Toxic plants

Are Cherries Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Cherry Toxic To Cats? 

Cats should stir away from cherry trees and shrubs as any part of this plant is toxic for them. All parts of cherry plants except for the ripe pulp around the seeds are considered poisonous as it contains cyanogenic glycosides. Cyanide inhibits cytochrome oxidase, an enzyme involved in cellular oxygen transport, preventing cells from taking in enough oxygen. When a cat ingests a part of the cherry plant, he or she may experience difficulty in breathing, bright red gums, dilated pupils, shock, and may eventually lead to death. 

What Is Cherry?

cherries in the kitchen with a cat sitting in the background

Cherry trees belong to the Rosaceae family and are classified as Prunus. There is a lot of cherry varieties cultivated around the world but it is found to be growing wild in North America. Cherry laurel, black cherry, chokecherry, prunus, wild cherry, ground cherry, and domestic cherry are all common names for the cherry tree or shrub. 

Clinical Signs of Cherry Poisoning in Cats

cats and cherries

In cats, cherry poisoning usually causes mild to moderate toxicity; however, if a substantial amount of cherry plant matter is ingested, the cat will develop serious clinical symptoms. The following are some of the signs and symptoms:

  • Mucous membranes that are bright red in color
  • Low oxygen levels
  • Breathing problems
  • Dilated pupils
  • Shock

First Aid and Treatment of Cherry Poisoning in Cats

cat with cherry tree

Oxygen supplementation is essential as cherry poisoning prevents the uptake of oxygen to the cells. Then, the vet will flush out the cyanide from the cat’s body, and may also give methylene blue intravenously. Methylene blue works via ferric iron in hemoglobin being converted to ferrous iron. As a result, this therapeutic drug changes methemoglobin cells that don’t carry oxygen into hemoglobin cells that can transport oxygen again. Methylene blue and mineral oil can be used together by veterinarians. Mineral oil can aid in quicker defecation and the elimination of harmful substances from the feline’s gastrointestinal tract when used as a cathartic. As long as the symptoms persist, the veterinarian’s treatment sequence may be repeated.

Recovery from Cherry Poisoning in Cats

Your cat’s recovery will be faster if you get medical help as soon as possible. If your cat’s symptoms were treated and handled promptly, he or she would quickly return to his or her normal routines. If you have any queries, especially about providing support care following the treatment, contact your veterinarian.

Prevention of Cherry Poisoning in Cats

Avoid and remove growing cherry plants in your surroundings. Keep your cat safe and comfortable indoors. Build fences, install safety nets, and utilize playpens or cat houses to prevent your cat from wandering away especially if you are not home. 

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

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