Is Chinese Evergreen Toxic to Cats?

Cat and Aglaonema Plant
Cat and Aglaonema Plant (Source: 9thart/ Reddit)

I brought a Chinese Evergreen home. And as soon as I brought it home, I saw my cat interested in the plant. Soon, a question popped into my head: is Chinese Evergreen toxic to cats?

Being a plant lover, I usually keep myself surrounded by them. But I always check them meticulously before I bring any plants home. Why may you ask?

Owning a pet makes it difficult at times since some plants are poisonous to them.

Chinese Evergreen plant is toxic to animals and humans. It contains calcium oxalate crystals that penetrate the oral tissue while chewing or biting, causing pain, burning, irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal system, and swelling of the upper airway.

Cat-Eating-a-Aglaonema-Plant
Cat Eating an Aglaonema Plant (Source: Gardener’s Path)

But I am confident that all of the plants I have are safe. However, that may not be the case for you.

Many people are interested in learning if Chinese Evergreen is toxic to cats. This article will answer all your burning questions.

Reason Why Chinese Evergreen Plants Are Toxic

Chinese Evergreen plant, also known as Aglaonema, is one of the most popular houseplants due to its simplicity of maintenance. In addition to being adaptable, this plant is extremely durable.

As a low-light leaf plant, Chinese Evergreen is popular in both homes and businesses. This easy-to-care-for plant is best cultivated indoors.

Chinese Evergreen is toxic as they contain calcium oxalate crystals. The crystals in Chinese Evergreen plants can cause irritation and burning.

Chinese evergreen plant
Chinese evergreen plant (Source: Apartment Therapy)

During chewing or biting, calcium oxalate crystals enter the oral tissue, causing severe discomfort, burning, irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal system, and swelling of the upper airway, necessitating a veterinarian visit.

Even though Aglaonemas are poisonous, their aesthetic appeal makes them much desired.

These are poisonous plants, although they seldom cause harm to humans or other animals because of their low toxicity.

The Toxic Part of Chinese Evergreen Plants

If you’re concerned about safety, you should know that all portions of the plant contain needle-shaped insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, making them toxic to animals and humans alike.

As a result, the entire plant is poisonous.

It’s not life-threatening, but it’s unpleasant to endure or witness.

Calcium oxalates, a calcium salt of oxalic acid, irritate and cause discomfort in soft tissues. One bite and the needle-like crystals pierce the gums and tongue, causing irritation and discomfort.

Chinese evergreen berries
Chinese evergreen berries (Source: The National Gardening Association)

Some Aglaonema plants produce red berries in the summer after the blooming phase has ended.

Even though children and animals would not typically consume plant leaves, there’s a chance that the berries are one of the reasons this plant is consumed.

To be on the safe side, remove the blooming stem before the berries develop.

Will a Chinese Evergreen Plant Kill My Cat?

Chinese Evergreen plants shouldn’t kill your cat, but the resulting sickness can be quite serious.

Cats can become poisonous if they consume insoluble calcium oxalate-containing products. Clinical symptoms may include pawing at the face, drooling and froth, and vomiting.

Swelling of the lips, tongue, oral cavity, and upper airway may also be present, making it difficult to breathe or swallow due to the discomfort.

As they don’t taste very nice, your pet could take a mouthful, barf it up, and that’s it.

Symptoms After Consuming Chinese Evergreen Plant

Even a novice indoor gardener can appear like an expert with Chinese Evergreens. You can grow this tropical foliage plant in low light, arid air, and even drought.

Despite its many benefits, it also has certain downsides that need to be addressed.

These calcium oxalate crystals are poisonous if eaten or touched by the sap/juice of this plant. Dogs, cats, and horses are most at risk, but people can also be affected.

Chewing or biting into the plant releases the crystals. If animals eat the plant, we can expect negative effects.

Some of the typical symptoms include the following.

SymptomsHow to identify
Lack of appetite Cats are not interested in eating and have been avoiding it.
Trouble swallowing Cats take longer than usual to swallow the meal. Also, note if it is tough for your cat to swallow.
Even burning or swelling mouth Check for changes in the mouth area, such as redness or swelling.
Difficulty breathingCheck your cat's respiration, alertness, and usual behavior.
VomitCats do not eat much but are continuously throwing up.
DiarrheaThe consistency of the feces has changed to that of a fluid.
Froth at the mouth A lot of froth around a cat's mouth.
DroolingUnusual drooling without being aware of it.

Learn more about the symptoms of Chinese Evergreen poisoning in pets.

Diagnosis of Chinese Evergreen Plant Poisoning

In rare cases, houseplants attract cats’ curiosity to the point that they try to consume the plants outright. Many of the symptoms will be apparent as soon as the calcium oxalate crystals from Chinese Evergreen are exposed.

If your pet is acting strangely and you’re not sure what they ate, look at the plants to see if you can obtain any clues.

You should pay attention to the cat’s symptoms and, if any exist, remove any plant bits that may still be in the cat’s mouth as quickly as possible.

If any of the symptoms match, you must take your pet to the veterinarian.

