Is Cyclamen Toxic to Cats? (Symptoms & Treatments)

Yes, cyclamen is toxic to cats. This flowering perennial is part of the Primulaceae family, and it contains a toxin known as saponin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other adverse side effects in cats if ingested.

It also affects their nervous system, resulting in seizures in some cases. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that cats are kept away from cyclamen and that any plants containing it are placed out of reach. If a cat has ingested the plant, then swift veterinary attention is recommended to limit any potential health risks.

Here in this blog post, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the dangers of cyclamen to cats. I’ll discuss how it can affect them, what symptoms to watch out for, and how to help your cat if it ingests any part of this plant.

Most importantly, I will provide tips on keeping your cat safe from cyclamen poisoning in order to avoid any serious health risks in the future.

So if you have a cat and you’re thinking of bringing home cyclamen, read on to learn more about why it’s important to keep your pet away from this potentially harmful plant.

The Toxicity of Cyclamen to Cats: Various Studies

The Toxicity of Cyclamen to Cats

The potential toxicity of cyclamen to cats is a subject of interest for veterinarians and pet owners alike. While it can cause toxicosis, the severity of its effects varies significantly between individual cats. As such, studying the condition is important in order to better understand when medical attention or preventative measures may be necessary. 

One study on this topic was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019. The research involved a review of 12 cases of cyclamen intoxication in cats over a 10-year period, with all the cases being reported to the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at that university.

It was found that symptoms ranged from mild gastrointestinal distress (such as vomiting and diarrhea) to more severe effects like seizures and coma in some cases. In addition, one case ended with death due to respiratory failure caused by aspiration pneumonia. 

In another study published by researchers from Kumamoto Gakuen University (Japan) in 2020, 46 cats were observed after eating cyclamen leaves as part of their diet over a period of three months.

Symptoms were noted during each month’s observation, including anorexia, lethargy, salivation and piloerection at the beginning stages; later-stage symptoms included seizures and dysphagia (difficulty swallowing). In some cases, there were also abnormal behaviors recorded such as self-mutilation and aggression towards other pets.

Furthermore, post-mortem examinations revealed significant hepatotoxicity (liver damage) in those cats that died during the experiment. 

The results from these studies suggest that while intoxication is not common among cats consuming cyclamen plants, they are still at risk for experiencing toxicity if they consume enough leaves or flowers containing toxins within them.

Also Read: Are Carnations Toxic to Cats? (Symptoms & Treatments)

Which Part of the Cyclamen is Toxic to Cats?

It is not just the leaves and flowers of the cyclamen that cats should avoid. All parts of this plant contain toxic compounds, particularly saponins which are natural detergents found in various plants.

In addition, some varieties may also have higher concentrations of oxalates, another type of naturally-occurring toxin which can cause irritation in the mouth and digestive tract.

Therefore, cats should be prevented from interacting with any part of this plant (including roots, stems and leaves) as they can all have the potential to cause adverse health effects if ingested. 

Diagnosis of Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has been observed to consume any part of the cyclamen plant, then it is important to watch out for behavioral or physical changes that may be indicative of poisoning.

1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis

Within 1-2 hours of ingesting cyclamen, cats may start to show signs of distress. Observe the symptoms closely as it’ll help you determine the severity of intoxication in your pet.

Symptoms of Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

According to the studies, the most common symptoms associated with cyclamen poisoning in cats are:

Symptoms How to Check?
Nausea/VomitingLook for dry heaving or frequent spitting up of food
DiarrheaCheck the litter box or your cat’s bottom for signs of watery stools
SeizureNotice if your cat has any sudden movements that appear uncontrolled
IncoordinationObserve how your cat moves around the house, including when they walk or jump from heights
LethargyPay attention to how much energy your cat has – is it more tired than usual?

2. Laboratory Diagnosis

If the symptoms are severe and your cat’s condition continues to worsen, then you should seek medical help. Your vet may decide to conduct a series of tests (such as urinalysis and bloodwork) to confirm the diagnosis.

First Aid Treatment for Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

I know this may sound scary, but there are ways to help your cat if they have ingested cyclamen. Here is what you can do in case of poisoning.

