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Five Most Toxic Houseplants for Cats

By Puppy Breeder Massachusetts

My Cat Ate A Poisonous Hose Plant
There are many common household plants, both indoor and outdoor, that are poisonous to cats.  Several of these plants can cause your beloved cat to become quite ill, including vomiting, diarrhea, and convulsions.  In some cases, these plants can cause your pet to have complete respiratory failure, kidney failure, or other fatal illness.  For this reason, it is important to assist your cat immediately if it eats a toxic plant.

Perhaps the most toxic and common form of plant that can be fatal to your cat are lilies.  Pretty much every form of lily can cause death to your pet.  This includes the Tiger lily, the Easter lily, the Japanese show lily, the Rubrum lily and the Day lily.  If your cat ingests any part of one of these plants, even a small amount, it will result in complete kidney failure in about 36 to 72 hours.

After ingesting a lily, your cat will begin to show symptoms within a few hours.  Symptoms include a lack of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting.  As the damage to the kidneys worsens, the symptoms will become worse.  If your cat has ingested any part of a lily plant, it will need prompt attention from a veterinarian in order to prevent kidney failure.

Lily of the valley
Although the name of this plant has “lily” in it, it is not the same as the lilies already discussed.  Nonetheless, this small, sweet smelling flower is also toxic to your feline friend.  If your cat eats any part of the Lily of the valley, it can eventually die from cardiac dysrhythmias. 

After eating a portion of a Lily of the valley, your cat might start to vomit and diarrhea.  It also may show signs of confusion and weakness and even collapse prior to death.  If you are certain your pet has eaten a part of a Lily of the valley, you should induce vomiting (as discussed later) and administer activated charcoal, which will help soak up the toxins and prevent them from getting further into your pet’s bloodstream.  You should then take your pet to see a vet to ensure its safety.

Foxglove, also known commonly by its Latin name Digitalis, is also potentially fatal to a cat if eaten.  Not only is the entire foxglove plant toxic, so is the water from the vase if the plant is cut and brought indoors.

If your cat ingests foxglove, it may begin to vomit and salivate excessively.  Its pulse may become slow and strong early after ingestion, then later become rapid and weak.  Ingestion of foxglove causes cardiac disturbance that can lead to hypotension, collapse, and shock, which can ultimately lead to death.  (More on how to treat shock in your cat will be discussed later).  The pupils of your cat may become dilated after eating foxglove and you cat may become delirious before slipping into a coma.  While some of the symptoms of foxglove poisoning can be treated at home, your pet still needs to be taken to the vet to flush the foxglove out of its system and to help regulate its heart.

All parts of the monkshood plant, including the water in its vase, are toxic.  Contents of the monkshood plant cause disruption in the nerve impulses when ingested in low doses.  When ingested in large doses, it completely inhibits these nerves.  Monkshood also causes irritation to the mucus membranes when ingested, which can lead to vomiting and excessive salivation.  Some animals appear to go blind after eating monkshood, which is followed by cardiac dysrhythmias and death.  Your cat needs to visit the vet right away in order to recover from monkshood poisoning.

The entire anemone plant is toxic.  It is irritating to the mucous membranes and often causes blisters to form after it is chewed.  If it is ingested entirely, hemorrhagic gastroenteritis can occur, which can lead to shock, convulsions, and death.  If your pet ingests anemone, administer activated charcoal and see the vet immediately.

Help for your cat: Inducing vomiting
Inducing vomiting is generally appropriate after your cat ingests any toxic plant.  To do this, mix 1 teaspoon of Hydrogen Peroxide with one cup of water and administer it to your cat.  Or you can mix 1-2 tablespoons of salt with one cup of water or administer ½ mil of Syrup of Ipecac per pound of your cat.  Of course, the vet should still be contacted immediately.

What to do for shock
If a cat is in shock, its heartbeat might be escalated.  Or, it might have an irregular pulse or a very little pulse.  In addition, its tongue might appear to be curled and its gums might be pale and have very little color.  When a cat experiences shock its body temperature is often below normal.

A cat that is in shock needs to be seen immediately by a vet so it can have medication and intravenous fluids administered.  While driving to the vet, it is best to have someone hold the cat and try to sooth it along the way.  The cat should be kept warm, as loss of heat only increases the severity of the shock.

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