However pretty and attractive the plants and flowers in your garden are, they can be a real threat to your pets. Cats, among others, are sometimes victims of their overly inquisitive nature, and their attraction to the exquisite flower you just bought can take a dramatic turn.
Among the species considered toxic to pet felines, the beautiful peony is, unfortunately, part of this list. Indeed, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the Pet Poison Helpline, peonies contain a toxin called paeonol, concentrated on the bark but present in all parts of the plant. If ingested in large quantities, this toxin can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
However, according to the various sources consulted, the toxicity of peonies for cats is relatively mild and does not generally lead to death.
What Makes Peonies Toxic to Cats?
Peonies (Paeonis officinalis) are known by around forty species of perennial, herbaceous, or shrub plants. The leaves are tender or dark green, sometimes silvery. The flowers can be fragrant, erect, solitary, or cup or bell-shaped.
It is paeonol, a compound found in the root barks of peonies such as Paeonia suffruticosa, which is responsible for the plant’s toxicity to certain animals, such as cats, dogs, and horses. However, the mechanism of action of the toxin in cats has not yet been established. However, toxic reactions have been shown in some pets, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even depression.
What Are the Signs of Poisoning From Peonies in Cats?
Although a priori, ingesting a part of peony is not likely to cause severe consequences in your kitty, and it is useful to know the signs related to peony poisoning:
These signs are also likely to occur if your cat has ingested any other kind of poisonous plant.
What to Do if Your Cat Has Eaten a Peony?
Either way, if you see your cat eating a plant and you’re unsure if it’s poisonous, take the following steps before taking them to your vet:
Besides, the identification of the plant is crucial in determining the treatment. If you are unsure of the name of the poisonous plant your cat has been exposed to, take a sample to your vet or a photo.
Be aware that cats are very good at hiding their signs; it’s a defense mechanism that keeps them safe. Call your vet if you suspect your cat has consumed peonies, even if they have no noticeable signs of illness. That being said, signs like diarrhea, lethargy, and vomiting are hard to hide. So, always be on the lookout for distress signals from your beloved feline.
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