that will poison your cats
Most of us are surrounded by
plants. They add the needed finishing touches to any decor.
However, a small percentage of these plants have the potential
to cause harm to our cats and this beautiful plants could become
a deadly enemy. Cats are generally sensible creatures - but
nevertheless they can become victims of poisoning.
Who is at risk?
Most cats are fastidious creatures
and are careful what they eat. Poisoning cats are therefore
generally rare. Young cats, and especially indoor cats are
most at risk as they may chew houseplants through curiosity
or boredom. When a cat is confined to a run or lives entirely
indoors-hazardous plants should be removed from her environment.
Cats given free access to the outside world tend to have other
things to occupy their minds than sampling unfamiliar vegetation.
But even free roaming adult cats may accidentally ingest needles
or seeds that have become entangled in their coat during grooming.
Many cats love to eat grass to aid their digestion. Indoor
cats may crave some greenery and chew at houseplants.
There are many plants that
are poisonous to cats. They vary in their toxicity. Many
are irritant rather than poisonous. Below is a list of houseplants
that can be harmful or fatal depending on the quantity swallowed.
Also, remember that cats that chew plants are exposed to
any chemical pesticides or fertilizers that may have been
applied directly to the plants or through the soil.
Apple Leaf Croton
Avacado (fruit and pit)
Bird of Paradise
Cherry (pits, seeds & wilting leaves)
Cherry, most wild varieties
Crown of Thorns
Fruit Salad Plant
Giant Dumb Cane
Glacier IvyGolden Chain
Gold Dust Dracaena
Indian Rubber Plant
Jack in the Pulpit
Janet Craig Dracaena
Japanese Show Lily
Lacy Tree Philodendron
Lily of the Valley
Madagascar Dragon Tree
Peach (pits and wilting leaves)
Poinsettia (low toxicity)
Saddle Leaf Philodendron
Snow on the Mountain
Spotted Dumb Cane
Star of Bethlehem
String of Pearls
Swiss Cheese plant
Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia
What are the signs of poisoning?
The signs of poisoning can vary
- drooling, repeated vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, suddenly
collapse, excessive irritation (red, swollen, blistering or
raw) of the skin, the mouth or throat, .
It’s more common for plants
to cause skin irritation in cats than to poison them. Contact
with the leaves, stems or sap of certain plants can cause rashes
and hypersensitivity to sunlight resulting in sunburn. In cats
these plants can cause blistering or itching of the mouth and
gums. Sneezing and eye problems can also be caused through
contact with these plants.
What to do?
You should contact your veterinary
surgeon immediately if your cat is showing signs of poisoning.
If you see your cat eat something that you suspect to be poisonous,
don’t attempt to make it vomit. Take your cat to the
vet with a sample of the plant or even better a plant label.
Make a note of the time of eating and any symptoms. Several
days may pass between the ingestion of the undesirable material
and the effects.
How to prevent poisoning
You can prevent your cat from
chewing on plants by misting the leaves then sprinkling them
with cayenne pepper. You might also want to consider planting
a container of grass (regular grass, not the drug) for your
cat. If your cats are digging in your pots, go to your local
hobby/craft store and buy a few pieces of plastic needlepoint
canvas. Trim it to the shape of the pot, cut a slit in it and
then a hole in the center for the plant. Rest it on top of
the soil and your cat will be unable to dig.
Of course it’s impossible
for you to prevent your cat coming into contact with hazardous
plants in neighbouring gardens but you can make a note of any
toxic plants in their gardens. After gardening, ensure hedge
clippings or uprooted plants are tidied up. Bulbs, rhizomes,
and the roots can be the most hazardous parts of some plants.