Is Alocasia Toxic to Cats?

Cat sitting near indoor plants
Cat surrounded by indoor plants (Source: Freepik)

So many of us are besieged by plants, both wild and potted ones adorning our living spaces. Whether planted in indoors, on lawns, or in gardens, they do not wrong us.

Even so, a small number of these species have the potential to adversely affect our cats (some other pets as well) and us. And Alocasia is one of such beautiful toxic plants.

According to ASPCA Alocasia is a toxic plant containing Oxalate crystals which can cause mouth distress, dizziness, vomiting, and indigestion.

Alocasia (Source: Pexels)
Alocasia (Source: Pexels)

Most cats are fussy eaters who are picky about what they feed. As a result, poisoning in cats is uncommon.

Youthful, curious cats and kittens are most likely to consume harmful plants, particularly those found in homes.

Cats also enjoy nibbling on specific grass when presented with the opportunity. In any case, if you possess cats (or dogs and babies!) and Alocasia, they might be at risk.

Well without further ado, here’s how you can deal with Alocasia poisoning if your pets ever consume them.

Is Alocasia Toxic to Cats?

Alocasia is found in a sub/tropical Asia, the tropical western Pacific, and eastern Australia. Like other sub-species in the Araceae family, it too constitutes insoluble oxalate crystals.

Munching or chewing on this plant will cause tissue penetration and discomfort in the mouth and GI tract. Inflammation of the upper airway infrequently emerges, making breathing difficult.

According to the official site of North Carolina State University, the toxic Alocasia has heart-shaped, long, and red stalks.

A Cat Beside A Plant in a table
A Cat beside a Plant (Source: Pexels)

These Alocasia veins are very distinguishable and white or pale yellow with rare tiny clusters of Alocasia’s toxic blooms.

Although the foliage of some species may comprise little or no toxin, all sections of these plants should be considered toxic.

If ingested, Alocasia is highly poisonous to dogs, cats, horses, and humans and can prove fatal. Alocasia can lead to skin irritation if it comes into contact with bare skin.

The calcium oxalate crystals found in the plant have jagged edges that irritate everything they come into contact with.

Since Alocasia is such a popular ornamental plant, it may be entailed with accidental or intentional toxicity on a regular basis.

Diagnosis of Alocasia Poisoning

The primary way of diagnosing if your pet has Alocasia poisoning is to make sure they have ingested the plant.

Thus, go and check the plant and calculate how much of the plant your pet has consumed. After that, look for the diagnostic symptoms and behavioral changes. 

Alocasia 'Elephant Ears'
Alocasia ‘Elephant Ears’ (Source: Wikimedia)

If you have not been able to identify the volume of Alocasia nibbled by your kitties, make sure you go forth with the at-home behavioral diagnosis before heading to the pet hospital for medical diagnosis.

A detailed behavioral diagnosis will make the clinical diagnosis more effortless and more efficient.

1. Behavioral or Physical Diagnosis

Physical manifestations will automatically appear within two hours of ingestion in most instances.

Symptoms of Alocasia Poisoning in Cats

The symptoms include:

  • Evident pain and irritation are evidenced by violent shaking of the head, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, barfing, and vomiting. 
  • In addition, the pet may whine, meow, or yelp in an abnormally hoarse or weak tone.
  • Distress, diarrhea, inappetence, and inflammation of the mouth, throat, and tongue.
  • The vomiting and diarrhea can dehydrate your pet heavily, cause electrolyte imbalances, and send the animal into shock.
  • Elevated drooling, asphyxiation, and throat swelling.
Sick Cat
Diagnosis of Alocasia poisoned Cat (Source: Unsplash)
  • Swelling can be so intense in some cases that it restricts oxygen intake, culminating in dyspnea (shortness of breath, gasping for air). 
  • Inability or trouble swallowing (dysphagia) may occur after consuming the plant.
  • Larger doses can cause severe gastrointestinal problems. 
  • When large quantities are absorbed into the body, the ailments become much more drastic.
  • They can include any or all of the above and convulsions, renal failure, coma, and fatality.

Large ingestions are unusual because the plant is both bitter in taste and an instantaneous allergen to the mouth.

