Toxic plants

Is Buttercup or Figwort Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Buttercup or Figwort Toxic To Cats? 

Buttercup, also known as Butter Cress and Figwort, is a flowering plant that contains the chemical ranunculin, which, when crushed or chewed, breaks down to an irritant called protoanemonin which is poisonous for cats. Protoanemonin is an irritant oil glycoside that is not quickly absorbed or metabolized in the gastrointestinal tract. When ingested by cats, it will result in discomfort in the mouth cavity and throughout the gastrointestinal tract. The plant’s blossoms have the highest quantities of toxic substances. The severity of the poisoning will be determined by the amount of toxin consumed.

What Is Buttercup or Figwort?

yellow Buttercup with a cat sitting in the background

Scientifically known as Ranunculus, buttercup or figwort is commonly grown as ornamental plants and can be found throughout the United States. Buttercups have a variety of species mostly woody and rhizomatous roots. This plant from the Ranunculaceae family produces flowers with five green sepals, five petals that vary from glossy yellow to white in color which is either solitary or loosely clustered. Depending on the species, the leaves have a wide range of appearances.

Clinical Signs of Buttercup or Figwort Poisoning in Cats

Buttercup and cats

All parts of the buttercup are toxic for cats but the toxins are mostly concentrated in the flowers. Symptoms of buttercup poisoning may include:

First Aid and Treatment of Buttercup or Figwort Poisoning in Cats

Cat sits yellow Buttercup flowers

Many poisoning instances appear to be emergency circumstances, and your cat should be treated by a veterinarian as soon as possible after consuming something hazardous.

Your veterinarian will prescribe drugs to help minimize tremors and seizures, which, if left untreated, can result in lasting harm to your cat. Medicines will be administered intravenously. The vet may also induce vomiting in your cat in order to remove any remaining poisonous material from his or her system. In some situations, the veterinarian may do gastric lavage, which entails injecting saline or water into the stomach with a needleless syringe and then removing it with a stomach tube.

Recovery from Buttercup or Figwort Poisoning in Cats

Indications of buttercup poisoning can be severe if your cat ingested large portions of the plant but most cats recover completely after receiving prompt and appropriate veterinary care. Follow-up blood and urine tests may be needed to guarantee that your cat’s kidney and other organ functions have not been harmed as a result of the poisoning or the medications used during treatment.

Prevention of Buttercup or Figwort Poisoning in Cats

If your cat was exposed to buttercup plants in your home, remove them right away to prevent another poisoning episode. Check your neighborhood if there are known buttercups grown, if there is, avoid letting your cat go to the area. Secure your cat in the comforts of your home and limit their time outdoors.

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

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