Are Croton Plants Toxic to Cats? (Symptoms & Treatments)

Yes, croton plants are toxic to cats. All parts of the croton plant are considered poisonous if ingested and can cause serious health issues including gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia and hypersalivation.

Cats that have ingested any part of a croton plant should be taken to the vet immediately as they may require medical attention. It is important to note that the sap from the leaves of a croton plant can be particularly irritating to cats and can cause skin problems if it comes into contact with their fur or skin.

So here in this blog post, I’ll discuss what exactly makes croton plants toxic to cats, how to spot the signs of poisoning, and other important safety information. I’ll also go over what treatments your vet may recommend if your cat has been poisoned.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of why croton plants are so hazardous to cats and what you can do to keep your furry family members safe. So read on for more information about why these plants pose a serious risk to our feline friends.

Different Studies on Croton Plants Toxicity on Cats

Tropical plant on a white background with shadow.

There is a wide range of plants that cats can get into trouble with, and crotons are one of the most toxic plants to cats. According to research conducted by veterinarians at Cornell University, ingesting even a small amount of crotons can cause severe gastrointestinal problems in cats.

These toxic effects include vomiting, diarrhea, anorexia and depression. The active toxin in crotons is called tigliane diterpenoid esters, which can be found in all parts of the plant including the leaves, stems and berries.

This deadly combination is what causes severe damage to a cat’s digestive system when ingested. Even when the plant is burned or dried out it still contains enough toxins to cause serious issues for felines.

In one study conducted by the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, researchers examined the effects of croton ingestion on laboratory cats. Unfortunately, all 16 cats that were tested experienced some degree of toxicity upon ingestion of the plant material. All cats developed signs such as anorexia, vomiting, depression and dehydration within a few hours after being fed the poisoned food pellets containing croton leaves.

Only half of them recovered completely after treatment while 8 others had to be euthanized due to their symptoms becoming critical and untreatable over time. 

Another research conducted by veterinarians at Texas A&M University studied the effect of croton ingestion on 28 cats over a period of three months. Out of these 28 cats, 19 showed no signs or symptoms whereas 9 did develop vomiting, anorexia and lethargy although none needed medical intervention beyond supportive care from their owners or guardians.

The researchers found that all parts of the plant contain tigliane alkaloids, which are poisonous for cats. If a cat eats a lot of the plant, or if it is not treated right away, it can die.

Also Read: Is Lucky Bamboo Toxic to Cats? (Symptoms & Treatments)

Which Part of the Croton Plants is More Toxic to Cats?

The leaves of the croton plant contain more tigliane alkaloids than any other part, making them the most toxic. The stems and fruits are also poisonous but in lower doses.

This means that if a cat eats any part of the plant, it will be exposed to toxins and may become ill. The amount of toxins ingested will depend on the size of the cat and how much of the plant material was eaten.

It is important to note that even if your cat is only exposed to small amounts of croton, it can still suffer from toxicity depending on its sensitivity and health status. 

Diagnosis of Croton Plants Toxicity on Cats

If you’re unsure of how much croton your cat ate, make an appointment with the vet and explain the situation. But before going, it’s important to observe any behavioral or physical changes as they will help the vet diagnose the issue more accurately.

1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis

Symptoms generally appear within 12-24 hours after ingestion and may require immediate veterinary attention in order to prevent any long term effects from occurring.

Symptoms of Croton Plants Toxicity in Cats

After your cat has been exposed to croton plants, here are some symptoms you may observe and how to confirm them.

SymptomsHow to Check?
VomitingLook for signs of vomiting such as the presence of uneaten food in the litter box.
DiarrheaCheck your cat’s feces to see if there is watery or bloody stools present.
AnorexiaIf your cat’s appetite has decreased, offer them food and monitor their intake.
DepressionObserve your cat’s activity level and whether they are as active as usual.
DehydrationCheck if your cat is drinking more water than normal, or if there is dryness of the skin in certain areas.

2. Medical Diagnosis

Now that you’ve observed the symptoms, it’s time for your vet to perform a medical diagnosis.

