Plants That Are Toxic to Your Cat

By July 13 | See Comments

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Cats tend to chew on the plants in your yard and since they love to explore and climb, it is difficult to keep them away from plants. If you have a lot of plants inside your house, or if you plan to let your cat roam around in the yard, you need to be able to know the plants that your cat will be exposed to. If you are not sure about a particular plant, it is safe to remove it from the premises.If a certain plant is poisonous, it is safe to assume to assume that all of its parts are poisonous, although some parts of the plant might have a higher concentration of the toxin compared to the others. Most of the toxic plants irritate the mouth, skin and stomach, causing them to get inflamed. The toxins might also affect only a particular organ like the heart or the kidney. Here is a list of plants that are poisonous to cats:

  • Amaryllis
  • Autumn Crocus
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Castor Bean
  • Cyclamen
  • Kalanchoe
  • English Ivy
  • Marijuana
  • Lilies
  • Peace Lily
  • Oleander
  • Pothos
  • Rhododendrons and Azaleas
  • Spanish thyme
  • Sago Palm
  • Narcissus and Tulip bulbs
  • Yew
What do you need to watch out for?

Since most of the toxic plants irritate the G.I. tract, the observed symptoms will be the result of inflammation or irritation, like swelling, redness, or itchiness of the mouth or the skin. If the toxin affects a particular organ, the symptoms will be related to that organ. For instance:

  • Difficulty breathing (if the plant affects the airways)
  • Difficulty swallowing or drooling (if the throat, esophagus or the mouth is affected)
  • Vomiting (if the stomach is affected)
  • Diarrhea (if the colon is affected)
  • Excessive urinating and drinking (if the kidneys are impacted)
  • Slow, fast or irregular heartbeats (if the toxin affects the heart)
Immediate care

If your cat has ingested a particular plant and you are not certain as to whether it is poisonous, you can take the following preliminary measures before you take him to the vet:

  1. Remove any residual plant material from the skin and hair.
  2. If necessary, wash your cat with warm water and soft dish soap.
  3. The plant’s identity is important for deciding the appropriate course of treatment. If you do not know what kind of plant your cat ingested, bring it along with you to the vet. Vets do not have a lot of training when it comes to identifying plants. So, it is all the more important that you don’t just take a wild guess. If your cat has vomited, collect some of it and take it to the vet.
Diagnosis

The best way to diagnose is to identify the plant. Your vet will give a physical exam to your cat and order the necessary tests to determine his overall health. These tests are important, especially if the plant targets specific organs.

Treatment

Once your cat is done vomiting, your vet will give him activated charcoal to absorb the remaining toxins in the gut. He might also prescribe medication to protect the damaged areas in the stomach. Supportive care, like I.V. fluids and anti-inflammatory medication might be used as needed, especially if your cat’s G.I. tract is affected.

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