Toxic plants

Is Variegated Inch Plant Toxic To Cats?

by Clair Chesterman
Is Variegated Inch Plant Toxic To Cats?

The variegated inch plant is also called Wandering Jew or Speedy Henry. It is considered an invasive weed in some regions and can also cause toxicity in cats if consumed.

Although the poisonous components of the inch plant are unknown, the most common symptoms that cats may encounter after swallowing this plant are gastrointestinal upset and skin irritation. While there has been no known hazardous effect from swallowing inch plant leaves, the plant’s stem has been shown to produce the aforementioned feline symptoms.

What Is Variegated Inch Plant?

Variegated Inch Plant and a cat nearby

The variegated inch plant is a tropical herbaceous plant native to Central and South America. It is a popular houseplant since it is a reasonably easy plant to care for. It’s appreciated for its quick growth and vivid leaves, which can be striped with white, green, silver, or purple. It is a low-maintenance plant with trailing tendrils that run from the base.

This plant belonging to the Commelinaceae plant family grows in thickets in the marsh and rainforest, commonly on stones in sheltered and open areas, or on river banks at altitudes of 2000 meters or less.

Clinical Signs of Variegated Inch Plant Poisoning in Cats

Variegated Inch Plant and cats

Symptoms of variegated inch plant toxicity usually include:

  • Drooling
  • Itching, swelling, or redness in various areas of the body
  • Ulceration of the palms
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Itching of the skin
  • Loss of hair or fur
  • Secondary infection

First Aid and Treatment of Variegated Inch Plant Poisoning in Cats

Variegated Inch Plant and a cat nearby

If your cat is scratching excessively, your veterinarian will prescribe an ointment or drugs to relieve the scratching. It is possible that you may need to apply a lotion two to three times each day, but it has been demonstrated to be successful.

If your cat scratches repeatedly, he may develop a secondary skin infection that requires medication. Self-trauma can be reduced by using a buster collar and shortening claws.

The veterinarian may opt to give your cat intravenous or subcutaneous fluids depending on his needs.

IV fluids may also be administered to your cat. This will keep him hydrated as he waits for his symptoms to disappear. This is particularly likely if his mouth has been affected and he is unable to eat or drink. 

If his eyes get sore, the vet may advise you to rinse them or prescribe an ointment or drops to use at home for a few days.

Recovery from Variegated Inch Plant Poisoning in Cats

Variegated inch plant poisoning symptoms are typically mild in cats. If treated right away, the cat will most likely recover. Immediate medical intervention is required to prevent further infection. If your cat gets a secondary infection, treatment and recovery may take longer.

Prevention of Variegated Inch Plant Poisoning in Cats

If you have variegated inch plants at home, you may use deterrents to prevent your cat from getting ear the plant. Ideally, it is still best to remove the plant completely. Keep your cat indoors to lessen the possibility of exposure to variegated inch plants and other poisonous plants outdoors.

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

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