Toxic plants

Is Mapleleaf Begonia Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Mapleleaf Begonia Toxic To Cats? 

Mapleleaf begonia is a perennial plant popularly grown as an ornamental plant. Felines should avoid this plant as it contains calcium oxalates which are harmful for them. Once a part of mapleleaf bagonia is eaten by your cat, oxalate crystals will lodge themselves in numerous tissues, causing irritation, and then break down into oxalic acid. The cat’s body will instinctively dilute the acid with saliva in order to minimize further discomfort and damage to the digestive tract. Toxins will enter the bloodstream and eventually reach the liver if the body continues to absorb them. This is exceedingly harmful, as large amounts of oxalic acid can cause liver failure, resulting in serious disease and even death.

What Is Mapleleaf Begonia?

Maple leaf Begonia plant with a cat in the background

Mapleleaf begonia, also known as begonia cleopatra, is a low-maintenance plant that grows at a medium rate and can reach a mature size of up to 2 feet. This Begoniaceae plant has a creeping growth pattern that produces a bushy plant with lovely thick red leaves that have a pale green mark going down the middle of the leaf.

This species of Begonia is found in the Philippines. It is a popular indoor plant with leaves that do not go much more than three inches long, making it ideal for terrariums. It features lovely, showy leaves with a bright, glossy sheen and vivid patterning. It thrives under high humidity and strong, indirect light.

Clinical Signs of Mapleleaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Maple leaf Begonia with a cat nearby

All parts of mapleleaf begonia are poisonous for cats but most toxins are found in the bulbs. Though initial symptoms of mapleleaf begonia poisoning are fairly mild, it may still lead to severe conditions if not given appropriate care and treatments. Clinical signs of mapleleaf poisoning that cat owners should be aware of are:

  • Excessive drooling 
  • Oral irritation 
  • Swelling of the mouth and tongue
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Inability to swallow 
  • Loss of appetite
  • Kidney failure

First Aid and Treatment of Mapleleaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Cat looks at Maple leaf Begonia

Veterinary treatment for plant poisoning usually includes intravenous fluid therapy, vomit induction, and the administering of activated charcoal. Gastric lavage may be performed by the veterinarian in some situations, depending on the state of the cat. Anti-inflammatories will be recommended if there is swelling in the cat’s throat, in order to minimize the edema and maintain a clean airway. If your cat needs it, the vet may prescribe more medicines o perform other procedures.

Recovery from Mapleleaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Because oxalate crystals lose their effectiveness quickly, the quantities of oxalic acid in the cat’s body will swiftly decline if they are not consumed. The complete recovery time for a severe case of mapleleaf begonia poisoning is usually quite brief, with most cases being resolved in less than two weeks at most and no need for follow-up sessions.

Prevention of Mapleleaf Begonia Poisoning in Cats

Mapleleaf begonias are not recommended to be grown in households with cats living in it. These plants should be removed immediately to prevent another incident poisoning. If your neighbor happens to grow a mapleleaf begonia and other toxic plants that can harm your cats, the best way to keep them safe is to make them stay indoors and do not let them stray away from your house.

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

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