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Japan Issues Warning About Wandering Cat After Feline Falls into Toxic Chemicals and Escapes

"If you find a cat that seems abnormal, please do not touch it and contact the city or police," authorities told the public

<p>HANDOUT/Nomura Plating/AFP via Getty</p> Footprints believed to be from a cat that fell into a tank containing toxic hexavalent chromium at the plating factory in Fukuyama, Hiroshima

HANDOUT/Nomura Plating/AFP via Getty

Footprints believed to be from a cat that fell into a tank containing toxic hexavalent chromium at the plating factory in Fukuyama, Hiroshima

A cat fell into and escaped a toxic and potentially deadly container in Fukuyama, southwestern Japan, on Sunday. The city has since released public health warnings, reports The Washington Post, CBS News and the BBC.

On Sunday night, a Nomura Plating factory worker uncovered a trail of yellow-brown paw prints that were traced back to the toxic container. Later, surveillance footage confirmed the cat escaped the container that held a plating solution containing the acidic carcinogen hexavalent chromium, per Japanese outlet Asahi Shimbun Digital. The 11-foot-tall tank was filled at approximately 70% of its capacity, and a sheet was placed over it, which was then turned over, according to Asahi Shimbun.

After the company had discovered the footage, they told local authorities about the missing cat. "The incident woke us up to the need to take measures to prevent small animals like cats from sneaking in, which is something we had never anticipated before," said a Nomura Plating spokesperson, reports the BBC.

Related: Bookmark This: Common Household Items that Could Poison Your Pet

According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the toxin can cause skin irritation, respiratory problems, lung cancer, and blindness. Additionally, the factory staff is required to wear rubber gloves and masks when working close to the liquid.

If people swallow the substance, different symptoms can occur, including heart failure, gut, liver, and kidney damage, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and in some cases death, reports Britain’s Health Security Agency.

The toxic chemical is also known as the source of the contamination problem in Hinkley, Calif. This 1952-1996 incident notably inspired the movie Erin Brockovichwhich starred Julia Roberts.

<p>HANDOUT/Nomura Plating/AFP via Getty</p> Footprints believed to be from a cat that fell into a tank containing toxic hexavalent chromium at the plating factory in Fukuyama, Hiroshima

HANDOUT/Nomura Plating/AFP via Getty

Footprints believed to be from a cat that fell into a tank containing toxic hexavalent chromium at the plating factory in Fukuyama, Hiroshima

It is still unclear whether the cat had ingested the substance or is still alive. At the time of this publication, there have been no sightings of the cat.

However, public officials announced: "If you find a cat that seems abnormal, please do not touch it and contact the city or police," reports Asahi Shimbun.

Related: Cancer-Causing Slime — the Same Substance in 'Erin Brockovich' — Found on Michigan Highway

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