Toxic plants

Is Geranium or Pelargonium Toxic To Cats?

Is Geranium or Pelargonium Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Geraniums are a type of flowering plant that is typically found in gardens. Although the plant’s blooms are appealing, it is crucial to keep in mind that this plant is harmful to cats. Linalool and geraniol are the poisonous components of geranium. Geraniol is acyclic monoterpene alcohol found in geraniums, thyme, lemon balm, coriander, and palmarosa, among other plants. Its rose-like scent makes it a popular element in beauty items and insecticides alike. In humans and animals, geraniol can induce allergic dermatitis.

Linalool is terpene alcohol found in lavender, bergamot, thyme, coriander, basil, and neroli, among other plants. Ataxia, depression, vomiting, and diarrhea have all been linked to exposure to the geranium plant.

What Is Geranium or Pelargonium?

Geraniums, also known as pelargoniums, are popular indoors and in hanging baskets but also make appealing outdoor bedding plants. There are roughly 400 species of this flowering plant, which is native to South Africa. Tall stems with a cluster of vividly colorful blooms, along with little green leaves, distinguish this member of the Geraniaceae plant family. These lovely yet resilient plants come in a variety of colors including red, white, pink, and apricot. Geraniums grow best in full light and well-drained soil.

Clinical Signs of Geranium or Pelargonium Poisoning in Cats

The most common symptom of scented geranium poisoning in cats is gastrointestinal upset, however, the intensity of symptoms varies widely depending on how much plant is taken. The following are some of the most common symptoms of geranium toxicity:

  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Ataxia
  • Anorexia
  • Appetite loss
  • Dermatitis

First Aid and Treatment of Geranium or Pelargonium Poisoning in Cats

Cats suffering from geranium poisoning are treated by removing the plant from the feline to avoid further intake and removing the toxins from the cat’s system. An emetic medicine will be given to stimulate the cat to vomit in order to expel the undigested poison from its stomach. The veterinarian may also prescribe activated charcoal. Toxic compounds in the digestive tract will bond to activated charcoal, which will prevent absorption. Intravenous fluids may be used to help the cat regain his or her hydration. The vet may also give other medications as needed by your cat.

Recovery from Geranium or Pelargonium Poisoning in Cats

The outcome for geranium poisoning in cats ranges from fair to excellent, and it is highly dependent on the amount of plant material consumed. If the cat has stopped consuming any more of the toxic plant material, he or she will most likely recover in about 24 hours. As with all cases of plant toxicity, the sooner the feline is admitted to the veterinary facility, the better the chances are that she or he will heal completely.

Prevention of Geranium or Pelargonium Poisoning in Cats

Getting rid of your geraniums at home is a must to prevent your cats from exposure. You may opt to plant other cat-friendly plants that your cat can graze on. If your neighbors have geraniums in their yards, make sure that your cat stirs away from going into the area. You can also limit your cat’s access outdoors by confining them in a cat house or by installing fences and safety nets around your house.

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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