Is Hellebore Poisonous to Cats?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Hellebore and cats are a no-go.

    Hellebore and cats are a no-go.

    If you're petrified about the idea of your precious kitty eating or chewing on a poisonous plant, you have valid reason to be. Even if a flowering plant in your garden looks as pretty as a picture, that won't stop it from triggering potentially very negative symptoms in your cat.

    Toxicity

    According to the ASPCA, hellebore is indeed poisonous to cats. The plant is not only toxic to felines, but also to dogs and horses. Hellebore's toxicity is due to a variety of key components, which are protoanemonin, veratrin, glycosides and bufadienolides. All of these factors contribute to the toxicity of hellebore in cats, so always keep your eyes open for them.

    Other Names

    Hellebore doesn't go exclusively by that one name. Knowing all of the names for the plant may be very useful in preventing dangerous problems with your cat in the future. The plant also goes by Easter rose, Lenten rose and Christmas rose, so make a mental note of all of them!

    Symptoms

    If you are concerned that your precious pet may be experiencing poisoning due to hellebore, pay attention to key symptoms, including depressive mood, colic, frequent and watery stools, stomachache, excessive salivation, throwing up, lethargy and exhaustion. If your cat exhibits even one of these symptoms, it's crucial to seek emergency veterinary attention for her -- no dillydallying.

    Appearance

    Some knowledge about the evergreen may be a useful safety measure. These plants typically reach about a foot in height and possess hanging, fully white flowers and deep green foliage. The roots are an especially dark color, virtually black. If you happen upon any plant that even remotely fits this description, keep your kitty far, far away from it.

    Other Plants

    The more you know about plant toxicity, the better not only for your cat, but you too. Hellebore certainly isn't the only villain in the garden. A wide array of both everyday and unusual plants can be potentially dangerous to your cat, whether honeysuckle, Easter lily, calla lily, primrose, wisteria, poinsettia, daffodil and many, many others. Knowledge is power, so go and get it.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

    Photo Credits

    • Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images