Toxic plants

Is Clematis or Leatherflower Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Clematis or Leatherflower Toxic To Cats? 

Clematis or also known for its other common names Virgin’s Bower and Leatherflower is a flowering plant that is popular among gardeners and plant enthusiasts. While its blooms are lovely and attractive, this plant contains irritants called protoanemonin which are toxic to cats. Once ingested, your cat may experience irritation on his or her lips and mouth. Ingestion of a large amount of clematis may lead to severe cardiac symptoms.

What Is Clematis or Leatherflower?

Virgin’s Bower and a cat

Clematis or leatherflower is recognized as the “Queen of Climbers” from the Ranunculaceae family. Though some clematis varieties have a bushy habit, the majority of them grow to climb. The growing end of a clematis vine, like other climbing plants, is looking for something to grip onto, and if it can’t find anything, it will stop growing.  Most clematis plants are native to China and Japan while there are some species that are native to Britain and North America. 

Clinical Signs of Clematis or Leatherflower Poisoning in Cats

Virgin’s Bower and cats

Some of the clinical symptoms that your cat may manifest if they ingested a part of the clematis plant are:

  • Hypersalivation
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Purging
  • Tingling of mouth and throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bradycardia
  • Idioventricular rhythm
  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Asystole 
  • Increased aggression
  • Delirium
  • Convulsions
  • Death 

First Aid and Treatment of Clematis or Leatherflower Poisoning in Cats

Cat hisses at Virgin’s Bower

To ease your cat’s gastrointestinal upset, the veterinarian will most likely give him antacids as well as demulcents, such as glycerin, honey, pectin, or syrup, to cover and heal your cat’s weak stomach.

To get rid of the leftover plant parts in your cat’s stomach, your vet will have to make it puke. He might also wash out your cat’s stomach to remove any residual plant fragments. Your cat will be given activated charcoal when these procedures are completed. This binds to the poisons, preventing them from passing through your cat’s system.

If the cat develops cardiac symptoms, the vet may provide atropine intravenously to help stabilize its condition. Your cat’s kidney function will be also examined, and any potential cardiac arrhythmias will be watched as well. To relieve the burning and irritation caused by skin or mucus irritation, gently wash your cat’s skin and fur.

Recovery from Clematis or Leatherflower Poisoning in Cats

Once given proper and immediate treatment, your cat will be able to recover quickly and go back to his or her regular routines. Make sure to discuss post-treatment care with your veterinarian as necessary and follow them strictly. 

Prevention of Clematis or Leatherflower Poisoning in Cats

The best prevention is to avoid growing clematis or leatherflower in your gardens or anywhere in the vicinity of your house that is accessible to your cats. Limit your cats’ activities outdoors and keep them busy and mentally stimulated inside your house.

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

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