When Your Pet Has Been Exposed To Chemicals In Cleaning Products

I could not get in touch with my mobile vet, and as you know I was worried about Gracie’s behavior and the oddness of her movements. Yesterday I found out that the vet is on vacation.

Gracie’s odd behavior did not improve. Around noon yesterday, I began calling pet ERs. There were no walk-in places that I could take her to, I learned, and the only appointment at a pet ER I could get was at 4 p.m.

I figured I was going to need help if I could find it.

In when your pet has been exposed to chemicals in cleaning products, which happened with my cat Gracie

Kendra was moving all her yard and garage stuff to the new house, which she is moving into fully on Friday. She said to call Kasi. So I did.

Kasi came and helped me get Gracie out of where she was hiding. I had closed the door to my bedroom because she tends to hide under the bed between the bed storage boxes.

But I couldn’t close the door to the other bedroom because their litter boxes are in that closet. Also in that closet is the stackable washer/dryer, and Gracie had wedged herself behind that.

Trip To The Pet ER:

Lucky for us the pet ER was just a few miles away. Gracie was seen by the kindest male veterinarian. You could tell he loved cats. He said he was a cat and horse person. He gave her lots of attention and examined her thoroughly.

And he determined that she had chemical poisoning at some level. They pumped her full of fluids because she was dehydrated and he gave her some sort of shot.

He said he had to be cautious about giving her anything else because he didn’t know what she’d been exposed to.

So you’re now wondering: How on earth did Gracie get exposed to chemicals?

Remember last week when I said I didn’t think I could do it all and that I might need help?

House Cleaning Services:

I began the process of calling house cleaning services, and finally found one that wasn’t booked through April.

The business was Google guaranteed and that gave me some measure of trust.

The woman was Hispanic and said there would be two women who would clean my apartment.

I figured one of them would be her. But I was wrong.

Gracie on the carpet in the living room

I stressed to her that I have two cats and they are my priority. Thus, there were to be no chemicals in cleaning my home.

I asked what cleaning products she used and she said Dawn and something else I couldn’t understand, even though I asked her to repeat it three times.

I was too embarrassed to keep asking her what she said, and that is my own fault.

I’m pretty sure I saw a can of Lysol in one of the women’s hands at one point through the glass.

The price was $149.00. I thought that was kind of high, but I haven’t had house cleaning services in many years. I called around to other house cleaning businesses and was told that was actually pretty cheap. So I booked them.

They came on Thursday afternoon. The woman talked to the other two women in Spanish, and then she left.

I didn’t know this was going to be the way it worked. That left me with no way to communicate with them.

They were here for a total of 45 minutes. I had already given the boss lady the check because she wasn’t coming back.

After My Apartment Was Cleaned:

But there was no way I could have known what was going to happen in the next 24-36 hours.

I handed the cleaning lady boss who could speak English $149.00 a check for what turned out to be 45 minutes of house cleaning.

Then I paid a whole lot more to get Gracie taken care of at the ER vet. The bill there came to $225.45.

We brought Gracie home and she ran and hid again. She still, as far as I can tell, isn’t drinking or eating. But I can’t be sure because their food and water are in the kitchen and the couch blocks my view from my chair.

In when your pet has been exposed to chemicals in cleaning products, here is a photo of Gracie my cat

Administering Fluids:

The vet said the fluids he administered would just have to work whatever it was out of her system.

Being a cat mama, I felt absolutely terrible. Whatever it was didn’t seem to bother Ivy, but she weighs over 14 pounds. They weighed Gracie and she weighs 7 pounds.

I knew once the house cleaners left (I sat and waited on my patio) that my eyes began to itch. I figured that was just from dust, as I’m pretty allergic to dust. The itching went on through the night.

Gracie was not wanting to be petted when I was reading Thursday evening, which was odd. Usually, she’s all over me. But sometimes she prefers to nap under the bed, so I let that go.

