Toxic plants

Is Poison Hemlock Toxic To Cats?

Is Poison Hemlock Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Poison hemlock is a biennial herbaceous flowering plant that contains various alkaloids which are highly poisonous to animals including cats. All parts of poison hemlock are toxic, especially the seeds and roots, especially when ingested. If a portion of poison hemlock is eaten by a cat, it may result in experiencing symptoms such as agitation, tremors, drooling, diarrhea, paralysis, and even death.

What Is Poison Hemlock?

Poison hemlock is a hardy plant that can survive in a variety of environments. It has become widely naturalized in areas other than its native range, including parts of Australia, West Asia, and North and South America. It has the potential to spread and thus become an invasive weed. It has a smooth, green, hollow stem that is usually spotted or streaked with red or purple on the bottom half.

Clinical Signs of Poison Hemlock Poisoning in Cats

While hemlock toxicity is primarily caused by ingestion, poisoning can also occur through inhalation and skin contact. Cats may exhibit the following clinical signs of poison hemlock toxicity:

  • Agitation
  • Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Paralysis
  • Death

First Aid and Treatment of Poison Hemlock Poisoning in Cats

The vet will start by inducing vomiting to remove any remaining plant matter in your cat’s stomach. The vet will need to keep an eye on your cat to make sure he doesn’t become dehydrated from vomiting. If your cat becomes dehydrated, he or she will require intravenous fluids to avoid further complications.

Toxins that remain in your cat’s stomach can also be absorbed with activated charcoal. To flush out the stomach, the vet can perform gastric lavage, which is a stomach wash.

Recovery from Poison Hemlock Poisoning in Cats

The sooner your cat receives care, the more likely he is to make a full recovery. Your cat may need to be monitored by a veterinarian after therapy. If your cat was dehydrated or required a respirator during treatment, this is more likely. Maintain a quiet and comfortable environment for your cat when he returns home.

Prevention of Poison Hemlock Poisoning in Cats

Keep your cats healthy and well-maintained indoors. By keeping them entertained and mentally stimulated indoors, it will reduce the risk of cats wandering away far from home and encountering toxic plants in your neighborhood.

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.