You can also turn to medication to treat nausea, discomfort, and breathing issues. But only after consulting your vet.

You can give your cat first aid treatment after diagnosing the poisoning. Continue below to learn how.

First Aid Care For Cats

If you suspect your cat or pet has ingested a Chinese Evergreen plant, the following measures should be followed.

  • Get your cat outside to get some fresh air.
  • Rinse and cleanse the mouth thoroughly with water.
  • After that, the animal’s discomfort can be alleviated by administering calcium-rich foods such as yogurt, milk, cheese, or other calcium-rich food.
  • Give your cat some water, but don’t force it.
  • You may also give your cat ice chips to help with the pain in their mouth until you can get in touch with your veterinarian.
  • Never give your cat any treatment or cause vomiting without first consulting your veterinarian.

Your cat should fully recover within 12 to 24 hours of ingesting the poison if the first aid treatment is given properly.

I have listed down some common medicines you can give your cats under a doctor’s prescription.

Disclaimer: It is absolutely crucial to consult with your veterinarian regarding your cat’s condition before giving them any medicine.

MedicationPurposeDose RateMedicine TypeTimingCommon Side Effects
Cyproheptadine hydrochloride (CH)To treat a lack of appetite.0.25 - 0.5 mg/kgTabletEvery 24 hoursUrine retention.
Dry mouth.
Increased body temperature.
Excitation.
Vomiting.
Diarrhea.
Decreased appetite.
AntihistamineTo reduce oral swelling.1 mg/kgTabletEvery 24 - 48 hoursLethargy.
Dry mouth.
Urinary retention.
Vomiting.
Diarrhea.
Lack of appetite.
MetronidazoleTo relieve diarrhea.7.5 - 10 mg/kgTabletEvery 12 hoursNausea.
Vomiting.
Regurgitation.
Drooling.
KapectolinTo help with gastrointestinal irritation.1 - 2 ml/kgLiquidEvery 4 - 6 hoursMild constipation.

Important Note: If your cat is pregnant or has some underlying medical conditions, consult with your doctor before giving them any medicine.

Keep in touch with your veterinarian constantly regarding the status of your cat. I cannot stress this enough!

Learn more about the Chinese Evergreen poisoning in cats and dogs and the first aid treatment.

Treatment of Chinese Evergreen Plant Ingestion

There is no need to be alarmed if your cat has eaten the plant. Symptoms should be detected early, and treatment should begin quickly; it’s possible to take care of the cat at home.

Even while the initial reaction might be shocking to watch, the majority of cats will recover quite soon. The symptoms usually go away after 24 hours.

Thoroughly washing the mouth and affected areas with cold, clean water will be the first step in therapy. The soreness in your cat’s mouth may be relieved by placing ice chips in his bowl of water.

A veterinarian should be consulted if a cat is swelling or trouble in breathing persists.

Treatment is symptomatic and may involve removing the plant from the mouth, medicines to reduce vomiting, painkillers, and in rare cases, airway blockage management.

Call your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at (888) 426-4435

Recovery from Chinese Evergreen Plant Ingestion

After a poisoning event, your cat has a long road to recovery. And the length of time it takes to recover is determined by the toxin that afflicted them.

The healing process takes time, but the unpleasant effects of the crystals in the mouth and gastrointestinal system generally subside within 12 to 24 hours of consumption.

However, any swelling in the airway should be examined by a specialist.

It’s unusual to consume large amounts of calcium oxalate crystals due to the first discomfort and agony they cause in the mouth.

Preventing Your Pets from Eating Chinese Evergreen Plants

plants-toxic-to-cats
plants-toxic-to-cats (Source: Memphis Veterinary Specialist)

Chinese Evergreens are also moderately poisonous, causing minor discomfort to a pet’s mouth and stomach if ingested.

You can follow the preventive measures to help to prevent your cats from eating toxic plants.

  • As a rule of thumb, you should hang toxic plants out of your cat’s reach or place them where your cat is not allowed.
  • Spray the plant with pepper spray to hush away your cat. You can buy several pepper sprays available on the market that is intended to dissuade cats from nibbling.
  • Try dabbing a cotton ball with a little citrus or peppermint oil and placing it on the dirt. It’s a scent that most cats dislike and avoid. Reapply after a few days until the cat loses interest in the flower.
  • Cats love to eat grass, and it’s no wonder. You may provide them with a patch of grass. Afterward, they’ll stop bothering the plants.

You can get a cat grass kit for your cats to nibble on. Cat grass are healthy and perfectly safe for your cats.

Conclusion

The ideal situation for every pet owner is for their pet never to become poisoned. We love our pets and want them to be as happy and healthy as they possibly can be.

Never assume that plants are harmless, whether you’re just organizing a plant or buying a new houseplant, because pets like nibbling on plants, and these naive creatures will eat everything.

Unfortunately, many pets have died because not all plants are safe for animals to consume.

There are numerous variables to consider as a pet owner when purchasing plants.

We may minimize toxicity risks and establish safe, healthy living conditions for our cats by considering which plants are toxic to them.

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