Toxic plants

Is Black Nightshade Toxic To Cats?

Is Black Nightshade Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Black nightshade, often known as Deadly nightshade or just nightshade, is deadly to cats and grows as a weed in damp habitats in a variety of soils. Black nightshades contain a chemical component called steroidal glycoalkaloid solanine, which breaks down into free steroidal alkaloids when digested. By inhibiting receptors, these alkaloids influence the neurological system’s response, resulting in hallucinations. In addition, black nightshade has poisons that damage other regions of the body.

What Is Black Nightshade?

This poisonous plant scientifically known as Solanum nigrum from the Solanaceae family has leaves with wavy margins and an ovate form and a solitary stem that stands 15-60 cm tall. Clusters of white to pale blue flowers bloom from July to September while round-shaped berries in red or black colors appear in late summer to fall. It originated from Europe but is now cultivated in the Americas, Australasia, and Africa.

Clinical Signs of Black Nightshade Poisoning in Cats

Black nightshade poisoning symptoms often develop in cats within six to twelve hours after intake. If your cat shows any signs of black nightshade poisoning, contact a veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment. Look out for the following clinical signs that may appear.

  • Appetite loss
  • Bloat
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling excessively
  • Jaundice
  • Trembling
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

First Aid and Treatment of Black Nightshade Poisoning in Cats

Just like other poisoning cases that affect the cat’s respiratory system, the main focus during treating black nightshade poisoning is to address all symptoms and provide support to the respiratory system.

Inducing vomiting can remove most of the toxins out of the cat. Do not try inducing vomit by yourself at home. Consult a veterinarian for professional care and safety.

Your cat can be given activated charcoal to help neutralize the effects of toxins in the digestive tract. The vet may administer intravenous fluids containing electrolytes that  can aid in the cat’s stabilization. If the disease is serious, feeding tubes and oxygen supplements may be required. If the cat is suffering from seizures, diazepam may be given.

Recovery from Black Nightshade Poisoning in Cats

The cat’s recovery will be influenced by how much black nightshade was consumed and how long it took for treatment to be initiated.  If the cat just ate a little bit of the plant, he or she will most likely recover within a few hours after receiving supportive care and treatment.  Black nightshade poisoning can be fatal if it causes respiratory issues or significant organ damage.

Prevention of Black Nightshade Poisoning in Cats

Avoid another incident of black nightshade exposure by removing this plant from your yard. If there are black nightshades that grow in your area, minimize your cat’s activity outside your home. Ensure that your cat stays at home by keeping him or her occupies indoors. Install fences and safety nets around your house to minimize the chance of your cat straying away far from your home.

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.

Leave a Comment