It was Friday before I began to figure out that something could be wrong. I began trying to get in touch with my vet. I wasn’t getting any reply from her and by Saturday her assistant told me that she is on vacation.

Last Night:

Gracie did not come out all evening yesterday after we brought her home. I left her alone. Just peeked under the bed from time to time to make sure she was all right.

During the night I reached out my hand from time to time and realized that she was sleeping on my bed. But she did not come up to me to be petted and rub her head against me as she normally does during the night.

Gracie has been wandering around the apartment a bit this morning, but she is skittish. It took me quite a while to get her to trust me and I hope now that she won’t regress.

She is no longer exhibiting the symptoms I mentioned yesterday.

This Is My Message To You:

Be very careful with chemicals or toxic plants around pets. If someone is cleaning your home, be absolutely sure what cleaning products they are using.

Or purchase the safe-for-pets cleaning products yourself.

I will now be using my next-door neighbor’s housekeeper who comes twice a month. Her price is $60, which is significantly lower than $149.00. I wish I’d known about her before all this happened, but obviously, I didn’t.

She will be coming to clean my apartment after she cleans my neighbor’s apartment.

Google Guaranteed Businesses:

After we got home yesterday, I Googled Tulsa house cleaning businesses. I wanted to figure out just where I had found out about this business because at that point I’d forgotten.

I thought I had glimpsed a mention that this business was a Google guaranteed business, and I was right.

Once I made sure of this and read the Google policy, I called the business owner and told her not to cash my check. Or I’d let Google know what happened.

She began to ask me questions, as though attempting to blame what happened on something else. I cut her off because I was tired and just didn’t want to go there, and said I’d notify Google.

She quickly agreed not to cash the check. I knew it hadn’t gone through my bank yet because I check transactions online several times a day.

Gracie sitting behind my couch

If she hadn’t agreed, Google would have been involved in this. I don’t know how you become a Google-guaranteed business, but I’m sure she doesn’t want any problem with them.

The business had five stars and I read their reviews before calling them. So I thought that was being fairly thorough.

I too have learned from this experience and will be even more cautious when purchasing cleaning products or making my own.

What Is A Google Guaranteed Business (I Checked):

Google Guarantee is a verification service designed to support local businesses and prevent fraudulent services. The Google Guaranteed badge is given to businesses that pass Google’s screening and qualification process.

If You Have A Pet, You Might Want To Read:

How Long Before A Cat Show Symptoms Of Poisoning?

Once a cat ingests or comes in contact with a toxin, symptoms may not show up right away. Some toxins may take 3 to 4 days to show any effects.


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  1. I haven’t read all the comments, so this may be a repeat…I’d strongly encourage you to file a complaint through Google anyway—this business doesn’t deserve 5 stars! And you could help prevent this from happening to someone else.

  2. Whenever in the market for a cleaning service, best to provide the products yourself. Just purchase the physical cleaning help. Make sure when negotiating the service you make sure this is clear. Better to have no surprises when it comes to the introduction of chemicals into your living space.

  3. I’m so glad you were able to get help for Gracie, and deal with Google to make sure they didn’t cash the check. For point of comparison, I have a large house in NJ, and I pay $125. There are usually 2 people cleaning, and they are there for 2-3 hours. In my Florida apartment, which is about 1100 sq ft, I pay $85 (a lot compared to my house!). Three people come and it takes about an hour. It’s so stressful when a pet is sick and they can’t tell you what’s wrong. We just had an incident with my dog, but thankfully, she is doing well.

