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Are cats allergic to Common Privet or is it toxic to them?

Byzantine-style illustration of a common privet plant with green leaves and small white flowers.

Common privet (Ligustrum vulgare) is a flowering shrub commonly used for hedges and landscaping. Unfortunately, privet contains compounds called terpenoid glycosides that are toxic to cats.

Privet is considered mildly poisonous and can cause irritation and digestive issues if ingested by cats. The leaves and berries are the most toxic parts. Privet is widely cultivated and can be found in many gardens, parks, and along fences or property borders.

Toxicity level

Low

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If a cat ingests privet leaves or berries, it may experience the following symptoms:

  • Mouth irritation
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of coordination
  • Death (very rare)

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has ingested privet, contact your veterinarian immediately. Provide them with a sample of the plant for identification if possible. Your vet will likely:

  1. Perform a physical exam and take a history
  2. Run lab work to check organ function and electrolyte balance
  3. Provide supportive care such as fluids, anti-nausea medication, and activated charcoal to bind any remaining toxins
  4. Monitor your cat closely and provide further treatment if needed
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 Common Privet?

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

Q: Is Common Privet toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Common Privet 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 Common Privet poisoning in cats?

A: Symptoms of Common Privet poisoning in cats include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, and abdominal pain. In severe cases, it can cause difficulty breathing and coordination problems. Immediate veterinary care is recommended if ingestion is suspected.

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

A: To prevent contact, ensure that Common Privet 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 Common Privet?

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

Q: Is Common Privet commonly found in gardens?

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

History of the Common Privet

Privet is native to Europe, North Africa and parts of Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 1700s as an ornamental shrub and for hedges.

Since then, some privet species have escaped cultivation and become invasive in parts of the U.S., outcompeting native vegetation. Despite this, privet continues to be a popular landscaping plant.

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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