There’s nothing that adds life to a home like having houseplants and owning pets. Scientists agree that keeping houseplants and owning a cat are beneficial for a person’s mental health, but what about the health of your pet? There are many houseplants that are toxic for cats and accidents can always be possible, especially if your cat is of the adventurous kind who goes outdoors a lot. Cat owners must be aware of how to manage if their pet is affected by a toxic substance.
1. Commonly observed symptoms of toxicity
If the harmful substance directly affects a specific organ or body part, the symptoms shown would essentially be pertaining to that particular organ. Following are commonly observed ones among these:
- Irritation, swelling, or redness if exposed body parts like the skin and eyes are affected
- Breathlessness, in case the airways get affected
- Drooling or inability to swallow saliva if the affected organs include throat, mouth, or esophagus
- Vomiting and diarrhea if the intestines or stomach is affected
- Repetitive drinking and urination in case the kidneys get affected
- Rapid, slowed down or irregular heartbeat coupled with weakness of the heart is the affected organ
2. Seeking care immediately
It is advised to take the following measures before visiting a veterinarian if you spot your cat chewing on a dangerous plant or if you suspect that your cat has eaten one of the toxic houseplants for cats.
- Immediately pull out any residue of the plant from the cat’s fur and mouth.
- Temporarily enclose your cat in a protected space so that it will not run away and you can monitor it constantly.
- Call your local pet or animal care helpline and ask for assistance.
Finding out the species of plant is crucial for determining the course of treatment. In case of failure to recognize the species of plant that your cat has consumed or come into contact with, take a sample of the plant or the vomited pieces of the plant to your veterinarian for finding it out.
Identifying the species of plant is the ideal way to diagnose the cat’s problem. Your veterinarian will do a thorough check-up on the cat along with a few tests to ensure its health and safety.
More rigorous tests are necessary if the species of the plant has not been identified or if the cat’s health is severely compromised.
Veterinarians, in such situations, generally give the cat some medication to make it vomit the plant out. They might also give activated charcoal to eliminate all the toxins present in the cat’s digestive tract. Further-given medication to reduce the damages inflicted on the stomach includes sucralfate.
In serious cases, additional treatment using intravenous fluids, painkillers, anti-nausea drugs, and anti-inflammatory medicines is given by the vet. Further supportive care may be necessary depending on the toxin consumed and the cat’s response to the provided treatment.
5. Preventive measures
Make sure you take enough precautions to nullify the odds of your cat going near any of the toxic houseplants for cats again and remove all traces of that plant from your home. It is best to keep cats indoors and only let it out of the house when it can be supervised constantly.
Some encounters with toxic houseplants for cats can prove to be fatal or inflict irreversible damage that puts the cat in the need for lifelong special care and medication. It is advisable to follow your veterinarian’s instructions and ask any questions that you might have.