  4. God bless you for paying attention and getting her to the doctor!
    My Bella got a skin reaction from having my carpet cleaned,she lost her fur near her tail,she got a cortisone shot and an antibiotic and a Benadryl type med,took about a week for she improved.
    When stain master carpet first came out,a guy my husband knew had a carpet cleaning company come to do a house full of wall to wall carpet,well their chemicals,interacted with the stain master stuff and their dog died,some of the family members sustained lung damage and the house actually had to be torn down as it was so toxic!!!! Crazy…

    1. Also, carpeting as a whole, is made/manufactured with a zillion chemicals. Why most people today do not have carpeting. It’s dangerous. Especially of a person already has allergies. Then, when soiled, all you can do is use more harsh chemicals on the carpet.
      Thank goodness I stopped purchasing years and years ago. We have natural wood floors. Use all cotton rugs, and launder in any washing machine.
      Works out real nice.

    2. Wow. So sad.
      Many of these places deny using chemicals in cleaning.
      All lies.
      More than likely, our sweet pup 🐶 Nikki became very very ill after our house was treated for bugs. In those days common for these periodic cleaning.
      Eventually, Nikki had cancer. It was very serious. We tried to keep her as happy as we could for almost a year.
      Finally, had to put Nikki to sleep. She was just too ill.
      I think about her all the time.
      Unnecessary suffering, and death.

  5. I hope Gracie continues to mend and do well!! Glad you were able to find someone to see her that was good. You know, if something bothers your pet, seems logical whatever it was, could bother you as well…we live in an awfully chemical world!!

  6. I am so relieved that Gracie is now OK. Very scary what you went through with her. You could always buy or make your own non-toxic cleaning products and have your new cleaning lady use those, instead of “trusting” what she brings with her.

    $149 for cleaning a 2 bedroom apt seems really high, especially when it only took them 45 min. $60 is reasonable.

  7. I’m so thankful to hear Gracie is doing much better! Thank you for updating us. I know we were all very worried about her. If vinegar and baking soda can be harmful, what is safe to use around pets?

  8. Glad you were vigilant about Gracie’s health. We had to put our sweet dog Kaia down this past week. We had her to the vet 3 weeks ago and the vet more or less dismissed her symptoms. She spent the night at the emergency vet with renal failure with no improvement. Our faces were the last thing she saw as I told her to lay her little head down and go to sleep like we told her every night.As hard as it was we felt It was a final act of love to stop her pain. Renal failure in dogs can be caused by pesticides in the environment. Of course, we will never know what caused her renal failure and we wiped her feel every time she came in when we visited our daughters condo where they spray pesticides. We take our shoes off because you never know what you have stepped in. Our grandsons eat organically grown fruits and veggies. You can never be too careful. I hope your Gracie continues to improve.

    1. I’m so sorry I missed this comment. I’m crying as I read this because of the gentle and thoughtful way you told her to lay her little head down and go to sleep. What a wonderful pet mother you are. Being the last faces she saw, I’m sure she was more relaxed and it was an easier process. So very sorry for your loss.

  9. Brenda,
    I’m so relieved that you got a vet to see Gracie. You are such a caring cat “mama” with your “girls.” I have been praying a lot lately for friends and their pets and the horror that is being inflicted on the Ukrainian people. Every once in a while I reread some of your posts regarding Abi and Charlie. Can’t read two sentences about them without waterworks! It reminds me of my late “Travis”, a French Brittany that I raised from 6 weeks old. He died in 2018, a few weeks short of his 16th B’day. My husband and I adopted a rescue Brittany in early March of 2020; Lucy was born with a defective hip and has just turned 2 yrs Jan. 20th. She is spunky and smart and we’re so glad to have her. She’s got a ton of energy and sometimes my 70 yr old legs are just plain exhausted trying to keep up with her! When she snuggles in-between my husband and I, on the couch, She lays her head on his thigh and her feet on my lap. As if to make sure we don’t go any where!
    I’m hoping your new ankle contraption can be the answer to your pain.
    Prayers to you and yours

  10. I am so glad Gracie is getting better! I have asthma and have to be careful with cleaning products too.

    1. I told the woman I have asthma issues and that was another reason not to use chemicals aside from not exposing my kitties.

