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

Byzantine-style illustration of Caladium plant

Caladium, also known as elephant earangel wings, and heart of Jesus, is a popular ornamental plant that can be toxic to cats. While not technically an allergy, ingesting any part of the Caladium plant can cause severe health issues for felines.

These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which are poisonous to cats and can lead to serious complications if consumed. Caladium plants are commonly found as houseplants or in outdoor gardens and landscapes.

Toxicity level

Moderate

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests any part of a Caladium plant, they may experience various symptoms due to the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can cause intense irritation and inflammation in the mouth, tongue, throat, and digestive tract. Common symptoms of Caladium poisoning in cats include:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Decreased appetite
  • Oral pain and swelling

In rare cases, severe swelling of the upper airway can occur, making it difficult for the cat to breathe.

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested Caladium, it is crucial to contact your veterinarian immediately. Your vet will likely follow these steps to diagnose and treat your cat:

  1. Perform a thorough physical examination, paying close attention to the mouth, throat, and digestive tract.
  2. Ask questions about the cat’s recent activities, exposure to plants, and the onset of symptoms.
  3. Recommend supportive care, such as pain managementanti-inflammatory medications, and fluid therapy to prevent dehydration.
  4. In severe cases, your vet may need to provide oxygen support or perform surgery to remove any obstructions in the airway.
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 Caladium?

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

Q: Is Caladium toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Caladium is highly toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause severe symptoms and can be fatal if not treated promptly.

Q: What are the symptoms of Caladium poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Caladium poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, difficulty swallowing, and swelling of the mouth and throat. Immediate veterinary care is crucial if ingestion is suspected.

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

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Caladium 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 Caladium?

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

Q: Is Caladium commonly found in gardens?

A: Yes, Caladium is commonly found in gardens and as an ornamental plant. It is important to ensure this plant is kept out of reach of cats to prevent accidental ingestion.

History of Caladium

Caladium plants are native to South and Central America, with a history dating back to the 18th century when they were first introduced to Europe as ornamental plants. The genus Caladium belongs to the Araceae family and includes several species, with Caladium bicolor being the most widely cultivated.

Over time, numerous cultivars have been developed, showcasing a wide range of leaf colors and patterns. Today, Caladiums are popular houseplants and are also used in outdoor landscaping in warm climates

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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