Vodka Drip Saves Cat from Antifreeze Poisoning

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By Karen Harrison Binette

Sara and Missey


We think of alcohol as being poisonous to cats and a danger, but in some cases it can be a lifesaver.  Missey’s life was saved with vodka last week when she faced death by antifreeze poisoning.

Missey came home soaking wet after going out on Tuesday night of last week.  Her owners, Paul Stephenson, 47, and his daughter Sara, 27, of the Northern coastal community of Redcar,  UK  thought the wetness was from water, but it was not.  It was antifreeze.

Missey was extremely ill by Wednesday morning and her family rushed her to the vet, where the poisoning was confirmed.

Paul and Sara say they were shocked to learn that a vodka drip would help to break down the poison that threatened Missey’s life. The young cat was given a half liter of 39% vodka over the course of two days. The vodka made the cat drunk but it saved her life.

Sara said: “When we heard about the treatment I was just shocked. I had no idea you could even give an animal vodka.

“Missey was totally blind drunk after being fed the vodka on a drip.

“She was trying to get up and she just toppled over. Her eyes were out of focus and when we took her home in a carry basket, her mouth has pressed up against the wire so it looked as though she had her teeth bared.

“At one point she was lying down trying to swipe at a pen and she just kept missing it, she was that out of it. It was all just totally mad.”

Missey was treated at White Cross Vets in Redcar, North Yorkshire, then was moved to Vets Now in Middlesbrough, where staff monitored her condition round-the-clock.

Dr. Andrew Miller from White Cross explains that the ethanol in the vodka  neutralizes the antifreeze.

Dr. miller said: “The vodka treatment is quite unusual but is commonly used on animals who have swallowed anti-freeze. The animals are fed the vodka through a drip and they do get quite drunk.

“It is the ethanol used in this particular spirit which helps.

“Anti-freeze is extremely toxic to animal’s kidneys, and we specifically use vodka because the ethanol in it neutralizes the substance in the poison.

“Anti-freeze is life-threatening. Sadly, not all animals we have seen who have swallowed the substance make it, but if seen quickly and if they are given the vodka to react to the anti-freeze, they have a good chance of surviving.”

Missey is back at home and is being cared for by Sara as she recovers from the experience.

Sara said: “The change in her is amazing. She seems to be doing OK, although it is absolutely heartbreaking that someone could do this to an innocent little animal.

“I do not understand why anyone would go out of their way to harm Missey. She’s just a baby really, and has such a lovely temperament. You should be able to let your own cat out and not have to worry about this happening.”


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