Toxic plants

Is Boxwood Toxic To Cats?

Is Boxwood Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Boxwood plant contains alkaloids namely buxine, cyclobuxine, and cylcoprotobuxine which are poisonous to cats. If a large amount of the plant is ingested, it can be lethal, however, this is uncommon. The plant is also exceedingly bitter, preventing most animals from consuming considerable amounts of it. When a cat ingests a part of the boxwood plant, it usually causes vomiting and diarrhea among other symptoms.  It is also worth noting that even after the plant has been dried, it is still poisonous.

What Is Boxwood?

Scientifically known as Buxus from the Buxaceae family, Boxwood is a flowering evergreen shrub native to western and southern Europe. The leaves and bark extracts of boxwood were once utilized in perfumes. Its leaves are also used in traditional medicine to cure toothaches and illness. The leaves were also powdered and  applied to hair to get an auburn hue. Nowadays, it is primarily utilized in gardening and shrubbery, as well as bonsai. Because of its small leaves, evergreen habit, tolerance of tight shearing, and aromatic foliage, boxwood remains a favorite ornamental plant in gardens, especially for topiary and hedges.

Clinical Signs of Boxwood Poisoning in Cats

While it is rare for cats to ingest a huge portion of boxwood plant due to its taste, it is still best to see a veterinarian if your cat consumed boxwood plant or if he or she is showing any poisoning symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Intense gas
  • Agitation
  • Lethargy 
  • Convulsions 
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Paralysis 

First Aid and Treatment of Boxwood Poisoning in Cats

Your cat will receive veterinary care to address the symptoms he or she is experiencing and, if necessary, to assist stabilize the cat. To facilitate healing, everything should be done to keep the cat comfortable.

Remove all of the leaf debris from the cat’s mouth if you caught it devouring a boxwood shrub. The vet may induce vomiting to eliminate any residue of toxins from your cat’s system. 

If the cat’s condition is serious, he or she will need to be admitted to the hospital. After an extended period of vomiting or diarrhea, intravenous fluid treatment may be required to thoroughly hydrate the cat.  Medications may be also prescribed by the veterinarian accordingly as needed by your cat.

Recovery from Boxwood Poisoning in Cats

In most cases, ingesting boxwood plants has no serious adverse effects or long-term consequences in cats. After the acute sickness has subsided, the majority of cats who have consumed boxwood recover completely. If your veterinarian advised a change in your cat’s diet, make sure to follow his advice. Make your cat comfortable at home so he or she can recuperate quickly.

Prevention of Boxwood Poisoning in Cats

To keep your cat safe from boxwood poisoning make sure to limit or eliminate all contact with the said plant. Keeping your cat inside will protect it from being exposed to boxwood or other toxic plants in your neighbors’ gardens. Utilize your cat playpens or cat houses or build fences and install safety nets around your house to restrict your cat from going outside. Before putting any plant arrangements into your home, make sure they do not include toxic plants.

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