1. Remove the Source of the Poisoning

If you suspect that your cat has ingested cyclamen, then the first thing to do is to remove the source of the poisoning. This may involve removing any remaining plants from your home or yard and disposing of them safely.

2. Encourage Hydration

Dehydration can be a side effect of cyclamen poisoning, so you should encourage your cat to drink lots of water or an electrolyte-replacement solution.

3. Seek Medical Help

If your cat’s symptoms are severe or if they persist for more than 24 hours, then it is best to seek medical help from a vet immediately.

Treatments for Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

Here I’ll discuss the various treatments available for cats who have ingested cyclamen plants:

1. Decontamination (Induce Vomiting)

The first step of treatment is to decontaminate your cat as soon as possible. This can be done by inducing vomiting or giving activated charcoal to absorb the toxins in their system.

I know there are many cat owners who never done induce vomiting before. So here are the steps for inducing vomiting in cats:

Step 1: Mix one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide with four cups of water

Step 2: Administer the solution orally by using a turkey baster or syringe – do not use your fingers as cats often bite when in distress.

Step 3: Allow 5-10 minutes for the peroxide to take effect and induce vomiting.

2. Symptomatic Care

Once decontamination is complete, your vet may provide symptomatic care to treat any remaining symptoms. Treatment will vary depending on the severity of intoxication, but it can include intravenous fluids, anti-nausea medications, and other supportive care.

Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics if there is a secondary infection due to the ingestion of cyclamen plants.

Recovery Stages for Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

If your cat has been diagnosed with cyclamen poisoning, then it is important to monitor their recovery closely. Here are the stages of recovery you can expect:

Stage 1: The First 24 Hours

The first 24 hours are the most critical for cats with cyclamen poisoning. It is important to monitor your cat closely and provide supportive care as needed.

Stage 2: The First Week

During this stage, your pet should start to show improvements in their symptoms. Your vet may conduct additional tests to ensure that there is no organ damage.

Stage 3: The Remaining Weeks

During the remaining weeks, your cat should continue to improve and their symptoms should gradually resolve. However, it is still important to monitor for any signs of relapse or complications.

Preventing Cyclamen Poisoning in Cats

Now that you know more about cyclamen poisoning in cats, here are some tips to help prevent it:

1. Keep Cyclamen Out of Reach

The best way to prevent your cat from ingesting cyclamen plants is to keep them out of reach. This means keeping the plants away from your cat’s living areas and only allowing them access when you or another family member is present.

Here are some additional tips for keeping plants out of reach:

  • Place the plants in a high spot that your cat cannot easily access.
  • Use a hanging basket or shelf to keep them away from your cat’s reach.
  • If possible, use a closed terrarium or aquarium to contain the cyclamen and prevent access by your cat.

2. Use a Repellent Spray

You can also use a repellent spray to keep your cat away from the plants. Make sure to use a natural, non-toxic product that is safe for cats and other pets. However, you can use some home remedies like citrus peels or vinegar to keep cats away from the plants. Here are some tips on how to use a repellent spray:

  • Spray the plants with the repellent every day or whenever you notice that your cat is trying to access them.
  • You can also spray around the perimeter of the plant to create an invisible barrier that your cat cannot cross. Just make sure to reapply as needed.

3. Provide an Alternative Source of Food

Finally, it is important to provide your cat with a balanced and nutritious diet to keep them from scavenging for food around the house. Cats are naturally curious and they may be tempted to snack on plants or other items if they are feeling hungry.

So make sure to provide your cat with plenty of toys and treats that will keep them interested and engaged.

My Final Thoughts

Cyclamen poisoning in cats is a serious and potentially fatal condition. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of cyclamen poisoning so that you can take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening.

If your cat does ingest cyclamen, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to provide the necessary treatment and supportive care to help your cat make a full recovery.

Finally, it is important to take measures to prevent cyclamen poisoning in cats by keeping cyclamen plants out of reach and providing alternative sources of food. By following these steps, you can keep your cat safe from this dangerous condition.

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