    2. I remembered that I also changed yard companies because of my cats Sam & Millie (they have been gone about 3 years now). They were indoor cats but loved to go out in the yard when I was with them. They were afraid of noises so ran to the back door anytime a car came down the alley & since they were declawed before I got them, they didn’t try to escape the fence.

      Millie would hunt for the tallest blade of grass to eat and Sam loved to roll in the grass. So I went organic for their sakes. They didn’t get sick but I had just read about some of the yard chemicals and cats. Organics are more expensive but the cats were more important to me.

      I did attempt to wipe them down when pollen was high so that wasn’t coming inside either. I started keeping a pair of clogs by the door so I wasn’t tracking in anything either. My sister laughed until she got a small dog and discovered he’s allergic to some household cleaners too.

      My cat Sophie used to be an indoor/outdoor cat before she adopted me but I don’t let her outside because of her claws and the 1st time I let her in the back yard she tried to escape over the fence. Now she may dart out for a few feet, freezes and I can capture her and back in the house she goes.

      I try to be a lot more careful these days. Thank you for addressing the issue as it is something we don’t always think about.

  11. So glad you were able to get help for Gracie. I hope she won’t have any lasting effects and fully recovers. What a scary experience for you.

    I hope the new cleaning person works out much better.

    1. Well, surely it can’t be worse. Steve from next-door loves her and she’s cleaned with them (now him) since they moved here.

      1. Wow. That is really strange. Wondering what they use to clean the neighbors apartment?
        Wanted to mention Brenda, hopefully Gracie is not allergic to any carpet in the apartment. You have to really examine everything. Just to be sure.
        Very glad 😊 Gracie is much better now.
        You did so marvelous by taking Gracie to a vet.
        The bestest kitty-mommy!! 💓

  12. I’m so glad Gracie is on the mend. We love our furbabies so much; we can’t help but fret when things aren’t “normal”.
    Just give her lots of love.

  13. Hope Gracie is better soon…how very scary for you..we had company today so just reading your blog now..So glad you found a vet to see you..bless you and those babies 💕

    1. I haven’t seen her eating or drinking yet. Maybe she’s drinking from the water drip Ivy must have in the two bathrooms. If you don’t leave the spigots in the tub dripping, Ivy rushes in when you go to the bathroom and jumps up on the side of the tub to remind you. She’s pretty resourceful.

  14. Is it possible Gracie got into your house plants? I have noticed a few plants in your photos, such as a peace lily, that are highly toxic to cats. I’ve been a cat mommy for over 60 years, since I was a little girl, and know how beyond precious and important they are to us.

    1. She can’t get to that peace lily. It’s in the bedroom in the beverage tub and I made sure she couldn’t get on a piece of furniture to reach it. The others are up where she can’t get to them. The only plant she can get to is the prayer plant, and it isn’t toxic. She will go over and sniff it, but has left the leaves on it alone.

    2. Thanks for your comment. I did not know that a peace lily was toxic to cats. I used to have one for years and have wanted another but now that plan is out. I have a cat who is not very smart and she would probably taste it.

  15. Thank you so much for updating us about Gracie. I know how you feel about the cleaning products and plants. I lost a cat after he ate a piece of wild onion while on his walk one day. It broke my heart I felt it was my fault. I did not realize those were toxic for him. I am proud you are a pet mommy that loves her babies and takes care of them. Love your blog and hope to see many more!!

  16. So glad you were able to get Gracie to a kind and capable vet who can now be another backup. It’s so upsetting when our fur babies don’t feel well. I’ve found that most “eco-friendly” products that aren’t tested on animals are safer to use around them, though you always have to check. I also opt for unscented. Cats hate the smell of citrus. I’m sure Gracie will be back to her old snuggly self before long. She just needs to recuperate from her stressful ordeal…as do you. Relax and enjoy the afternoon knowing you were able to get your furry little girl cared for. By the way, have you considered using the guest bathroom for their litter boxes, thus freeing up a closet? Or maybe you have enough closet space anyway.

