Toxic plants

Is Australian Ivy Palm Toxic To Cats?

Is Australian Ivy Palm Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

The Australian ivy palm or also known for its other names Schefflera, Umbrella Tree, Octopus Tree, and Starleaf contains terpenoids, saponins, insoluble oxalates which are toxic to cats and other animals. The most common effects observed in Australian ivy palm poisoning are loss of appetite, mild vomiting, and diarrhea. Ataxia and leucopenia have been recorded in very rare cases.

What Is Australian Ivy Palm?

The Australian ivy palm, scientifically known as brassaia actinophylla, is an evergreen tree that is commonly grown in temperate to tropical climates. Because it can grow up to 50 feet, it is typically used as a landscape decoration in larger gardens. Some areas in the United States consider Australian ivy palm as an invasive weed due to its aggressive growth.

Another popular house plant from the Araliaceae family, the Australian ivy palm or commonly known as the umbrella tree is native to Australia and New Guinea. It produces dull red flowers during summer which produces a large amount of nectar that attracts bees and other nectar-eating animals.

Clinical Signs of Australian Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Most Australian ivy poisoning symptoms are mild, but it is best to take your cat to the veterinarian for immediate and proper medical care. The following are clinical signs of Australian ivy poisoning to be aware of:

  • Appetite loss
  • Excessive drooling
  • Lips, mouth, and tongue are severely burned
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Diarrhea of moderate severity
  • Vomiting

First Aid and Treatment of Australian Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Replenishing your cat’s fluid is important particularly if your cat is experiencing severe diarrhea and vomiting. If your cat is at risk of swelling inside the mouth that may affect the airways, the veterinarian may give him or her diphenhydramine to reverse any swelling. Medication for stomach upset may be also given to your cat. In case of severe symptoms, the vet may require to retain your cat in his care for close monitoring. 

Recovery from Australian Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Cats who ingested Australian ivy palm are more likely to get gastrointestinal upset. Some cats developed other symptoms in a few cases, but they were able to recover with swift and proper veterinary care.

Prevention of Australian Ivy Poisoning in Cats

If Australian Ivy plants grow in your yard, it is highly recommended to remove these to keep your cat safe and prevent reoccurrence of poisoning. Acquaint yourself with the local plants that grow in your area and check if there is a presence of Australian ivy. Make sure to keep your cats busy and mentally stimulated indoors. You may also consider using a modern play fence or cat house if you do not have one yet. You should also teach your cats to stay away from certain plants which are toxic for them.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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