Hibiscus is a common garden shrub kept for its beautiful appearance and medicinal values. Although native to Asia, the plant can survive the harsh European and American climates.
Commonly called “Rose of Sharon” or “Rose of China”, the deciduous plant sheds and regrows its large leaves and gigantic blossoms once every year. The blossoms can grow up to 6 inches wide and comes in different colors including red, orange, yellow, and pink.
While there’s no denying how beautiful the flowers can be, is hibiscus poisonous to cats? What happens if your cat ingests hibiscus leaves or flowers in large quantities?
Below we answer all these questions for you to decide whether or not it’s worth keeping hibiscus in your garden or home.
Is hibiscus poisonous to cats?
Although hibiscus is generally non-toxic to pets, a few varieties cause digestive distress in cats if ingested in large amounts. Significant quantities of hibiscus cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Since you might not tell which hibiscus variety is poisonous to cats, it’s best to keep the plants in areas your cat cannot reach.
Which part of hibiscus is toxic to cats?
Blossoms and stems of the hibiscus herb are the most poisonous to cats. The best way to prevent hibiscus poisoning in cats is to keep the beautiful herbs in places your cat cannot reach or access.
Can hibiscus kill cats?
Although ASPCA states that hibiscus is non-toxic to cats and other pets, ingestion in large quantities will cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Luckily, there has never been a documented report of hibiscus killing cats, but still, you need to keep the plant inaccessible to your pets.
Diagnosis of hibiscus poisoning in cats
If you witness your cat eating hibiscus (or suspect it ate the herb), you can expect your furry friend to experience gastrointestinal upset such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The best thing to do is to take your cat to your veterinarian.
The veterinarian will probably ask you questions relating to the incident and the medical history of your cat. They will also do a physical examination of your cat to identify the actual causes of the symptoms the pet is presenting.
Your veterinarian might also collect blood samples for blood count and biochemical profile tests. These tests measure cell counts and mineral levels in the cat’s bloodstream. Urinalysis is another test the vet might consider doing, which assesses what your cat is expelling through its urine as well as how the kidneys and liver are functioning.
Treatment of hibiscus poisoning in cats
The effects of hibiscus ingestion are likely to pass on without the need for any treatment. Although highly unlikely, severe cases of hibiscus poisoning might require medications to stabilize the cat.
If the cat has been vomiting or experiencing diarrhea for quite some time, intravenous fluids will be needed to rehydrate them. Such cases might also require your cat to be hospitalized.
Recovery of hibiscus poisoning in cats
Most cats that consume any part of the hibiscus plant often experience mild side effects that pass within 48 hours. You should keep a close eye on your cat during this period, providing them with sufficient clean water to drink to keep them hydrated.
If the common symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea remain persistent for 2 days, the best course of action is to take your cat to see a veterinarian. The veterinarian will do a physical examination and additional tests to identify the cause and decide the appropriate treatment.
How to prevent hibiscus poisoning in cats
If you keep hibiscus herb in your home, it’s ideal to make it inaccessible to your pets, including cats and dogs. You should also keep your cat indoors or limit their movements to protect them from coming in contact with toxic garden plants in the neighborhood.
While not all hibiscus varieties are poisonous to cats, putting in place preventive measures to keep your feline friend safe and healthy is important. You should take them to see a veterinarian in the event that you suspect your cat has ingested a large amount of hibiscus.