  17. Glad that Gracie seems to be getting better. What a relief. I would either look at the new house cleaner’s products before she starts and/or tell her she can only use what you supply and nothing else. Your house, your rules.

  18. I am so glad you found a competent ER vet. I know you will watch her closely. I wonder what it was exactly that made her sick or was it just the breathing of fumes?

    Using the neighbor’s cleaning lady is a great idea. And much more reasonable. I think you will
    Be happy with her. Plus you know the money goes to her directly. This was very informative today Brenda. Thank you so much.

    1. I’m just glad I got some to see Gracie. I called quite a few places and only a few in town were pet ERs. My neighbor really likes his cleaning lady.

  19. Thrilled to hear Gracie is on the mend! Also good to hear that your experience with the ER vet was a good one.
    Happy Spring Equinox! Hoping it marks a positive turning point for all.

    1. Thanks. Yes, he was very thorough and explained things well. He kept telling Gracie how beautiful she was and she was calm with him.

    1. Believe me, I will be even more emphatic than I was with this last one. I have talked to her, so I know she speaks English.

  20. Oh (((GRACIE)))! I am so sorry the two of you have had this awful experience. Bless you for being a diligent cat mama and going to any lengths!!

    1. Live and learn I guess. I stayed on the patio in a chair thinking I was “kind of” supervising. But that isn’t enough, I learned. When you’re dealing with someone who doesn’t speak your language, you’re already at a disadvantage.

  21. So very fortunate you were able to get Gracie into the pet ER and that she seems to be doing better. I’m glad you called the cleaning company and stopped them from cashing your check. They should be reported to Google regardless for lying about the products they use to prevent this from happening to someone else. Thank you for the additional research you provided at the end of your post. Praying that Gracie continues to do better and is back to herself in no time.

    1. When I started reading info I myself did not know and was even surprised about, I knew I should share it. For instance, I thought that household cleaners were perfectly safe, but I learned that that is not always the case.

  22. Honestly, we think we are doing something to make life simpler and end up with a boatload of problems. This happens unfortunately often. I’m glad you were able to have Gracie seen by the nice vet. Hope she (and you) feel better today. As for Google, …….not where I’d place much trust.

    1. I placed more trust in the five stars and the reviews than Google. But when Google backs the business, they are the ones that may have to pay if something goes wrong. They are essentially endorsing the business.

  23. So sorry you and Gracie had to go through that. If your money isn’t refunded, beside Google, the business may also be listed on Yelp, and you can leave an honest review there. By using chemicals, they didn’t provide the service you had requested. I hope Gracie is back to her old (young) self soon.

    1. I think she’s just hiding out because that is her nature when she is frightened. When she does come out from wherever she’s hiding, Ivy walks around her at a distance very slowly. I think it’s because Gracie still has the scent of the vet ER on her.

  24. i cleaned my neighbors house the other day. I knew she had breathing problems so I bought a gallon bottle of cleaning vinegar to use. I was amazed how well the vinegar worked. It cleaned years of filth from her walls and windows and ceiling fan. I plan on going back next week to clean her floors and will use vinegar again. I will be using vinegar from now on.

    1. I use a spray bottle of vinegar and water. I was surprised to read this: While ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar are lauded for their chemical-free properties, they are not without hazards. “Never assume that something ‘natural’ means it is safe for pets,” says Wismer.

      Vinegar is acidic and ingesting concentrated or undiluted vinegar can cause vomiting, diarrhea, oral irritation, and pain in pets. Similarly, baking soda and peroxide can cause severe vomiting.

  25. I prayed through the night, and I have been on pins and needles wondering how dear Gracie is. I am praying for a full recovery for her and that there are no long-lasting effects from the chemicals. I’m very thankful you were able to get the help that she needed. Hugs to Gracie.

    1. Thanks for your concern. I think she’s out of the woods. I haven’t seen those symptoms since shortly after we got home.

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