ruby's condition.
"Ruby still has a long road to recovery but we are so glad she’s still here with us, with the right nutrition and hydration we should have her back to normal," she wrote. "Ruby wouldn’t be here today without the help of First Vets who have helped her with every hurdle we have faced with our Ruby the past 11 months we have had her. She’s a fighter that’s for sure!"
First Vets explained further about the dangers of salt poisoning in animals:
"In general, salt poisoning in dogs and cats is usually accidental, with the most common scenario involving dogs ingesting homemade playdough! The neurological signs seen in salt poisoning cases occur due to swelling in the brain that results from a disruption in the body’s electrolyte levels."
So, if you have a Himalayan salt lamp at home, or any other source of salt, make sure to keep them out of the reach of your animals!