Toxic plants

Is Cardboard Palm or Cycad Toxic To Cats?

Is Cardboard Palm or Cycad Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Cardboard palm or commonly known as cycad is a popular landscaping plant that is found to contain cycasin which is harmful to cats when ingested. Cycasin is a carcinogenic toxin that causes mutation of genetic material. If a cat consumed a part of cardboard palm, he or she may suffer from abdominal pain, vomiting, dark stools, diarrhea, and jaundice among other symptoms of cardboard palm poisoning.

What Is Cardboard Palm or Cycad?

Cardboard palm or scientifically known as zamia is a sturdy landscape plant with rigid, cardboard textured leaves that is native to Mexico. The leaves grow in a circular arrangement, similar to palms, and are tall and horizontal. While it may look like a palm, and its name also suggests the same, cardboard palm is actually a cycad which may have a resemblance with palms but they are actually two different plant species.

Clinical Signs of Cardboard Palm or Cycad Poisoning in Cats

The symptoms of cardboard palm poisoning might be fatal. If you catch your cat eating cardboard palm, take him or her to the clinic right away and don’t wait for symptoms to appear. You should note the typical symptoms of cardboard palm poisoning as follows:

  • Vomiting with blood
  • Diarrhea
  • Dark feces
  • Excessive thirst
  • Jaundice
  • Bruising 
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

First Aid and Treatment of Cardboard Palm or Cycad Poisoning in Cats

In most cases of cardboard palm poisoning, cats are taken to the hospital overnight for up to a few days to have their status properly monitored. Your cat’s needs will be met by the veterinarian’s care. Vomit induction, IV hydration therapy, and activated charcoal are all possible treatments. Your cat may need a plasma transfusion if he or she is suffering from a serious illness. In cases of liver failure, the veterinarian may prescribe drugs to help manage and improve liver function.

Recovery from Cardboard Palm or Cycad Poisoning in Cats

The speed with which the poisoning was discovered and treated can affect your cat’s recovery. Once you get home, make sure your cat has a quiet space to recuperate and keep him or her warm and comfortable. Be sure to stick with the post-treatment care as advised by the veterinarian. Dietary modifications might be needed by your cat particularly if he or she is suffering from liver failure.

Prevention of Cardboard Palm or Cycad Poisoning in Cats

Avoid bringing in and growing cardboard palms or cycads within the vicinity of your home. If there are cardboard palms growing in your neghborhood, ensure that your cat will stir away from going into that location. To restrict your cat from wandering away from home, keep him or her occupied indoors.

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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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