Toxic plants

Is Pie Plant or Rhubarb Toxic To Cats?

Is Pie Plant or Rhubarb Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

A chemical soluble calcium oxalates is found in the poisonous qualities of a pie plant or rhubarb. This chemical’s primary function is to act as a deterrence to possible predators. The acid causes irritation to the delicate tissues of the lips and cheeks, as well as digestive pain and vomiting, by directly damaging the tissues it comes into contact with. Once the oxalic acid is absorbed by the body, it affects coordination and is the source of the aforementioned muscular tremors. However, oxalic acid’s most deadly property is that it is highly nephrotoxic, which means that it is extremely harmful to liver tissue and can be fatal.

What Is Pie Plant or Rhubarb?

The buckwheat or Polygonaceae family’s pie plant is a hardy perennial that originated in southern Siberia and has since spread throughout China. This herbaceous perennial has large, smooth, heart-shaped basal leaves that grow two to four feet tall. The plant is supported by large, meaty reddish-brown rhizomes with yellow interiors.

Scientifically known as Rheum rhabarbarum, pie plant is commonly used in interiors as a houseplant due to its large and distinct foliage. It is also used as a landscape in vegetable gardens or as herbaceous ornamental. Pie plant is more commonly called rhubarb, which is a staple in desserts, particularly in pies.

Clinical Signs of Pie Plant or Rhubarb Poisoning in Cats

Toxins are present in the highest quantity in the leaves and roots of the pie plant. Symptoms of toxicity due to ingestion of the pie plant may occur in cats. These symptoms may involve the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Salivation
  • Oral irritation
  • Tremors
  • Kidney failure

First Aid and Treatment of Pie Plant or Rhubarb Poisoning in Cats

The most common plant poisonings are treated mostly by starting the cat on hydration therapy. This will relieve the symptoms of dehydration by directly putting liquid into the cat’s body while also draining the toxins out of its system by inducing urine. The veterinarian may also decide to give the cat a dose of precipitated chalk to reduce the acidity in the stomach, preventing further harm and making recovery simpler. It may also be required to take a dose of activated charcoal afterward to absorb any remaining oxalic acids in the digestive tract.

Recovery from Pie Plant Poisoning in Cats

In the days following the poisoning, you should provide plenty of liquids as well as a bland meal to allow the cat’s stomach to recuperate. The majority of rhubarb-poisoned cats will recover in around two weeks. A follow-up session with the veterinarian may be required in extreme cases.

Prevention of Pie Plant Poisoning in Cats

Be careful when using rhubarb when cooking at home. Dispose of the unused part properly and make sure that your cat will not have acces to it. Avoid feeding food scraps to your cat which may contain rhubarb or other toxic plants. Keeping your cat indoors is also highly suggested to lessen the chances of encountering pie plant and other toxic plants in your surroundings.

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.