Toxic Herbs for Cats

by Quentin Coleman, Demand Media
    Despite their carnivorous nature, curuious cats are drawn to the scent and texture of herbs.

    Despite their carnivorous nature, curuious cats are drawn to the scent and texture of herbs.

    Sometimes cats literally love plants to death. They chew on foliage and stems, and even use potting soil as a backup litter box. This relationship is certainly detrimental to your plants, but it can also be dangerous for Kitty too. Various herbal plants are highly toxic to cats when ingested.

    Aloe Vera

    The fleshy tissue and liquid extract of aloe vera have medicinal properties when applied topically or orally. Its large flowers and cactus-like foliage also make it a prime choice as decoration. Unfortunately for cat owners, this plant is toxic to cats and can produce a range of symptoms when eaten, including digestive distress and psychological dysfunction. While aloe is not as deadly as some other plants, it is a good idea to keep it out of the house entirely for the sake of your furry friend.

    Anemone

    Flowering anemones are also a health hazards for cats. While these herbs make a great addition to ornamental gardens thanks to their colorful daisy-like flowers, they are incompatible with felines. Anemone extract eases digestive problems and reduces inflammation of mucus membranes in humans, but it has the opposite effect on felines. In fact, you should rush your cat to the vet if you think he has eaten even a little bit of one of these plants. Convulsions and internal bleeding are only a few of the potential symptoms, according to the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

    Cyclamen

    A perennial herb native to Europe, cyclamen now grows throughout North America as well. It has a long history of medicinal use in Western civilization, starting with the Greeks almost 2,000 years ago, according to Cyclamen.org. Despite its homeopathic qualities, cyclamen is not much of a cat-lover. Cats that eat this plant may experience seizures, irregular heart rhythm and digestive irregularity.

    Castor Bean

    The castor bean plant is not a true bean. It is actually a sprawling herbaceous shrub that can grow more than 10 feet tall. The plant's seeds, dubbed "beans," are processed into castor oil, which has medicinal qualities for humans. While cats are not particularly drawn to castor bean plants as they are to some other herbs, it is still important to keep this toxic plant out of reach just in case your cat gets a little bored.

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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