The vet will start by taking a full history and physical exam of your cat in order to check for any signs of toxicity from the ingestion of croton plants.

If the vet suspects that your cat has ingested enough of the plants to cause harm, they may also order testing such as blood work or a urinalysis in order to confirm their diagnosis.

First Aid and Treatment of Croton Plants Toxicity in Cats

Once it has been confirmed that your cat is suffering from toxicity due to the ingestion of croton plants, you’ll need to get them treated as soon as possible. But in mid-treatment, it’s important to give your cat supportive care and first aid.

1. First Aid Treatment

If you know that your cat has ingested croton plants, it is important to take action as soon as possible. Here are a few steps you can take.

  • Check if your cat is drinking more water than normal, or if there is dryness of the skin in certain areas.
  • If it has been less than two hours since your cat ingested the plant material, you can induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide.
  • If it has been more than two hours, you should not try to induce vomiting as the toxins have likely already been absorbed by your cat’s system.
  • Give your cat plenty of water and monitor their hydration status.
  • Try to keep your cat calm and comfortable until you can get to the vet.

2. Medical Treatment

Once your cat has been seen by the vet, they will provide the necessary treatment based on the severity of your cat’s symptoms. Here some medical treatments that may be recommended.

Metronidazole0.5-2mg/poundTo reduce the effects of bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract
Omeprazole0.25-1mg/poundTo reduce acid production in the stomach
Cimetidine 1-4mg/poundTo reduce stomach acid production
Activated Charcoal1-4g/poundTo absorb and reduce the amount of toxins absorbed by the body

Disclaimer: The following article is for informational purposes only and does not replace professional veterinarian advice. Always consult your vet before giving your pet any medication.

Your vet may also recommend fluid therapy if your cat is dehydrated and has lost electrolytes due to vomiting and diarrhea. IV fluids can help to replenish these electrolytes and provide your cat with the necessary hydration.

Recovery Stages for Cats Exposed to Croton Plants

Once your cat has received the necessary medical treatment, their recovery will begin. Here are some stages of recovery you can expect for cats exposed to croton plants.

a. Stage 1: Initial Phase (1-3 days)

During this stage, your cat may still be showing symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea. Your vet may also continue with fluid therapy and medications to help reduce the symptoms.

b. Stage 2: Resolution Phase (3-7 days)

During this stage, your cat’s symptoms should start to improve, but they may still be weak and tired. Be sure to give your cat plenty of rest during this phase and offer them small amounts of food as they recover.

c. Stage 3: Recovery Phase (7+ days)

At this stage, your cat should be feeling better and their appetite will return to normal. Make sure to monitor their activity level and keep an eye out for any changes in behavior or body condition that may indicate a relapse.

How to Prevent Toxicity from Croton Plants in Cats?

It is important to take steps to prevent your cat from ingesting any parts of a croton plant. Here are some ways you can do this:

1. Use Repellents Sprays

You can purchase natural repellents that are safe for cats and spray them on any croton plants in your garden or home. Besides, you can make your own natural repellents using essential oils that cats generally dislike, such as citrus or peppermint.

2. Physically Block Access

If your cat is known to nibble on plants, you can place physical barriers around the croton plant to keep them away. You can put netting around the plants or even wrap the stems with foil to make it difficult for your cat to access and ingest any parts of the plant.

3. Train Your Cat

You can also train your cat not to eat houseplants by using positive reinforcement techniques such as treats and praise when they leave a plant alone.

4. Remove Crotons From Your Home

If possible, it is best to remove any croton plants from your home or garden altogether as they can be dangerous for cats if ingested.

My Final Thoughts

If your cat has been exposed to croton plants, it is important that you seek immediate medical help from a veterinarian. The vet will be able to provide the necessary treatments and supportive care for your pet in order to ensure a full recovery.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure! Keep your cats away from plants like croton and ensure that they are always supervised while outdoors. Also, make sure to familiarize yourself with other toxic plants and monitor your cat’s environment for any signs of danger. With the right care and attention, you can keep your cats safe from harm.

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has been helpful in educating you about croton plant toxicity and the steps you can take to keep your cat safe.

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