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Are cats allergic to Arum or is it toxic to them?

Stylized Wild Arum plant in Ukiyo-e art style on a peach background.

Arum, also known as cuckoo pint or lords-and-ladies, is a toxic plant for cats. All parts of the Arum plant, including the leavesstemsflowers, and berries, contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause severe poisoning in felines.

The toxins present in this plant can lead to burningswelling, and irritation of the mouthtongue, and digestive tractArum plants are commonly found in woodlandsgardens, and shaded areas across EuropeTurkey, and the Caucasus region.

Toxicity level

Moderate

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Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of the Arum plant, it may experience various symptoms due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals.

These crystals can cause intense burning and irritation of the mouthtonguelips, and throat, leading to excessive droolingvomitingdifficulty swallowing, and gastrointestinal distress.

In severe cases, swelling of the throat can occur, potentially leading to breathing difficulties.

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If your cat has ingested the Arum plant, your veterinarian may diagnose them with calcium oxalate poisoning. The diagnosis process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Physical examination: The vet will assess your cat’s vital signs, check for signs of distress, and look for any visible symptoms.
  2. Medical history: The vet will ask about your cat’s recent activities, potential exposure to toxic substances, and any observed symptoms.
  3. Diagnostic tests: Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the vet may order blood tests, urinalysis, or imaging studies to evaluate the extent of the poisoning and rule out other potential causes.
  4. Treatment plan: Based on the diagnosis, the vet will develop a treatment plan, which may include inducing vomiting, administering activated charcoal to absorb the toxin, providing supportive care (such as oxygen therapy or intravenous fluids), or, in severe cases, antidote therapy.

For more information on calcium oxalate poisoning in cats, you can refer to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

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 arum plants?

A: Cats are not allergic to arum plants, but these plants are toxic to cats. Arum plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause severe irritation and inflammation if ingested.

Q: What are the symptoms of arum plant poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of arum plant poisoning in cats include oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, tongue, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. In severe cases, it can also cause pain and swelling of the mouth.

Q: Which parts of the arum plant are toxic to cats?

A: All parts of the arum plant are toxic to cats due to the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals throughout the plant.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests an arum plant?

A: If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of an arum plant, seek immediate veterinary care. Remove any plant remnants from your cat’s mouth if possible, and offer small sips of water to help rinse the mouth. Do not attempt to induce vomiting without veterinary guidance.

Q: Are there any safe alternatives to arum plants for cat owners?

A: Yes, there are many pet-safe plants that cat owners can keep instead of arum plants. Some options include spider plants, Boston ferns, and catnip. Always research a plant’s safety before bringing it into a home with cats.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from accessing arum plants?

A: To prevent your cat from accessing arum plants, remove them from your home and garden entirely. If you must keep them, place them in areas that are completely inaccessible to your cat, such as in a closed room or high shelf. Consider using deterrent sprays or physical barriers to keep your cat away from these plants.

History of the Arum Plant

The Arum maculatum, commonly known as cuckoo pint or lords-and-ladies, is a tuberous herb native to EuropeTurkey, and the Caucasus region. It belongs to the Araceae family and has been cultivated for its ornamental properties. The plant has a long history and has been associated with various cultural traditions and folklore across different regions. In the British Isles, it was known by numerous common names, reflecting its distinctive appearance and potential toxicity.

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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