A scary kitten

Photo: Christopher Furlong / Staff (Getty Images)

The city of Fukuyama, Japan is on high alert after a cat fell into a vat of toxic chemicals and escaped into the night. Officials warned the animal is covered in hexavalent chromium, and residents should be careful not to touch any “cat that seems abnormal.”

A worker at Nomura Plating factory discovered a set of yellow paw prints leading away from a chemical tank early Monday morning. The cat was later spotted leaving the factory on security footage, according to the newspaper Asahi Shimbun. You can see a video of the ill-fated cat below.

A dip into hexavalent chromium, also known as chromium 6, may be a death sentence no matter how many lives the feline has left. The solution can cause skin irritation, respiratory issues, heart failure, lung cancer, and even death. As the Washington Post points out, it’s the same chemical that leaked into groundwater in the Julia Roberts movie Erin Brockovich.

【六価クロム】まみれのネコ逃走中 「触らないで」 広島・福山市

Fukuyama Environmental Conservation Division reported that the cat may be dead but issued a warning to locals, according to Ahahi Shumbun, “If you find a cat that seems abnormal, please do not touch it and contact the city or police.” Nippon TV News reports that officials are asking elementary schools to keep children away from cats in general.

There’s no update on the cat or its whereabouts as of press time, but the cat would probably be easy to pick out if it’s still on its feet. If the cat is alive that means it probably hasn’t licked itself clean, which means it would probably be stained a yellow or reddish-brown color thanks to the hexavalent chromium. According to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, chromium compounds are widely used for electroplating, stainless steel production, leather tanning, textile manufacturing, and wood preservation.

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