Toxic plants

Is Inch Plant or Wandering Jew Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Inch Plant or Wandering JewToxic To Cats? 

Inch plant or also commonly known as Wandering Jew or Speedy Henry is an invasive weed that can cause harm to your cats when it is ingested. The toxic principles of the inch plant are unclear but the typical symptoms that cats may experience after consuming this plant are usually gastrointestinal distress and skin irritation. While there is no reported toxic reaction from ingesting inch plant’s leaves, it is the plant’s stem that is found to cause the said symptoms to felines.

What Is Inch Plant or Wandering Jew?

Variegated Inch Plant and a cat nearby

The inch plant or wandering jew is one of the most popular and appealing houseplants. It’s also known scientifically as Tradescantia zebrina, fluminensis, or pallida, depending on the variety. Inch plants have green, heart-shaped leaves with purple streaks and a silvery shine. Depending on the cultivar, inch plant leaves might be solid or variegated. The violet or white three-petaled blossoms are small and have three petals.

Although inch plants are native to Latin America, they can also be found on Caribbean islands. It also has taken root in Asia, Africa, Australia, and a number of marine islands.

At altitudes of 2000 meters or below, this plant from the Commelinaceae plant family grows in thickets in the marsh and rainforest, frequently on stones in shaded and open regions or on river banks.

Clinical Signs of Inch Plant or Wandering Jew Poisoning in Cats

Variegated Inch Plant and cats

Once your cat ingested a part of the inch plant, particularly the stems, he or she may show signs of inch plant poisoning which usually includes:

  • Drooling
  • Itching, swelling or redness on different parts of the body
  • Palmar ulceration
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Itching of the skin
  • Hair or fur loss
  • Secondary infection 

First Aid and Treatment of Inch Plant or Wandering Jew Poisoning in Cats

Variegated Inch Plant and a cat nearby

To ease your cat’s itchiness and skin irritation, the veterinarian will prescribe an ointment or tablets. You may need to apply an ointment to your cat’s skin as frequently as the veterinarian advises. If your cat continues to scratch, he may develop a secondary skin infection that will almost certainly require antibiotic treatment.

If your cat’s mouth has been afflicted and he or she is unable to eat or drink, intravenous fluid therapy may be required. While your cat waits for his symptoms to go away, the fluids will keep him hydrated. If your cat’s eyes get irritated, the vet may recommend rinsing them or prescribing an ointment or drops that you can use at home for a few days. 

Recovery from Inch Plant or Wandering Jew Poisoning in Cats

Inch plant poisoning in cats usually has modest symptoms as provided as it is treated early. Immediate medical attention is essential to avert further infection. Treatment and recovery could take longer if your cat already has a secondary infection.

Prevention of Inch Plant or Wandering Jew Poisoning in Cats

Since inch plants are considered invasive, they usually grow fast and mostly anywhere. As a cat owner, it is important to keep yourself familiarized with inch plants and other toxic plants around your neighborhood. Remove this plants right away if they are growing within your home. Keep your cats secured indoors to lessen the chance of getting in contact with an inch plant or other poisonous plants.

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

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