Why Are Hydrangeas Poisonous to Cats?

Having a pet cat at home is like living with a little explorer — everything triggers their curiosity. If you have a garden at home, your beloved fur ball will use it as its adventure area. Seeing them conquer their little world and feed their minds will be fun. However, there are things your cat needs to watch out for. Plants in your garden should be safe, as cats may play or bite into them — be careful of what you buy at the farmer’s market, as well. You have to be aware of what plants are poisonous or not.

Photo: PxHere

If you have this flowering plant in your garden, you should probably pet-proof the area. If you don’t, hydrangeas can place your cat’s health at risk. Every part of hydrangea is pretty dangerous for your cat — but mainly the buds and young leaves. The lovely plant is poisonous to felines, because it contains a chemical called amygdalin. In its natural form, amygdalin is not actually a toxin; however, once metabolized by a mammal’s body, it produces toxic cyanide.

Photo: Pexels/Merilin Kirsika Tedder

The hydrangea’s poisonous effect depends on the consumer’s dosage and size. A cat has to eat a particular dosage of hydrangea before symptoms show. Hydrangea poison takes effect faster on smaller cats. However dangerous, cases of hydrangea poisoning are rare due to dosage intake and mild symptoms.

In case your cat gets interested in the beautiful hydrangeas in your garden, here are the symptoms you have to look out for:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Lethargy

Symptoms show after about thirty minutes. You have to quickly take your cat to your trusted vet — especially if symptoms persist. Bring with you the parts of the hydrangea, as it will help determine the proper tests and treatment for your cat. The treatment process will include vomit-inducing, intravenous fluids, and medications. Your vet will also run various tests for your cat, such as blood tests, urine tests, and X-rays. This is to see if your cat’s organs were affected, primarily the digestive system. The vet will prescribe a bland diet to help your cat’s recovery.

Prevention is better than cure. It’s saddening to remove bushes of hydrangeas, especially if it’s a garden highlight. Pet-proofing is the most effective solution to avoid poisoning. Michelle Burch, DVM from SafeHounds Pet Insurance, suggests, “Place shells, branches, and thorny vines, which aren’t appealing for a dog or cat to step on.” Spraying non-botanical oil sprays will also help keep your cats off, since it gives off a noxious smell. You could also opt for scents cats hate, which are anything citrusy.

Photo: PxHere/Debbiemg

Remember that hydrangeas are not just poisonous to cats — dogs are not safe around those flowers either. It’s best to keep an eye on them even if you have already pet-proofed the garden. Ensure they have limited access to the garden, especially when they don’t have human company. You better inform the whole household about any toxic plants for pets. Let your adventurous little cat explore without harm and sudden visits to their vet.

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