View Full Version : Did I poison my cats with paint water?

01-11-2010, 04:28 PM
...and if so, let this serve as a WARNING for other pet-owners!

I just lost my two cats - the 16-year-old just before Christmas, and now my 9-year-old on Friday. I'm wondering if their deaths may have been hastened by them drinking out of my dirty watercolor water.

I just heard about the poisonous properties of cadmium during a demonstration this weekend that I attended! I do use some cadmium colors in my pallette. I only started painting about 2 years ago. The cats loved to sit on my table with me, and would sometimes drink out of the container I used to rinse out my brushes.

The older cat had other health issues, so we just figured he'd come to the end of a nice long life. But the younger one started getting these strange bumps on her body back in November, and wasn't eating well; so we took her to the vet. The vet was unsure if the lumps were skin cancer, and discovered the cat's teeth were very bad, as well. Surgery was recommended to fix exposed roots and infections in her gums, and while undergoing that, the vet would take off one of the lumps and send it in for biopsy.

Well, our poor little kitty's heart stopped as she was coming out of the anesthesia; the vet was able to revive her, but she died about 2 hours after coming home. I don't know if the vet will continue with the tests on the biopsied lump since the patient is now off on her Next Great Adventure, so the results won't matter.

Anyway, now I'm kicking myself for not keeping the paint water covered at all times. I will certainly do that from now on.

I'm asking that if anyone reading this has pets that like to hang out on their painting areas to please watch what they drink out of. Just in case.

01-11-2010, 05:52 PM
I doubt it was the water that was responsible. I don't think you should blame yourself either. I've drunk the stuff instead of my coffee, had cadmium oil paint in my mouth and I'm still here and cats are resilient little things.

Sorry to hear you lost them.

01-11-2010, 11:00 PM
Oh dear. :( I'm so sorry about your kitties!

01-11-2010, 11:01 PM
Oh - so sorry to hear about your cats. That's very sad. I'm in the early stages of learning about studio safety so I don't know about your question.

01-11-2010, 11:24 PM
lol i dont think it had anythign to do with that. I drank it before instead of
my beer next to it and chugged it down. im sure it wasnt that

loft artist
01-12-2010, 07:36 AM
Could be someone in the neighbourhood that just doesn't like cats and poisoned them , unfortunately this does happen ,
sadly ....move on get another pet it will help the greiving process along


01-12-2010, 08:20 AM
I love my cats, they cuddle with me all the time, so sorry for your loss. I know what they can mean and do for our daily lives. I don't have any expertise in paint toxicity, so I wouldn't know. Keeping lids on the paint water can't hurt and is not too much trouble.
My first to cats died when they were 8 and in the same year for completely unrelated reasons, so in your case it still may be the laws of bad luck/coincidence.
You must have had a terrible Christmas, so sorry. Hope things will smooth out for you soon.

01-12-2010, 12:13 PM
I'm sorry about your cats. Don't blame yourself. But I think you should ask the vet if, just to make sure it's safe.

01-12-2010, 03:20 PM
Please don't blame yourself about your two kitties deaths. It is SO unlikely that it is related to watercolor water. My dad who is also an artist had a cat that always drank from his watercolor water and she lived to 22!! So I would think it was just bad luck. I am very sorry to hear of your losses, it's hard. We have 4 cats and a dog, they are my little fur kids. I always keep my paints up high and water empty when I am not using it. Though even with this cation accidents happen, my dog a little pug found a tube of payes gray acrylic and opened it and got it all over himself and the carpet. Luckily most acrylics are not toxic. I have NO idea how he got ahold of it but I am very happy he is ok. So just in the future with pets don't let them have the water just as a precaution even if it should be fine. I hope you get a new furry friend when you are ready.

01-12-2010, 03:20 PM
sorry double post :-S

01-12-2010, 08:44 PM
I had to quit using oils because they dried too slowly and my works all had cat paw prints in them! One of my cats, a kitten then, managed to demonstate in a newly painted and awaiting sale condo that cats who have stepped in paint can defy all the laws of gravity!
I am so very sorry for your loss as I am a great lover of cats but I doubt you had anything to do with their early demise! I just doubt there is enough cadmium in the rinse off of watercolors to cause great damage.
On the positive note, there are so many deserving cats now needing a loving home...... you have the golden opportunity to be a hero to a cat... or three.

01-12-2010, 09:04 PM
So sorry about your darling cats! I have a beautiful Ragdoll cat who absolutely loves drinking my watercolour water too. She has luckily not been unwell with it, but I will heed your advice and cover the bottle. You should talk to your vet anyway as he may be able to put your mind to rest that it wasn't your fault. I hope you feel better soon.

01-13-2010, 11:06 AM
I doubt that you poisoned your cats. I used to work with a vet and cats are prone to cancers, gum disease, and many other ailments just as humans are. I have many plants that thrive on watercolour rinse water. A few sips of the stuff probably doesn't have a high enough concentration of anything to pose a health risk. I wouldn't recomend a steady diet of paint, but rinse water should be ok.

It is sad when cats die, especially when they go together. You have my sympathies on your loss.

You have made me wonder about the cadmium red pigment in my tattoos though...

01-14-2010, 11:59 AM
I wanted to comment on this thread. I had two dogs, they both died within weeks apart from each other. My oldest dog was 13, yet she outlived my other dog that was 6 years old. Now, my 6 years old, she was a Beagle, she became paralyzed, and we had to put her to sleep because she had no way to recover from her back injury and she was in pain. Now, two weeks after that, my Husky, the 13 year old dog, quit, gave up food/water, would not function or move, all she would do was to lay on the floor and not move. We knew it was time, she was letting us it was time for her to go home and be reunited with my Beagle. So, I truly believe that, when two animals, dogs/cats have this STRONG bond, they help each other, they are there for each other, but when one is gone, the other slowly starts to slow down and etc.
Please don't blame yourself. It was possibly the same reason how your cats passed on just like my two dogs did. I know it is difficult, believe me, I had a very hard time dealing with losing my two dogs just in one month and I loved them, and I couldn't be home for them since this happened during my last year in college.

01-15-2010, 12:54 AM
I have a Scottish Fold cat (big square head, with tiny, folded down ears).
I found him one afternoon all covered with bright red stuff, I though it was blood. Turns out he had laid on my wet palette and was covered in cadmium red watercolour paint. He had licked off lots of it before I found him and washed him.
He pooped red for several days, but he didn't get sick, so I think probably it was not the paint that made your cats sick.
I am so sorry that you lost your cats and I agree with everyone who says to get another cat to help you paint.