The cat dubbed ‘Tipsy’ was just a whisker away from death when he was found near a tyre store in Lowood, west of Brisbane, at the weekend.
It is believed he had ingested toxic agent antifreeze and was rushed to the RSPCA animal hospital in Wacol.
Vodka is the common antidote for antifreeze, otherwise known as coolant, but very few animals actually make it to a vet in time.
RSPCA Vet Sarah Kanther believed he had less than an hour to live.
“Luck was definitely on his side when our inspectors brought him in to us. Just in the nick of time,” she said.
Blood tests showed he had acute renal failure.
But the quick-thinking vet staff placed him on a drip, attached to a bottle of diluted vodka.
“It just so happened that one of our nurses had a bottle of vodka laying around, so we were able to administer it just in time to save his life,” Dr Kanther said.
“He was off his rocker. He was having a jolly good time.”
After a long night, lots of liquid, and a greasy breakfast the next morning, Tipsy was now expected to make a full recovery.
“Because it’s such a fast-acting toxin, they’re normally dead by the time we get to treat them,” Dr Kanther said.
Vodka worked because the enzyme in the cat’s body that metabolised the antifreeze, also metabolised the alcohol.
“So basically once you put the alcohol into his blood it metabolises that instead, and gives the antifreeze time to pass in a less toxic form,” she said.
Unfortunately, Tipsy was not microchipped and is now looking for his owners, otherwise he will be put up for adoption.
Michael Beatty from the RSPCA said it was not known whether the cat was purposely baited.
“Unfortunately we have seen a lot of baiting going on and some of it is using antifreeze,” he said.
“And that’s really disturbing because from what I understand it can take a small teaspoon, and it’s a very unpleasant way to die.
“Cats in particular are attracted to it because of the sweet taste.”
Baiting is classed as a serious offence and carries a maximum penalty of three years.
Anyone with information is being urged to contact the RSPCA.