Aglaonema, aka Chinese evergreen plantsBecause of its flexibility and high ornamental value, it is a popular indoor plant in homes and offices.
Commonly known as “Chinese Evergreens” refers to 21 species of plants that usually grow in the subtropical and tropical forests of Southeast Asia. These plants belong to the Araceae family. Depending on the species and cultivars, there are various shades ranging from green to dark green, silver or gray.
However, like any other indoor plant, pet owners should check the toxicity of this plant to determine if it is safe to keep it at home. So today, we are discussing the toxicity of Chinese evergreen plants to cats.
Are Chinese evergreen plants safe for cats?
No, the evergreen plants in China are no Safe for cats.In fact, according to ASPCA, Chinese evergreen trees are poisonous to cats, dogs and horses. This is due to the presence of toxic insoluble calcium oxalate.
Why are Chinese evergreen plants poisonous to cats?
Chinese evergreen plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, just like almost all other plants in the Araceae family-peace lily, dumb vine, Aibai and Swiss cheese plants.
When your feline pet chews or bites into a Chinese evergreen plant, the plant releases these crystals.
When the tissue penetrates, these crystals can irritate the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract and cause severe pain. In severe cases, they can cause swelling of the upper airway, which can cause breathing difficulties.
What are the symptoms of Chinese evergreen tree poisoning?
The following are common signs you need to pay attention to:
- Strong oral irritation of the mouth, tongue, throat and lips.
- Excessive drooling.
- Swelling of the throat.
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia).
- Can’t swallow.
These can happen immediately or up to 2 hours after ingestion. After ingesting the toxin, your cat may continue to experience the above symptoms for up to 2 weeks.
Eating large amounts of Chinese evergreen trees can cause:
- Severe indigestion.
- Extremely difficult to breathe.
- Quick and shallow panting (difficulty breathing).
If your pet consumes a lot of plants, the symptoms will be more severe. In addition to any of the above, other symptoms may occur, such as:
- Violent convulsions.
- Renal Failure.
- Possible death.
Is it possible to recover from Chinese evergreen tree poisoning?
Yes, even recovery from severe calcium oxalate poisoning is possible. However, in the most severe cases, the liver and kidneys may have been permanently damaged.
related: What plant is poisonous to cats?
What if your cat ingests Chinese evergreen trees?
If you suspect that your feline pet may have eaten Chinese evergreen plants by mistake, the first thing you should do is to stay calm so that you can perform first aid procedures reliably. Don’t worry; most cases of calcium oxalate poisoning can be relieved at home.
You need to do the following:
- Once you find that your cat may have eaten Chinese evergreen plants by mistake, rinse your mouth quickly and rinse thoroughly with water.
- After that, give your cat some milk, yogurt, cheese, or any other calcium-rich food to reduce the burning sensation and irritation pain. This is because calcium can precipitate some calcium oxalate crystals.
Most poisoned pets, including cats, can fully recover within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion.
If your cat suffers from more severe gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, and diarrhea, you should carefully monitor it for signs of dehydration. If necessary, make sure to provide adequate fluid intake.
As a precaution, you can give your cat an antihistamine if there is significant mouth swelling. This will help prevent or reduce swelling, discomfort and airway obstruction. You can also consider taking medications to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort.
If the cat’s airway is blocked due to swelling, go to the veterinarian immediately. The cat may remain under observation until the swelling subsides and breathing returns to normal.
How to prevent your cat from ingesting Chinese evergreen trees
- Plant your Chinese evergreen trees in a plant container.
- Use some non-toxic, pet-friendly insect repellent. You can also try home remedies, such as lemon spray and lemon peel.
- Put your Chinese evergreen trees where your cats rarely go.
- Provide alternative safe plants, such as pet-friendly grasses, to satisfy your cat’s desires.
- Let your cat have more playing time to relieve boredom.
- Whenever it is near your Chinese evergreen plants, train your cat not to eat plants by spraying water.
- If you grow these plants outdoors, make sure to use a dry deterrent.