Toxic plants for cats
Plant Toxicity Awareness in Spring
With Spring in the air, it is only natural that your furry friend is spending more and more time at the window, tail swishing, ready to get themselves out into the fresh air and sunshine.
And while this is completely natural and understandable, it is wise to be aware of the potential dangers that many plants can cause them.
Both indoor plants and outdoor plants can have varying levels of toxicity to cats, especially now that Spring is here.
We have compiled a list to help you safeguard your fur babies.
HYACINTHS and TULIPS
The toxicity of these plants are contained largely in the bulbs rather than the leaf or flower so when plant parts or bulbs are chewed they can cause irritation to the tissue of the mouth and oesophagus.
Symptoms would include vomiting, drooling and diarrhoea.
If large quantities of the bulb are chewed or ingested then symptoms would be more severe with increased heart rate and changes in respiration.
You should consult your vet as a matter of urgency if your pet has been munching on these.
This is a clear NO.
Ingestion of any part of the bulb, plant or flower will induce severe vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and even cardiac arrhythmias or even respiratory depression.
This is because crystals are found on the outer layer of the bulb causing tissue irritation and drooling. If you witness any of this, take your cat to the vet at once.
There are 2 types of crocus plants. The spring ones and the autumn ones but it is the autumn ones that cause the real problems.
While the spring crocus is toxic to cats, causing gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhoea, the autumn ones are severely and highly toxic and can cause severe vomiting and gastrointestinal bleeding, liver and kidney damage and respiratory failure.
If you are unsure of which plant was ingested, take your cat to the vet immediately anyway.
Let us make no mistake that lilies are toxic to cats!! Not all but the majority of them so why take a risk?
The stems, the flowers, the pollen and even the water in the vase can be deadly for your cat so the whole lot should be kept clear of them.
Within a few days, your cat could experience kidney failure by ingesting just a few grains of pollen which could accidentally have fallen on their fur and they have licked it off.
Symptoms will begin within 24 hours of ingestion and include vomiting, decreased energy, loss of appetite and drooling.
If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of the lily plant consult a veterinarian immediately.
While for centuries Aloe has been beneficial to humans for many ailments, we would be forgiven for thinking that it would be a safe plant to have around our cats. It is NOT.
The aloe vera plant contains ALOIN which is a toxic compound to cats causing them vomiting, abdominal cramps and sometimes even tremors.
However, some cats can safely be treated for mild constipation using very little (about half a teaspoon full) of aloe vera juice but this should always be checked out by your vet before attempting any home remedies.
This is the one that seems to be chewed up the most in my home and there are usually sticky puddles of cat vomit containing the leaves somewhere nearby.
While there is toxicity with ingesting this plant, the toxicity is very mild and small amounts of ingestion will do no harm to your cat.
Regrettably, the Yucca plant contains a harmful chemical component called saponins which are toxic to cats and are extremely dangerous if ingested.
Symptoms of toxicity are vomiting, convulsions, diarrhoea and impaired coordination.
The saponins give off a bitter taste that should deter your pet but if you see your cat nibbling on these leaves consult your vet immediately.
FOXGLOVES and LILY OF THE VALLEY
Unfortunately, this beautiful flower is also extremely toxic to cats, dogs and even humans.
This is because Foxgloves contain a natural occurring poison that affects the heart, gastrointestinal and central nervous system.
The flowers, stem, leaves and seeds are all highly toxic for your cats and as there is no antidote to Foxglove poisoning, treatment is aimed at managing the symptoms.
Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, increased or decreased heart rate, dilated pupils, tremors and seizures.
Immediate veterinary treatment is critical if your pet has ingested any part of a Foxglove.
Lily of the Valley has similar symptoms and should be treated with equal care and importance.
AZALEAS and RHODODENDRONS
If your cat ingests any part of the azalea or rhododendron this will have a negative effect on them almost immediately.
Symptoms include drooling, diarrhoea, loss of appetite and digestive upset including colic, weakness and loss of coordination.
Weakened heart rate and leg paralysis are also common and can cause death within days.
Toxic plants for cats
While we have covered some of the many plants toxic to our furry friends.
There are so many more that we must be aware of in order to keep our pets safe and taking that extra bit of care when choosing plants for your home and garden will ultimately make all the difference to your pets and happy home.
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