Toxic plants

Is Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Toxic To Cats?

Is Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Lemon verbena or also commonly known as lemon beebrush does not usually cause harm to felines unless ingested in a large quantity. The toxic components found in lemon verbena are essential oils that cannot be digested by cats, thus, resulting in stomach upset, colic, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

What Is Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush?

Lemon verbena, or Aloysia triphylla as it is scientifically known, is a flowering plant native to South America and naturalized in northern Africa, southern Europe, and Iran. The leaves and blooming tips of lemon verbena are used to create medication. This plant from the Verbenaceae family is also known for its usage as a fragrance in perfumes and as an ingredient in herbal teas and alcoholic beverages.

Lemon verbena is a shrub or subshrub that grows to be seven to 10 feet tall. When crushed, the glossy, pointy leaves produce a distinct lemon aroma and are slightly abrasive to the touch. 

Although potted lemon verbenas may not flower, sprays of tiny purple or white flowers develop in late spring or early summer. In tropical climates, it is evergreen, however, it is cold-tolerant, dropping leaves at temperatures below 0 degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). Spring pruning is recommended to promote a bushy shape. It is often recognized and marketed as a plant for the herb garden due to its various culinary uses.

Clinical Signs of Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Poisoning in Cats

Eating a small portion of lemon verbena is typically safe for cats. If the plant is only used in small quantities for cooking purposes such as flavoring, it will not cause harm as it only contains a low level of toxicity. However, cat owners should not be complacent and it is still safer to totally stay away from lemon verbena plants. If your cat has consumed a huge amount of lemon verbena, the following clinical signs may show:

  • Colic
  • Stomach upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Drooling

First Aid and Treatment of Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Poisoning in Cats

For a better diagnosis, it is always best to consult a veterinarian in any case of poisoning. The vet may give symptomatic and supportive treatment to ease the cat’s pain and discomfort. Inducing vomit, giving activated charcoal, performing gastric lavage, and intravenous fluid therapy are some of the typical treatments that veterinarians provide to cats suffering from lemon verbena poisoning.

Recovery from Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Poisoning in Cats

In majority of lemon verbena poisoning cases, cats fully recuperate as soon as the symptoms subside. After treatment, make sure to ask your veterinarian if there are any post-treatment care that you should provide your cat once you are at home.

Prevention of Lemon Verbena or Lemon Beebrush Poisoning in Cats

Avoid growing lemon verbenas at home. If your cats came into contact with a lemon verbena shrub outdoors, it is best to keep them engaged and active inside your home to prevent them from getting bored and lessen the chance of straying away.

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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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