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Are cats allergic to American Bittersweet or is it toxic to them?

Illustration of an American Bittersweet plant in Ukiyo-e style

The American Bittersweet (Celastrus scandens), also known as Climbing BittersweetFalse Bittersweet, or Waxwork, is a deciduous woody vine native to eastern North America. While not typically associated with allergies in cats, this plant contains toxic plant compounds that can cause serious health issues if ingested. The primary toxic elements in this plant are Saponins  and Alkaloids.

American Bittersweet is commonly found in woodlands, thickets, and along fences or walls where it can climb using its twining stems.

Toxicity level

High

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of the American Bittersweet plant, it may experience various symptoms due to the toxic compounds present in the plant. The severity of the symptoms depends on the amount of plant material consumed. Common signs of American Bittersweet poisoning in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested American Bittersweet, it is crucial to seek veterinary care immediately. Your veterinarian will likely perform the following steps to diagnose and treat your cat:

  1. Physical examination: The vet will check your cat’s vital signs, abdomen, and overall condition.
  2. Blood tests: These may include a complete blood count (CBC) and biochemistry profile to assess organ function and detect any abnormalities.
  3. Urinalysis: This test can help evaluate kidney function and check for any signs of damage.
  4. Treatment: Depending on the severity of the poisoning, treatment may include induced vomiting, activated charcoal administration, intravenous fluids, and supportive care.
An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!
An illustrative banner depicting an anthropomorphic cat in a vet's office, alongside a call-to-action message that reads: 'If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance,' accompanied by a prominent button stating 'Find A Vet Near Me!

FAQ

Q: Are cats allergic to American Bittersweet?

A: Yes, cats can be allergic to American Bittersweet. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, sneezing, and swelling.

Q: Is American Bittersweet toxic to cats?

A: Yes, American Bittersweet is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.

Q: What are the symptoms of American Bittersweet poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of American Bittersweet poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. Immediate veterinary attention is required if ingestion is suspected.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from coming into contact with American Bittersweet?

A: To prevent contact, ensure that American Bittersweet is not present in your home or garden. Keep your cat indoors or monitor outdoor activities closely.

Q: What should I do if my cat eats American Bittersweet?

A: If your cat eats American Bittersweet, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinary professional.

Q: Is American Bittersweet commonly found in home gardens?

A: American Bittersweet can be found in some home gardens and wild areas. It is important to recognize and remove this plant to keep your cat safe.

History of the American Bittersweet

American Bittersweet has a long history of use by Native American tribes for medicinal purposes, such as treating venereal diseasestuberculosis, and inducing vomiting.

The plant was introduced to Europe in the 1860s as an ornamental vine and has since been cultivated for its attractive fruit and foliage. However, due to its invasive nature and toxicity, American Bittersweet is now considered a problematic species in some areas

Further reading and sources

Please note: The information shared in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as veterinary medical advice.

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