Toxic plants

Is Sweetheart Ivy Toxic To Cats? 

by Clair Chesterman
Is Sweetheart Ivy Toxic to Cats

Ingestion of the sweetheart ivy plant’s stem, leaves, petals, pollen, or seeds can cause toxicity in cats. Triterpenoid saponins are the toxic elements found in sweetheart ivy. The glycoside of pentacyclic oleananes, triterpenoid saponins, is known to produce potentially fatal poisoning in animals. When saponins come into contact with the skin, they commonly produce dermatitis. This similar irritant is thought to be the cause of gastrointestinal distress when the sweetheart ivy plant is eaten.

In cats, sweetheart ivy produces mild to severe symptoms. Although no feline sweetheart ivy poisoning deaths have been reported, eating this plant should always be treated seriously.

What Is Sweetheart Ivy?

Sweetheart Ivy with a cat in the background

Sweetheart ivy, scientifically known as hedera helix, is a flowering plant of the ivy genus in the Araliaceae family that is native to most of Europe and western Asia. It is a popular perennial used as a houseplant. The heart-shaped leaves, capacity to cascade down containers, and trailing behavior on walls or trellises distinguish this houseplant. It climbs via aerial rootlets with matted pads that grip the substrate tightly.

Sweetheart ivy leaves are alternate, two to four inches long, with a petiole of less than an inch. From late summer to late fall, the plant produces tiny, greenish-yellow flowers in one to two-inch umbels that are high in nectar. The berries that the plant produces range in color from purple-black to orange-yellow and mature in late winter.

Sweetheart ivy is commonly used to cover walls throughout Europe. Its capacity to cool the inside in the summer while providing insulation in the winter, as well as protect the covered building from soil moisture, temperature variations, and direct exposure to harsh weather, is recommended by the Bavarian government. Weed control in plantings, beautifying unattractive facades, and providing additional green by growing on tree trunks are all possibilities.

Clinical Signs of Sweetheart Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Sweetheart Ivy and cats

The first signs of sweetheart ivy poisoning might appear shortly after eating or up to two hours later. Symptoms get more severe if the feline can tolerate huge doses of the herb. The following are some of the symptoms that cats may encounter as a result of sweetheart ivy poisoning:

First Aid and Treatment of Sweetheart Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Cat sits near Sweetheart Ivy

The cat’s mouth will most likely be flushed with distilled water to begin treatment. To stimulate the feline to vomit, an emetic medication may be given. To inhibit additional toxin absorption, activated charcoal might be utilized. To avoid future stomach discomfort, medications like Kapectolin and sucralfate may be used. 

If the cat has suffered from continuous vomiting and diarrhea, intravenous fluids may also be administered to restore the lost fluids in his or her body. This will also aid in clearing out toxins from the body as it will urge the cat to urinate.

Recovery from Sweetheart Ivy Poisoning in Cats

In most cases of sweetheart ivy poisoning, cats usually begin to improve after an hour of treatment and will recover completely within 24 hours. Similar to other cases of plant poisoning, the sooner the cat receives veterinary treatment, the better his or her chances of recovering completely.

Prevention of Sweetheart Ivy Poisoning in Cats

Avoid growing sweetheart ivy at home. As much as possible, let your cat stay indoors to minimize the chances of getting in contact with a sweetheart ivy that might be growing in your neighbor’s garden.

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

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