If in case they manage hefty ingestion, the pet’s clinical symptoms will be significantly worse, resulting in cardiac abnormalities, dilated pupils, coma, and fatality.

Symptoms of Alocasia Poisoning in Humans

  • Dermal contact with this species can result in various symptoms, including redness, stinging, sores, and excruciating blisters.
  • Ingesting these plants can cause irritation and inflammation to the lips, mouth, throat, and tongue.
  • In severe cases, they can cause respiratory issues by causing inflammation in the oropharynx.
  • These oxalate crystals can become lodged in the kidneys, causing internal damage, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Sick Boy: From plant poisoning
Boy with Stomach Pain (Source: Free SVG)
  • Consumption of these plants, particularly in large quantities, is expected to have severe consequences for the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain.

2. Medical Diagnosis

Carry the plant with you to the medical professional if you see your cat or dog consume the plant.

This will aid in the diagnosis, which is mainly based on your details, such as what part of the plant your pet consumed, how much they swallowed, and when it happened.

Make sure to notify the veterinarian of any other symptoms you have discovered.

The vet will check abdominal palpation, core temperature, height, weight, reflexes, pulse rate, respiratory rate, and blood oxygenation.

Ascertain that the veterinarian is also aware of your cat’s medical records, including immunizations, previous diseases, and unusual behavior or appetite.

The medical practitioner will perform a complete blood count (CBC), blood chemical profile, blood gases, and a glucose test.

Veterinarian Examining the Cat
Veterinarian Examining the Cat (Source: Free SVG)

A urinalysis can also help diagnose Alocasia poisoning because the plant includes asparagine, which raises protein levels.

First Aid and Treatment from Alocasia Poisoning

The intervention will be determined by how much your pet consumed and how long ago it occurred. In most instances, the good news is that we can manage treatment at home.

1. First-Aid Methods

The first and foremost is to have a first aid kit for your furry pal in case of emergencies.

First-Aid-Kit-For-Pets
First Aid Kit For Pets (Source: Amazon)

Here are a few first aid kits for poisoning in cats

Ways to Provide First-Aid

  • Consider wearing protective gloves and relocating your cat to a well-ventilated area if you suspect they have ingested Alocasia.
  • Remove the remaining plant parts from the cat’s oral cavity. Make sure you wash the mouth several times and rinse with plain water.
  • You can then provide the animal yogurt, milk, cheese, or any other calcium-containing food to alleviate pain by possibly precipitating some of the calcium oxalate crystals.
  • The vast majority of the time, the pet will heal completely within 12-24 hours of consumption.
  • If the animal is undergoing more severe gastrointestinal discomfort, persistent vomiting, and diarrhea, it should be closely monitored for indications of dehydration and given fluid therapy if necessary.
  • To prevent excessive dehydration, make your cat drinks plenty of water.

Disclaimer! Before experimenting with your cat’s helath make sure to consult with a vet or professionals

These are the few common steps to help your pets recover from Alocasia poisoning. However, you need to make sure that the pet is under monitoring for the following few days.

If your cats consume the plant excessively, it can be fatal to your cats. But the lethality also depends on how timely your cat received the treatment.

Hence, it is better to take them to a vet as soon as you find out that they have consumed the plant.

In case the symptoms do not get better after 2-3 hours of first aid care, take them to the hospital immediately. Use the following Helplines:

2. Treatment Stages

Once you take your sick cat to the hospital, the medical professional will take the following treatments to ensure your furry friends recover efficiently. 

MedicinesDosagePurpose
AnticonvulsantsPhenobarbital:2-3 mg per pound twice a dayRelieves nerve pain
Muscle RelaxantsMethocarbamol:7-20 mg/ pound

5mg/ cat (Baclofen- causes toxicity on higher dose)
Muscle relaxation and control muscle spasm
Antiemetics100-200ml of fluids at one time.To stabilize vomiting
Anti-diarrheal agentsMetronidazole:7.5 - 10 mg/ kg

Tylosin:15 mg/ kg )
To reduce intestinal inflammation and stop diarrhea
ProtectantsSucralfate:1/4 to 1/2 gm every 6 to 8 hoursTo protect internal organs from acids and toxins.
Activated Charcoal1-5 gm/ kgTo lessen effects of poisoning
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)Robenacoxib:1 mg/ kg per day

Meloxicam:0.2 mg/ kg per day
To reduce inflammation and bring down high temperature
AntihistamineDiphenhydramine: 2-4mg/kg every 8 hours if neededTo minimize swelling, distress, and potential airway blockages caused by the body's inflammatory reaction

If the windpipe is blocked due to swelling, the pet should be kept in a veterinary office under inspection until the swelling subsides and the animal is breathing properly. 

