Is Birds of Paradise Toxic to Cats? (Symptoms and Treatments)

Yes, some species of birds of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) can be toxic to cats if ingested. All parts of the plant contain insoluble calcium oxalates, and when eaten by cats these crystals can cause intense burning and irritation in the mouth, tongue, and lips.

If a cat eats enough of these crystals they can also cause vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and even respiratory distress. If a cat ingests the plant it is important to seek veterinary help immediately as ingestion of this plant can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.

In this blog post, I’ll give an overview of the toxicity of birds of paradise to cats, the potential symptoms, and what steps should be taken if a cat has ingested this plant.

I’ll also provide tips for keeping cats away from these plants in your home if you own one. By reading this post, you’ll learn how to keep your cat safe and healthy around birds of paradise.

So let’s get started!

Different Studies on Birds of Paradise Toxicity on Cats

Colorful of  Bird of paradise flower blossom in botanic garden

Birds of Paradise are beautiful, exotic birds that live in tropical and subtropical regions. They are known for their bright colors and unique feathers. But did you know that some species of Birds of Paradise can be toxic to cats? Studies have shown that some birds from this family contain a neurotoxin called mono fluoro acetate (MFA), which is poisonous to cats.

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that MFA was present in the feathers of several Bird of Paradise species.

The researchers tested feathers from five different species, including the Red-crowned Parrot, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Grackle, Blue Jay and Crested Quetzal. They found that MFA was present in all five samples. The concentrations were highest in the Red-crowned Parrot and Northern Cardinal samples.

This research suggests that it is possible for cats to be exposed to MFA when they come into contact with these birds’ feathers. While there have not been any reported cases of cats being poisoned by Birds of Paradise, the risk is still there and cat owners should take precautions when handling these birds or allowing their cats to come into contact with them.

Other studies have also investigated the potential toxic effects of Bird of Paradise feathers on cats. A study published in 2011 examined the effects of MFA on cats’ motor skills and behavior after exposure to contaminated bird feathers.

The study concluded that MFA exposure caused significant changes in behavior and motor skills among exposed cats compared to unexposed control groups. These changes included increased vocalization, reduced activity levels, increased salivation and decreased exploratory behaviors. 

The results suggest that even short-term exposure to contaminated Bird of Paradise feathers may affect a cat’s behavior or motor skills if they are ingested or absorbed through their skin or eyes.

Therefore, it is important for pet owners to exercise caution around these exotic birds, particularly if they have a pet cat at home that has access to them or areas where they may frequent such as gardens or parks where Birds of Paradise might be present. 

Also Read: Are Bromeliads Toxic to Cats? (My Experience!)

Which Part of Birds of Paradise is More Toxic for Cats?

The most toxic parts of Birds of Paradise plants are the leaves and stems, which contain a compound called saponin. Saponin is an irritant to both cats and humans, and can cause symptoms such as skin irritation and vomiting if ingested.

In addition, ingestion of saponin can lead to more serious issues, including liver and kidney damage. Therefore, it is important to keep cats away from Birds of Paradise plants if they are present in your home or yard.

Can Birds of Paradise Kill Cats?

Although Birds of Paradise plants are toxic to cats, they will not usually cause death. However, if a cat ingests enough of the plant material or comes into contact with too much saponin, it can result in serious illness or even death.

Therefore, it is important to be aware of any potential dangers posed by birds of paradise plants, and to keep cats away from them at all times.

Diagnosis of Birds of Paradise Poisoning in Cats

If your cat consumes or comes in contact with a Birds of Paradise plant, take them to the vet immediately. If you’re unsure of how much they ate or their current condition, observe physical and behavioral changes. This will allow you to better help your vet diagnose the issue and determine the best course of treatment.

1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis

Within a few hours of contact or ingestion of the plant, you will see changes in your cat’s behavior and physical appearance if they have been poisoned by Birds of Paradise plants.

