Toxic plants

Is Bay Laurel Toxic To Cats?

Is Bay Laurel Toxic To Cats?
Written by Clair Chesterman

Bay laurel or also commonly known for its other names Sweet Bag, Bay Tree, Tree Laurel, Laurel Tree, and Laurel, is a common garden plant that can be toxic for cats. Bay laurel contains eugenol and other essential oils that cause damage to tissues and release oxidizing agents in your cat’s bloodstream. This is dangerous as this may cause a malfunction in your cat’s organs, particularly in the liver.

What Is Bay Laurel?

Scientifically known as Laurus nobilis from the family of Lauraceae, bay laurel is native to the Mediterranean region. The garland of honor worn on the heads of heroes in ancient Greece was composed of laurel leaves and branches. Nowadays, bay laurel leaves are commonly used to enhance flavor in cooking, thus, bay laurel is now grown in other countries with temperate climates.

Bay laurel grows high that can reach heights of up to sixty feet. It has stiff and dull oval leaves with smooth, often wavy edges that are three to four inches long. It produces small yellowish to greenish-white flowers and a berry fruit that is green, purple, or blackish.

Clinical Signs of Bay Laurel Poisoning in Cats

The presence of eugenol and other essential oils within the bay laurel is the main cause of bay laurel poisoning. When swallowed, eugenol passes through the liver, causing damage to the surrounding tissues and the production of oxidizing agents. This can be exceedingly harmful to many of your cat’s liver cells, causing them to not only malfunction but also perish. When a cat eats bay laurel leaves, it develops a number of distinct poisoning symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive obstruction
  • Damage to the digestive tract
  • Damage to the liver

First Aid and Treatment of Bay Laurel Poisoning in Cats

In the majority of cases of bay laurel poisoning in cats, intravenous fluid treatment is usually all that is required. This still depends though on your cat’s condition. Medication for vomiting and stomach upset may be also given to your cat. The vet may choose to insert a feeding tube down the esophagus or directly into the stomach in cats with liver failure. This allows the cat to drink little amounts of liquid food while avoiding serious illness. Your cat will recover in a few weeks to a month if there are no other difficulties and he or she has received prompt veterinarian care. 

Recovery from Bay Laurel Poisoning in Cats

In the majority of cases of bay laurel poisoning in cats, intravenous fluid treatment is usually all that is required. The vet may choose to insert a feeding tube down the esophagus or directly into the stomach in cats with liver failure. This allows the cat to drink little amounts of liquid food while avoiding serious illness. Your cat will recover in a few weeks to a month if there are no other difficulties and he or she has received prompt veterinarian care.

Prevention of Bay Laurel Poisoning in Cats

Avoid areas that are known to grow bay laurel trees. If you use bay laurel leaves in your cooking, make sure that you keep them in a place that your cat cannot access or you can just stop using them. As much as possible, keep your cats occupied indoors to prevent them from straying far from your house.

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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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