Do not give your cat and dogs any prescription drugs without first discussing them with your veterinarian. This article is solely for informational purposes.

Recovery Stages

Arrange a quiet and peaceful place for your pet to rest once they return home. To avoid overtraining syndrome, it is best to keep your pets in a cage overnight. 

Your veterinarian may prescribe a simple diet for your pet until their digestive system returns to normal, so make sure to follow those instructions and provide plenty of water.

Alocasia poisoning can cause illness for up to two weeks, but the most severe complications usually go away within the first 24 hours.

Medicine enhancing cat's recovery
Medicine: Helpful for enhancing cat’s recovery (Source: Unsplash)

The amount of plant consumed and whether or not kidney damage occurred determine the overall recovery rate.

Although there have been few reports of cats dying due to Alocasia, it does not commonly occur.

Why is my Cat Eating Alocasia- with Preventive Measures

1. Why is my Cat Eating Alocasia?

As a famous proverb says, Prevention is better than cure! Position your Alocasia high up (best if kept in handing baskets) so that your cats do not reach the plant.

But before that, understand why your kitty is consuming Alocasia in the first place.

  • All cats, particularly housecats, get monotonous from time to time if they don’t get enough excitation.
  • Cats will devour plants to induce vomiting in order to relieve stomach upset.
  • Hairballs accumulate overtime in their stomach, and consuming plants encourages them to projectile vomit hairballs.
  • When cats are unwell, they will eat plants to vomit and rid themselves of parasites.
  • Excessive stress can cause your kitty to behave differently and be obnoxious.
Oxalate Crystal filled Monstera vs Cute cat. Who wins?
Oxalate Crystal-filled Plant vs. Cute cat. Who wins? (Source: Tenor)
  • Cats enjoy the crunchiness of some plants and will seek out the dry crunchy leaves.
  • Your cat craves your attention and will demonstrate this by behaving in ways that will entice you to give it to him.

2. How can I Prevent my Cat from Eating Alocasia?

Cats and innocence don’t go hand in hand.

These mischievous and curious fur balls are difficult to confine. Hence, it is not much of a surprise to see them occasionally munch on houseplants.

Numerous people who enjoy having Alocasia planted around their home go to great lengths to ensure that it is not reachable by a cat.

Some people choose to eliminate the plant entirely to be on the safe side. However, I suggest you to avoid this and maintain safety measures.

Several techniques for retaining your cats from ingesting Alocasia are:

  • Try placing your Alocasia at a height but not on shelves or furniture since these gymnasts might easily reach there.
  • Placing plants in a locked room or inside a greenhouse is also a full-prove method for maintaining their distances.
  • Use repellent sprays (Inscape Data Cat Spray Deterrent), or you can also DIY the spray yourself at home.
  • Cats hate citrus/peppermint smell. Likewise, rosemary and lavender can as well distance your cat from Alocasia.
  • Make sure you are letting your cat play with the artificial and safe plants to keep them occupied.
  • Fencing Alocasia and sprinkling coffee grounds is another method. But, not a highly reliable one.

Doesn’t Alocasia interest you? Well if it does then here is 15+ Beautiful Alocasia Varieties For Your Garden.

Conclusion

Cats enjoy munching on plants here and there.

Many places are out of bounds for your cats. Discovering those locations is critical for protecting both your cats and the beautiful plant.

You don’t need to abandon any of your companions. Just work on the preventive measures and follow the above-mentioned approach in the worst case.

We are sure you can keep them both happy and healthy.

Pat yourself for the success!!

There are many types of houseplants that you might want to bring into your home. Before that find out if they are toxic or not with Plants Craze!

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