If your feline friend enjoys an occasional nibble of plants, taking inventory of your garden might necessary. Many plants, or parts of plants, are poisonous to cats and that little nibble could prove dangerous. The cherry tree is one of those trees where parts are edible and parts are toxic.
The cherry tree, or prunus species, delivers sweet or tart cherries. While those cherries are tasty and your cat may enjoy them, the rest of the tree is toxic to her. Stems, leaves, blossoms and the pits inside the cherries contain cyanide, which is toxic to cats and dogs.
Cyanide poisoning symptoms can display as soon as 15 to 20 minutes after ingestion. Symptoms include increased breathing rate, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, dilated pupils, bright red gums, increased saliva, vomiting and muscle weakness. If you believe your cat has eaten cherry blossoms, contact your veterinarian immediately. Immediate treatment is necessary.
Cherry trees are not the only fruit tree containing cyanide. Apple, apricot, plum, peach and nectarine seeds and pits contain high levels of cyanide. In addition to the seeds and pits, cyanide is also present in the leaves and stems. The fruit from these trees, however, is safe to eat.
While you may enjoy the fruits of these various trees, keeping your cat away from them is essential. If you have a cherry tree growing in your yard, keep an eye on your feline friend and make sure she doesn’t have a taste. Cyanide poisoning can be fatal, so if you suspect your cat has eaten any fruit leaves, blossoms, stems or pits, contact your veterinarian immediately. If your cat enjoys nibbling on plants, consider giving her a cat grass plant to nibble on instead.
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.
Deborah Lundin is a professional writer with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field and as a small business owner. She studied medical science and sociology at Northern Illinois University. Her passions and interests include fitness, health, healthy eating, children and pets.