Toxic plants

Is Portulaca Toxic to Cats? 

by Clair Chesterman
Is Portulaca Toxic to Cats

Portulaca known for its other names such as Wild Portulaca, Rock Moss, Purslane, Pigweed, Pusley, and Moss Rose is Toxic to cats. The toxic principle is soluble oxalic acid, which is rapidly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and binds to systemic calcium, causing blood calcium levels to drop abruptly (acute hypocalcemia) and the formation of insoluble calcium oxalate, which accumulates in the renal tubules, resulting in acute kidney failure. 

The majority of insoluble calcium oxalate ingestion instances occur in livestock with a higher proclivity for ingesting significant volumes of plant matter.

What Is Portulaca?

Portulaca and a cat hissing at it

Portulaca came from Portulacaceae Family. It is a succulent ground cover that grows to be between 3 and 9 inches tall and spreads to form a dense mat. It is native to South America. It grows in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Its rose-shaped flowers bloom open during the day and close as the sun set.  The flowers come in several bright colors, pink, orange, yellow, cream, white, and red. 

Clinical Signs of Portulaca Poisoning in Cats

Portulaca and cats

There is no toxic dose, and the severity of symptoms is determined by the amount of oxalis consumed as well as the cat’s overall health. Dehydrated cats and cats with chronic kidney illness are at a higher risk.

  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Hypersalivation (drooling)
  • Gastrointestinal signs (loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea)
  • Tremors secondary to hypocalcemia
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney damage 24-36 hours after ingestion (altered urine output, blood in the urine, increased thirst)

First Aid and Treatment of Portulaca in Cats

Portulaca with a cat in the background

In most circumstances, a small amount of portulaca is enough to elicit clinical symptoms in cats. If a substantial amount has been consumed, get veterinary help right away.

If the consumption was recent, the veterinarian can start gastric decontamination by causing vomiting and giving activated charcoal to bind to any leftover plant debris in the GI system.

Additional treatments may include intravenous electrolyte solution to maintain kidney perfusion and treat hypocalcemia, antiemetic therapy, and clinical monitoring.

Recovery from Portulaca Poisoning in Cats

The prognosis for a portulaca-eating cat varies depending on how much of the plant was consumed. Because eating the leaves causes instant dental pain, most cats will not eat considerable amounts of Portulaca. This means that the majority of cats will not consume enough of the plant to cause death. If the kidneys were harmed as a result of the occurrence, the damage is very certainly irreversible.

Prevention of Portulaca Poisoning in Cats

It’s a good idea to get rid of all portulaca on your property but avoid using chemicals as it may be harmful to pets. Portulaca can be effectively removed from your property by pulling it out by hand or using garden tools. Another excellent approach to keep your cat from eating portulaca is to keep it indoors.

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

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