What are the Symptoms if a Cat Eats a Holly Berry?

Keep these things out of your kitty's clutches.
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The look of holly berries sure can add a warm and festive feeling to any setting, but that doesn't mean that the bright red things are innocuous to your kitty. These berries actually are toxic to cats and dogs alike, and can lead to a bevy of unpleasant symptoms.


Holly plants contain saponins, which are poisonous glycosides. Not only are these saponins present in the berries of holly plants, they're also present in the foliage and in other parts, as well. If your kitty for any reason takes in any part of a holly plant, including the berries, immediate veterinary attention is of the essence.

Upset Stomach

If your precious cat consumes even the tiniest amount of holly berries, be on the lookout for any indications of an upset stomach. A cat that eats holly berries may experience vomiting and diarrhea afterward, so take note of any signs of tummy-related distress, including hunching over due to belly pain. These symptoms are especially prevalent in cats that eat significant portions of holly berries.

Loss of Appetite

When a usually food-happy feline all of a sudden is about as interested in her meals as she is in molecular biology, for example, then it usually means that something is up. If you notice that your cat curiously doesn't seem to have any appetite, holly berry consumption and toxicity may be at fault.

Foliage Consumption

If your cat ate some holly berries, there's a pretty good chance that she also got her mouth on some of the accompanying foliage, as well. Because of that possibility, it's important to be alert to the key signs of leaf consumption. The foliage of holly plants is very prickly and can lead to a variety of injurious effects. Some cats may experience trembling of the head after eating the leaves of holly plants. Do not ignore this potentially very dangerous symptom. Even if the trembling is unrelated to the plant, it can be a sign of a variety of medical ailments and issues, such as ear mites, for example. The leaves also can trigger excessive salivation and repetitive smacking of the lips in cats.

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.

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