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Are cats allergic to Jerusalem Cherry or is it toxic to them?

Gothic-style illustration of a Jerusalem Cherry plant

The Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum pseudocapsicum), also known as the winter cherry or natal cherry, is a highly toxic plant to cats. This ornamental houseplant, commonly found indoors especially around the holidays, contains dangerous levels of solanocapsine, a poisonous compound similar to solanine.

All parts of the Jerusalem Cherry are toxic, with the highest concentrations in the alluring red, orange, or yellow berries.

Toxicity level

Severe

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Additional image of the plant

Symptoms your cat may have

If your curious cat nibbles on a Jerusalem Cherry plant, watch out for signs of poisoning. Early symptoms may include vomitingdiarrhea, and excessive drooling due to the irritating effects on the mouth and throat. As the toxins take hold, your cat may become lethargicweak, or depressed.

In severe cases, neurological symptoms like tremorsseizuresloss of coordination, and even respiratory paralysis can occur. Other red flags include dilated pupilsrapid heartbeatdifficulty breathingjaundice, and shock.

Swift veterinary intervention is crucial to prevent potentially fatal consequences.

Potential diagnosis your Vet may give

If you suspect your cat has eaten any part of a Jerusalem Cherry plant, seek immediate veterinary care. Your vet will likely:

  1. Perform a thorough physical exam, checking vital signs and neurological function.
  2. Run blood tests to assess organ function and electrolyte balance.
  3. Administer treatments like induced vomiting, activated charcoal, IV fluids, or medications to manage symptoms and support recovery.

In severe poisoning cases, more intensive care like respiratory support or dialysis may be necessary. Your vet will guide you through the appropriate steps to give your cat the best chance at a full recovery.For more information, visit the ASPCA’s guide on Jerusalem Cherry toxicity.

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: Is Jerusalem Cherry toxic to cats?

A: Yes, Jerusalem Cherry is toxic to cats. Ingesting any part of this plant can cause symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and depression.

Q: What symptoms do cats show if they ingest Jerusalem Cherry?

A: If a cat ingests Jerusalem Cherry, it may exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and depression. These signs indicate poisoning and require immediate veterinary attention.

Q: How can I keep my cat safe from Jerusalem Cherry?

A: To keep your cat safe from Jerusalem Cherry, ensure the plant is kept out of reach at all times. Additionally, consider using barriers or deterrents to prevent your cat from accessing the plant.

Q: Are there any cat-safe alternatives to Jerusalem Cherry?

A: Yes, there are several cat-safe alternatives to Jerusalem Cherry. Consider plants like catnip, spider plants, and Boston ferns, which are non-toxic and safe for homes with cats.

Q: What should I do if my cat eats Jerusalem Cherry?

A: If your cat eats Jerusalem Cherry, contact your veterinarian immediately. Quick action is crucial to address any potential toxicity and prevent severe health issues.

Q: Why is Jerusalem Cherry harmful to cats?

A: Jerusalem Cherry is harmful to cats because it contains toxic compounds that can cause gastrointestinal distress and depression. These toxins can lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy, making it essential to seek urgent veterinary care.

History of the Jereusalem Cherry

Native to Peru and Ecuador, the Jerusalem Cherry was introduced to Europe in the 1800s as an ornamental plant. Its vibrant berries, which resemble cherry tomatoes, made it a popular choice for holiday decor.

However, the plant’s toxicity was not well-known initially. As reports of poisonings in children and pets emerged, awareness grew about the dangers lurking behind the attractive facade. Today, Jerusalem Cherry is still sold as a houseplant, but with clear warnings about its toxic nature.

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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