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Are exotic angel plants toxic to cats?

Are exotic angel plants toxic to cats?

September 18, 2023

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For many cat owners, the question of whether exotic angel plants are toxic to their feline friends is a serious concern. It’s common knowledge that certain houseplants can pose a threat to cats, but what about these particular tropical beauties? Let’s delve into the details.

What are Exotic Angel Plants?

Are exotic angel plants toxic to cats?

Exotic angel plants are not a single species of plant, but rather a brand name for a collection of over 400 different types of plants sold by the Costa Farms company. These plants range from ferns to succulents and everything in between, each known for their lush foliage and vibrant colors that can add a touch of the tropics to any indoor space. However, their potential toxicity for cats varies from one species to another.

Toxicity Levels in Different Species

While some exotic angel plants are perfectly safe for cats, others can indeed be harmful. For instance, Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) and Boston Ferns (Nephrolepis exaltata) are non-toxic to cats according to the ASPCA. On the other hand, Dieffenbachia and Philodendron species, both commonly found in the exotic angel plant line-up, contain insoluble calcium oxalates which can cause oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing if ingested by pets.

Case Study: Dieffenbachia

A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation detailed an instance where a cat developed acute renal failure after ingesting Dieffenbachia. The cat experienced severe symptoms including salivation, pawing at the mouth, anorexia and lethargy. After being treated at a veterinary hospital with intravenous fluids and gastric protectants, the cat recovered fully after a few days.

Preventive Measures for Cat Owners

Given the potential risks, cat owners should take precautions when introducing exotic angel plants into their home. Here are some tips:

  • Research before purchase: Before buying any plant, research its safety in relation to cats. The ASPCA offers a comprehensive list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to cats.
  • Keep plants out of reach: If you do have potentially toxic plants, make sure they’re in a place where your cat can’t get to them.
  • Monitor your cat’s behavior: If your cat is showing signs of distress or illness and you suspect it may have ingested part of a plant, contact your vet immediately.

Caring for Cats who’ve Ingested Toxic Plants

If you suspect your cat has ingested a toxic plant, immediate veterinary attention is necessary. Depending on the plant and the amount ingested, treatment can range from inducing vomiting to administering activated charcoal to absorb toxins, and providing supportive care such as fluids and medications to control symptoms.

Expert Insight

“Early intervention is key,” says Dr. Tina Wismer, Senior Director at the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center. “The sooner we can decontaminate a pet by inducing vomiting (if appropriate) and giving activated charcoal to bind any remaining toxin in the gastrointestinal tract, the better the prognosis.”

In Conclusion

In conclusion, while some exotic angel plants can be harmful or even toxic to cats, others are perfectly safe. The key for cat owners is to do their homework before bringing any new plant into their home. By being informed and taking appropriate precautions, you can ensure that both your feline friend and your indoor garden can thrive.

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