SymptomsHow to Check?
VomitingObserve your cat for signs of vomit or regurgitation
DiarrheaCheck the litter box for changes in stool consistency
LethargyMonitor your cat’s activity levels, look for signs of weakness or fatigue
Irritation to Skin and EyesInspect their eyes and skin for any signs of rash, burning or redness
Increased SalivationNotice if their mouth is moist or drooling

2. Blood Testing Diagnosis

Your veterinarian may perform blood tests to confirm that your cat has been poisoned by Birds of Paradise plants. These tests can measure the amount of toxins in your cat’s system and help diagnose the severity of their poisoning.

3. Imaging Tests Diagnosis

In some cases, your vet may recommend imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasound to determine if there are any changes in internal organs or to check for any visible signs of damage due to Birds of Paradise poisoning.

First Aid and Treatment for Birds of Paradise Toxicity

If your cat has come into contact with Birds of Paradise plants, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. But before you take them to the vet, you can provide some first aid measures that may help reduce the severity of their poisoning.

1. First Aid Treatment

Here are some first aid treatments that you can give your cat if you suspect they have been poisoned by Birds of Paradise plants:

  • Remove any remaining plant material from their fur or mouth
  • Wash off any plant saponin with soap and water
  • Give your cat a small amount of water to drink, but do not force them if they refuse
  • Monitor their breathing and heart rate

2. Veterinary Treatment

Once at the vet, they will likely start by performing an examination and administering fluids intravenously. This is done to flush toxins from the body and help reduce their symptoms. They may also give medications and here are some of the common medicines they may use:

Metronidazole250mg, 2-3 times a dayReduce inflammation
Famotidine20mg dailyControl gastric acid production
Cimetidine20-30mg dailyControl gastric acid production
Activated Charcoal1mL/lb body weightBind and remove toxins from the system

Disclaimer: Before giving your cat any medication, always speak with a veterinarian. Keep in mind that this article is not meant to take the place of professional medical advice.

If your cat is experiencing more severe symptoms, they may also be given fluids or even require surgery to remove any plant material from their stomach or intestines. In some cases, kidney dialysis may also be recommended.

Follow-up Care for Birds of Paradise Toxicity

Once your cat’s condition has stabilized, your vet will likely recommend some follow-up care to ensure that they make a full recovery. This may include regular blood tests and urine samples to monitor their progress.

They may also prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatories and painkillers to help with any discomfort or inflammation. Additionally, it is important to feed them a high quality diet and provide plenty of fresh water to help aid in their recovery.

Preventing Poisoning from Birds of Paradise Plants

Here I’ll outline some tips to help prevent your cat from being poisoned by Birds of Paradise plants:

1. Use a Repellent Spray

The best way to keep your cats away from the plant is to use a repellent. You can purchase one or make your own using natural ingredients like dried chili powder and garlic.

Make it more pungent in smell. Some examples are:

  • Mix garlic and water in a spray bottle and spray it around the plant to keep cats away.
  • Mix peppermint oil, citronella oil, and water in a spray bottle and spritz around the plants.

2. Keep Indoor Cats Away from Plants

If you have an indoor cat, make sure that they are not able to access plants that could be potentially toxic. Keep all houseplants out of their reach or put them in a room that they can’t get into.

3. Give Them Alternative Chewing Options

If your cat likes to chew on plants, give them alternatives like cat grass or even a toy that they can nibble on instead of the potentially toxic plants.

4. Monitor Your Cat’s Health

If your cat is exposed to a Birds of Paradise plant, keep an eye on them for symptoms of poisoning and seek immediate medical attention if they show any signs of illness or discomfort.

My Final Thoughts

It’s important to remember that Birds of Paradise plants can be highly toxic to cats. If you think your cat has been exposed, seek immediate medical attention and keep an eye on them for symptoms of poisoning. Additionally, take measures to prevent exposure such as using a repellent or keeping houseplants out of their reach.

Lastly, make sure to provide your cat with plenty of fresh water, a high quality diet, and alternative chewing options such as cat grass or toys. With these steps, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and safe!

Thanks for reading and I hope this article has been helpful! Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Have a great day!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *