Toxic plants

Is Spanish Thyme Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Spanish Thyme Toxic to Cats

 Cats can be poisoned by the essential oils found in Spanish thyme. You must use extreme caution when allowing essential oils to come into touch with your cat. The essential oils in the leaves and blossoms of Spanish thyme might burn your cat’s skin if its fur comes into touch with them. If your cat consumes this plant, symptoms of gastrointestinal distress may be experienced.

The essential oils of Spanish thyme can be absorbed into your cat’s system which can cause cats to experience negative effects. Cats are deficient in a digestive enzyme known as UGT1A6. This enzyme aids in the breakdown of substances in the liver. Once the toxins build up, your cat’s situation will worsen.

What Is Spanish Thyme?

Spanish Thyme and a cat nearby

Spanish thyme is a semi-succulent perennial plant with a strong oregano flavor and aroma. Coleus amboinicus is the scientific name for this plant. It is from the Lamiaceae plant family. Spanish thyme is known to be endemic to areas of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and India. It is widely farmed and naturalized across the tropics and is used as a spice and decorative plant.

Spanish thyme may reach a height of one meter. The stem is fleshy, measuring 30–90 centimeters in length, and is coated with either long inflexible hairs (hispidly villous) or densely covered with soft, short, and upright hairs (tomentose). It has fleshy, undivided (simple) leaves that are large, egg/oval-shaped, and tapering at the tip. They are densely haired (pubescent), with the bottom surface having the most glandular hairs, giving them a frosted look. The scent of the leaves may be characterized as a strong blend of the odors of oregano, thyme, and turpentine.

Clinical Signs of Spanish Thyme Poisoning in Cats

Spanish Thyme and cats

Poisoning symptoms of Spanish thyme develop quickly in cats. Your cat may exhibit the following symptoms after coming into touch with Spanish thyme:

  • Vomiting (may be bloody)
  • Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Drooling
  • Physical weakness and lethargy
  • Skin irritation
  • Visible burns on face, gums, tongue
  • Bodily tremors
  • Low body temperature (hypothermia) 
  • Depressed breathing

First Aid and Treatment of Spanish Thyme Poisoning in Cats

Spanish Thyme and a cat hissing at it

Once the veterinarian determines that your cat ate Spanish thyme, she will administer anti-emetic medicines that suppress your cat’s natural desire to vomit. Inducing vomiting in situations of Spanish thyme poisoning may be risky for your cat.

Your cat will also get intravenous fluids, which will rehydrate her and allow your doctor to constantly monitor her condition. If your cat is having difficulty breathing, she will be given extra oxygen.

The essential oils in the plant may have inflamed or burnt your cat’s skin, tongue, mouth, and gums if she consumed it. If she has been burnt, she will require treatment, which may include an overnight stay in the veterinarian’s clinic, particularly if the inflammation of her mucous membranes and the burns to her skin is severe.

Recovery from Spanish Thyme Poisoning in Cats

The faster your cat gets veterinary care, the higher its chances of survival. If you wait for too long before seeking medical intervention, your cat may suffer from kidney and liver damage, which can be fatal.

Prevention of Spanish Thyme Poisoning in Cats

Avoid growing Spanish thymes in your home. As a cat owner, research plants first before making a purchase and growing them in your household. Restricting your cat’s access outdoors will also minimize his exposure to toxic plants outside.

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

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