Being aware of which plants in your garden or are potted in your home can be toxic to cats is a good way to protect your feline companion's health the event of an emergency. Today, our Johns Creek veterinary team walk you through which plants are toxic to cats and what to do if your notice your cat eating your house plants.
Cats & Plants
Cats are usually quite careful about what they eat, making emergencies related to cat poisoning pretty rare. Nevertheless, cats do occasionally ingest toxic substances like plants.
Sometimes cats around toxic plants can also get seeds or pollen trapped in their fur. If this is the case, during regular grooming your cat might ingest these toxic substances, making them unwell.
Cats may also nibble at plants for fun. It can be challenging to keep harmful house plants away from a playful feeling cat.
If you have plants in your home or keep a garden, our Johns Creek vets suggest that you take the time to learn the names of your plants and inform yourself about which would be toxic to your cat.
Protecting Your Cat
Before bringing a new house or garden plant home, we advise taking a couple minutes to determine whether it is toxic to your feline friend.
If you own any plants included on the list below, make sure to store that plant in a room that you cat doesn't or can't get into. Alternatively, and even better, give the plant to a friend or family member who doesn't have a cat.
If your cat does ingest a plant that is toxic or poisonous to them, knowing that plants name will be key in treating your cat quickly and effectively with fewer tests.
Toxic Plants for Cats
If you notice your cat or kitten eating any plant that you're unsure of, call your vet. When it comes to your cat's health it's always better to err on the side of caution.
Here are a few of the most common plants that are toxic to cats.
- Autumn Crocus
- Azaleas and Rhododendrons
- Castor Bean
- Lily of the Valley
- Peace Lily
- Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
- Sago Palm
- English Ivy
- Spanish Thyme
- Spring bulbs
The lily is one of the most dangerous plants to cats. Lilies can cause kidney failure in cats who ingest their pollen (often through grooming).NOTE: Lily poisoning can be fatal in cats. If you suspect that your cat has come in contact with lilies, contact your Johns Creek vet as soon as possible.
Signs & Symptoms of Poisoning in Cats
The symptoms of poisoning in your cat can vary depending on the specific plant which they have ingested.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms of poisoning may include: vomiting and diarrhea.
- Irritants may cause symptoms such as: irritation around the mouth, swelling, itchiness and red or watery eyes.
- Severe symptoms of poisoning may include: frequent urination, irregular heartbeat, weakness, drooling, breathing difficulties, difficulties swallowing, excessive drinking
What To Do If Your Cat Has Been Eating Plants
If you see your cat nibbling a plant that you aren't sure is safe, or if they are exhibiting any of the above symptoms contact your vet immediately.
Before heading to the vet:
- Try to identify the plant that your cat has ingested, then call your vet. If it's after your vet's regular office hours, please call an emergency vet's office for assistance. Stay calm, let them know what has happened, and request an appointment as soon as possible.
- Remove any bits of plant from around your cat's mouth, paws, or fur then move your cat to a cat carrier, or a safe, confined space away from the plant, while you get ready to go to your veterinary clinic.
- When you head to the animal hospital, take along a sample of the plant to show your vet, or if you are unsure which plant your cat has been eating take in a sample of your cat's vomit containing the plant substance.
Diagnosis of Plant Poisoning in Cats
Recovery time can be decreased and your cat's life may even be saved by rapid treatment. When it comes to diagnosing and treating cat poisoning, being able to identify the plant that is the culprit will give your vet an all important head start.
If you can't identify what plant your cat has ingested, or supply a sample to your vet, a series of tests will need to be run to identify the type of poison your cat has ingested before they can be treated.