Toxic plants

Is African Wonder Tree or Castor Bean Plant Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is African Wonder Tree or Castor Plant Toxic to Plants

African Wonder Tree, also widely known for its other names such as Castor Bean Plant, Castor Oil Plant, and Mole Bean Plant, is toxic and harmful to cats. Any part of this plant including the seeds can be poisonous to your felines and is also lethal as it contains ricin, a glycoprotein that causes protein production in the body to stop, which may lead to organ failure.

What is an African Wonder Tree?

Cat sits near Castor Bean Plant

African Wonder Tree or scientifically known as ricinus communis originated from northeastern Africa and the Middle East. It is also widely found in China, Brazil, India, and other places with tropical and subtropical climates. This plant is from Euphorbiaceae family has lopsidedly peltate leaves which range from colors green to crimson. 

African Wonder Tree is one of the worst toxic plants as most cases of death due to African Wonder Tree are reported in just two days.

Clinical Signs of African Wonder Tree Poisoning In Cats

Castor Bean Plant and cats

The symptoms of African wonder tree poisoning in cats vary according to how it was ingested (topical, oral, or inhalation) and how much was consumed.

The African wonder tree causes topical poisoning when it comes into contact with the skin. Ingestion of any portion of the African wonder tree or its seeds causes oral toxicity. Inhaling the smoke from burning any part of the African wonder tree causes inhalation toxicity. Here are the common signs of castor plant poisoning to look out for in your cats:


  • Swelling
  • Redness of skin
  • Pain or itchiness in affected areas
  • Puffy eyes


  • Appetite loss
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Diarrhea with blood
  • Dyspnea
  • Depressed nervous system
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations
  • Lack of coordination
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Sunken eyes due to dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness


  • Skin and mucous membranes have a blue tinge
  • Pain in the chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cough
  • Death
  • Rapid rate
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory failure
  • Trembling
  • Weakness

First Aid And Treatment of African Wonder Tree Poisoning In Cats

Castor Bean Plant with a cat hissing at it

Since the symptoms of African Wonder Tree poisoning are severe and may be lethal to your cat if not taken care of right away, it is better to consult your vet right away. The first 48 to 72 hours are very crucial so your cat has to be monitored closely by the vet.

A physical examination will be performed by the veterinarian, as well as essential laboratory tests to check the condition of your cat’s internal organs. An electrocardiogram (ECG) can be used to track your cat’s heart activity. Your cat may also require IV fluids, oxygen, and blood transfusions from the veterinarian.

Recovery of African Wonder Tree Poisoning In Cats

If your cat is fine after the 72-hour mark, the outlook is favorable as long as there is no organ failure or injury. The veterinarian will request you to return in 7 to 10 days to repeat some laboratory tests, and if the results are normal, your cat should be fine.

Prevention of African Wonder Tree Poisoning In Cats

As much as possible, avoid growing or places with African Wonder Trees. Ensure your feline’s safety by keeping them busy with indoor activities. Maintain their good and healthy condition by supplying food and lickable to prevent them from consuming anything outside your home.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

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