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Are cats allergic to Bread and Butter Plant or is it toxic to them?

Byzantine-style illustration of Coleus amboinicus plant

The Coleus amboinicus, also known as Indian boragecountry borage, or Mexican mint, is a perennial herb native to parts of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India.

It is widely cultivated in tropical regions around the world for its ornamental, culinary, and medicinal uses. However, this plant contains essential oils that are toxic to cats. Toxins include Phenols, Terpenes, Ketones, Tannins, Saponins, Alkaloids, Gastrointestinal irritants. 

Toxicity level

Moderate

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If your cat has eaten or brushed against Coleus amboinicus, watch for these signs of toxicity:

  • Skin irritation, redness, and burns especially on the face and mouth
  • Excessive drooling and pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting, which may contain blood
  • Diarrhea, possibly bloody
  • Lethargy and weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Strange behavior
  • Difficulty breathing in severe cases

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

Suspect Coleus amboinicus poisoning if your cat shows the above symptoms and had access to this plant. Your vet will likely follow these steps to diagnose toxicity from Indian borage:

  1. Perform a physical exam to check for symptoms like skin irritation, drooling, and breathing difficulty.
  2. Ask about any houseplants you have and potential exposure.
  3. Run blood and urine tests to assess organ function and check for internal damage.
  4. Make a diagnosis based on history, symptoms, and test results.

Treatment may include inducing vomiting, giving activated charcoal, IV fluids, anti-vomiting medications, and supportive care. Prognosis is good with prompt treatment before severe symptoms develop.

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 Bread and Butter Plant?

A: Yes, cats can be allergic to Bread and Butter Plant. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include itching, sneezing, and skin irritation.

Q: Is Bread and Butter Plant toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Bread and Butter Plant is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling.

Q: What are the symptoms of Bread and Butter Plant poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Bread and Butter Plant poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if ingestion is suspected.

Q: How can I prevent my cat from coming into contact with Bread and Butter Plant?

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Bread and Butter Plant is not present in your home or garden. Keep your cat indoors or monitor outdoor activities closely to avoid exposure.

Q: What should I do if my cat ingests Bread and Butter Plant?

A: If your cat ingests Bread and Butter Plant, contact your veterinarian immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a veterinary professional. Immediate medical attention is necessary.

Q: Is Bread and Butter Plant commonly found in gardens?

A: Bread and Butter Plant is more commonly found in wild areas rather than home gardens. However, if you do have this plant in your vicinity, it is important to ensure it is kept out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion.

History of the Bread and Butter Plant

Coleus amboinicus is native to parts of Africa, India, and the Arabian Peninsula. It was introduced to Europe and then the Americas, earning names like Spanish thyme and Mexican mint, although it is not related to those plants.

Many cultivars are grown as ornamental plants for their colorful leaves. The plant has a long history of use in traditional medicine in India and Southeast Asia to treat various ailments.

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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