Sometimes it can be difficult to keep the cat away from the plants. Cats are naturally curious and love to explore their surroundings. They also try one or the other plant. But if you nibble on the wrong plant, it can be life-threatening.
Luckily, most plants and flowers are harmless, but some can be poisonous or dangerous to your furry friend. So if you still want to keep plants on the windowsill or want to let your cat in the garden, you need to know which plants could be harmful.
Poisonous plants can work in different ways. There are plants that primarily cause local inflammation, for example in the mouth, stomach, or skin. Others, on the other hand, can cause systemic effects when ingested and directly damage organs such as the heart or kidneys.
Some examples of plants that are toxic to cats are cyclamen, amaryllis, hyacinth, lilies, daffodils, and tulips. See the end of this article for a list of common poisonous plants. When in doubt, it is better to remove the plant in question from your home.
Are some parts of the plant more dangerous than others?
If a plant is poisonous to cats, you should assume that every part of it is poisonous. In some plants, the concentration of toxins is higher in some parts of the plant than others. Therefore, even a small amount of a plant can be poisonous or cause symptoms.
If your cat has eaten a poisonous plant, common symptoms include swelling, redness, or itching around the eyes or mouth. When the stomach or intestines are irritated, vomiting or diarrhea often occurs. Venoms with systemic effects may cause difficulty breathing, swallowing, drooling, weakness, a change in heartbeat, or excessive drinking or urination. Some cats also react with balance problems.
What to do if it happened
If you see or suspect your cat has eaten the leaves or other parts of a poisonous plant, it’s important to contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Also, remove any residue from the plant from your cat’s mouth and body. Follow the vet’s instructions and keep your cat close to you for monitoring.
Diagnosis and treatment
Knowing the name of the plant your cat ate, or bringing a sample with you, will make it easier to diagnose and determine treatment. Your vet will also examine the cat and run tests to determine its general health, especially if the plant is unfamiliar.
Depending on the type of plant, different therapies are initiated.
If the ingestion of the plant is less than 2 hours, the cat may be vomited to minimize ingestion of the pollutant.
If more time has passed since the plant was ingested, there is the possibility of binding the ingested toxins with activated charcoal.
In addition, therapy with gastric protection is indicated in most cases. Supportive therapy with painkillers or anti-inflammatories must be adjusted depending on the patient and symptoms.
Life after poisoning
If the cat has ingested a very large amount of the poisonous plant or treatment is started very late after ingestion, ingestion of the plant may result in death despite intensive therapy.
Therefore, follow your veterinarian’s instructions and ask for information, ask questions. The best way to protect your cat from poisonous plants is to remove them from your home or yard. Also keep an eye on the health of your outdoor cat.
Common poisonous plants
Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.)
Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)
Azaleas & Rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.)
Castor bean (Ricinus communis)
Chrysanthemums/Daisies (Chrysanthemum spp.)
Daffodils (Narcissus spp.)
Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia spp.)
Common ivy (Hedera helix)
Garden hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
Kalanchoe (Kalanchoe spp.)
Lily (Lilium sp.)
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)
Hemp (Cannabis sativa)
Oleander (Nerium oleander)
Sheath Leaf/Flat Leaf (Spathiphyllum sp.)
Ivy (Epipremnum aureum)
Japanese sago cycad (Cycas revoluta)
Mexican Oregano (Coleus ampoinicus)
Tulip (Tulipa spp.)
Yew (Taxus spp.)