Toxic plants

Is Laurel Toxic To Cats?

Is Laurel Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Laurel is an evergreen shrub that is extensively grown for its gorgeous blossoms. While this plant has lovely blooms that complement your décor, you should avoid planting it if you have a feline companion. Laurel plants contain toxic elements that can harm your cat.  Grayanotoxins are toxins found in laurel plants that can alter sodium channels in the body, causing severe injury to the heart and skeletal system.

Ingestion of a part of the laurel plant may cause cats to display symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness among others. Once you notice these signs, you must act right away and take your cat to a veterinarian as swift as possible.

What Is Laurel?

Laurel, scientifically known as kalmia latifolia, is a flowering plant that is endemic to the eastern United States and belongs to the Ericaceae plant family. Its species has a range that extends from southern Maine to northern Florida, as well as west to Indiana and Louisiana. 

Laurel plants can be found in open rocky or sandy woodlands, chilly meadows, balds, mountain slopes, acidic forests, and woodland margins, among other places. As a thick, rounded shrub, it can grow to be six to ten feet tall, opening up and growing gnarly branches with age. It will rarely grow to 32 feet tall as a little tree, especially on Appalachian Mountain slopes.

Clinical Signs of Laurel Poisoning in Cats

Even a minimal amount of laurel plant consumption might cause major complications for cats. The following are some of the most typical symptoms of laurel poisoning:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation
  • Low blood pressure
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Laurel Poisoning in Cats

The vet will begin treatment after doing physical examinations and maybe certain laboratory testing. The vet’s first course of action will almost certainly be to induce vomiting. This is done to get rid of any remaining laurel plant in your cat’s stomach. After the vomiting has ceased, the vet can give your cat an activated charcoal to absorb any toxins that haven’t yet made their way into his circulation. The vet may need to deliver activated charcoal many times over the next several hours, depending on how much plant material your cat has swallowed. A gastric lavage, which is a medical procedure that washes the stomach cavity to remove any poisons that remain on the stomach’s lining, can also be performed by the veterinarian.

To avoid dehydration and aid in the elimination of toxins, intravenous fluid treatment may be required. If your cat is having difficulty in breathing, the veterinarian may recommend respiratory support until his health improves. Other medications such as sodium blockers like quinidine or isoproterenol can also be administered to your cat.

Recovery from Laurel Poisoning in Cats

Once your cat is allowed to go home, keep him or her in a calm and comfortable environment while his body recuperates from the stressful experience. Consult your veterinarian about switching his diet to gentler foods that won’t irritate his stomach right after therapy.

The outlook of a cat’s recovery from laurel poisoning may vary depending on the extremities of his condition but as long as your cat made it to the veterinary clinic or hospital in time and was able to receive proper and immediate treatment, he or she has a high chance of full recovery.

Prevention of Laurel Poisoning in Cats

As long as you do not have a laurel plant at home, keeping your cat indoors is the best way to prevent another poisoning episode. Ensure that your home is cat-friendly and maintain your cat in good health condition.

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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