Toxic plants

Is Ornamental Pepper Toxic To Cats?

Is Ornamental Pepper Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Despite the fact that many people enjoy the splash of color this plant brings to their homes, cat owners should avoid planting it in their homes. Ornamental pepper poisoning happens when your cat eats a large number of ornamental peppers. Solanine, a toxin found in ornamental pepper, causes stomach distress and damages the central nervous system. All sections of this plant are toxic to cats, although the berries have the largest concentration of toxins.

Although it has an awful taste, many cats may gnaw or consume the ornamental pepper plant out of boredom or curiosity. Although the symptoms are rarely deadly, they are certainly significant. If you notice any signs of poisoning, get your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

What Is Ornamental Pepper?

Indoors, ornamental pepper is grown as an annual plant, though it can be grown as a perennial in the right conditions. It produces a kaleidoscope of colored fruits and foliage in a variety of elongated and spherical shapes. Within this species, there are several cultivars, the most common of which has peppers that transition from green to yellow to red. Other fruit hues, such as the Bolivian rainbow, which produces a rainbow of colors, or the variegated flash, which generates purple fruits, are also available.

Ornamental pepper is endemic to southern North America, the Caribbean, and northern South America In Africa, hot peppers are used in both traditional medicine and cooking. Some cultivars are grown solely for their aesthetic value. Ornamental varieties have unusually colored fruit and foliage, with colors like black and purple standing out.

Clinical Signs of Ornamental Pepper Poisoning in Cats

Solanine is a toxin that causes gastrointestinal discomfort and affects the central nervous system. Ingestion of ornamental peppers may cause cats immediate negative reactions. Poisoning symptoms that cats may show are:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Excessive salivation
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Shock
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract

First Aid and Treatment of Ornamental Pepper Poisoning in Cats

Treatment of ornamental pepper toxicity may include vomit induction, administration of activated charcoal, and gastric lavage, depending on the cat’s situation. 

Stomach protectant drugs can be also given to the cat. In case of seizures, the vet may also administer additional medications. Other supportive treatments such as respiratory support and fluid therapy may be also given by the vet.

Recovery from Ornamental Pepper Poisoning in Cats

Ornamental pepper poisoning is uncommon to be lethal, therefore your cat will almost certainly recover completely after receiving treatments. Most cats can be brought home immediately following treatment, but if your cat is severely dehydrated, he may need to stay in the facility until the vet is satisfied that he is in good health.

Prevention of Ornamental Pepper Poisoning in Cats

Remove the ornamental pepper plants from your home and yard, if you have them. If your neighbor is growing ornamental pepper plants, always keep an eye on your cat and restrict his access outdoors. If is safer to keep your cat inside 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.