What are the most toxic plants for cats?

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Keeping your cat safe from the world.

Many things in the home are toxic to cats, including avocado, caffeine, alcohol, some sweeteners and chocolate. But one source of poisoning that is very often overlooked, is common household plants. Many plants are toxic to cats, and unfortunately many of those are lush, colorful and popular in gardens. Since a KittySafe installation involves confining your cat to one area, it is particularly important to remove plants that are toxic to cats.

How to know if your cat has been poisoned.

Toxic plants tend to also be irritants, so if your cat has been poisoned it it likely that he will have red, swollen tissue around the tissue of the eyes, nose and mouth. Apart from these obvious symptoms, many toxins affect a single organ and other symptoms will cluster around that organ’s function.

Airway:                                   Labored breathing, panting.

Mouth or throat:                    Drooling, trouble swallowing

Stomach, small intestine:   Vomiting

Intestines:                              Diarrhea

Kidneys:                                 Panting, excessive drinking, urination

Heart:                                     Weakness, lethargy

What to do.

Stay calm. Your cat needs you to be measured and soothing. Calmly remove any plant material from the cat’s skin and mouth and keep it, to show the vet. If the vet doesn’t know what the poisoning came from, they will be operating in the dark. Keep your feline friend under observation in a confined space away from the poisonous plant, and call the Australian animal poisons hot line : 1300 869 738. This is a free service.

At the vet.

It’s likely that the animal poisons hot line will recommend a visit to the vet. Medication may be given to encourage vomiting, absorb the toxin or protect damaged tissue. Poisoning can be serious. Aftercare may involve anything from giving plenty of water, to intravenous fluids, prolonged vet stays and lifelong special diets and medication regimes.

Dodging a bullet

Apart from the pain and distress to your cat, poisoning is painful to your wallet, too. Thankfully, it is easily avoided with some foresight.  It’s not hard to protect your cat from plants that can hurt them. Thoroughly remove all trace of the toxic plants from the installation area including roots, because the plant may grow back from rootstock and because the toxin is often present through the entire plant, and does not only exist in the most poisonous parts above the ground. It’s easier to do this before the installation, when there’s no chance of harming the netting with enthusiastic spade work.