Many cats naturally are inquisitive little beings, and that's part of their charm. However, the trait sometimes can lead to major dangers in felines, especially when it comes to the realm of potentially toxic plants. Hibiscus plants, for one, are very toxic to cats, among other animals.
Hibiscus is a well-known ornamental plant that originated in Australia. Cultivation of the showy plant is relatively straightforward, requiring ample light and rich soil. The hibiscus not only is revered for its blossoms, but also for its vegetables. A wide array of different cultivars of hibiscus exist, including "Lord Baltimore," "Lady Baltimore" and "Turn of the Century." Other names for the plant are "Rose of China" and "Rose of Sharon."
Under no circumstances is it acceptable or safe for a cat to eat any part of a hibiscus plant. The exact poisonous element or elements of the plant are unknown. According to the ASPCA, the hibiscus not only is very toxic to cats, but also to other animals, including dogs and horses. The bottom line is, it is extremely risky for cats to consume any segment of hibiscus, whether the blossoms or the stem.
Symptoms of Poisoning
If you have any reason to think that your cutie may have eaten a hibiscus blossom, or any part of a hibiscus plant for that matter, immediate veterinary assistance is crucial. Pay close attention to your pet for any indications that hibiscus poisoning may be occurring, such as nausea, diarrhea, digestive upset, throwing up and absence of appetite. Even if you don't notice any of these signs, veterinary help is still important. Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.
If you have a decorative hibiscus plant at home, the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine recommends deterring your pet against eating it by encouraging her to munch on cat-friendly lawn grass out of a pot, instead. If you would rather not grow grass, you also may consider obstructing the soil of the hibiscus with aluminum foil. By doing this, you may stop your pet from pawing around in it, and therefore getting curious enough to eat the plant. If at all possible, keep the hibiscus well out of your cat's access and monitor her closely whenever she is near it. Remember, your precious pet's health is invaluable.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.