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. More importantly, plants in your garden should be safe as cats may play or bite into — 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.

If you have this flowering plant in your garden, you should probably pet-proof the area. If not, hydrangeas can place your cat’s health at risk. Every part of hydrangea is pretty dangerous for your cat — 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.

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 since even a few dosages are already a lot for their bodies to handle. However dangerous, cases of hydrangea poisoning are rare due to dosage intake and mild symptoms.

In case your cat gets interested with 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 when symptoms persist in appearing. 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 oversee 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.

Remember that hydrangeas are not just poisonous to cats — dogs are not safe around those flowers, too. 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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I strive to learn and excel more in content creation, including blog writing, graphic design, social media posts, and video editing. Photography is one of those skills that I take an interest in. However, I do not use my photography skills for work as I treat the activity as my hobby. My usual subjects are my pets and loved ones. The lovely fur babies at home make photography even more fun, especially now that I am in a remote setup for work.
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