Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Poisonous Plants for Cats

In Health Tips on April 25, 2013 at 10:58 am

Plants can cause a number of different symptoms and problems for your cat. There are hundreds of plants that are labeled ‘toxic’ or ‘poisonous’ to cats. Are you familiar with common household plants that are bad for your cat?

photo (2) copyPersonally every time I bring a new plant into my apartment I immediately go onto the ASPCA toxic plant website and do a little research. For example I was given an orchid. I assumed it was toxic and would cause problems for my cat. After looking up orchids, I found that they in fact are not toxic. After finding this out I no longer had any worries.

Since most people aren’t as crazy about cats and plants as I am, I thought creating a top 10 household plants which are toxic list. Here they are:

  1. Asparagus fern- the toxic substance is Sapogenins. This plant causes allergic dermatitis. If your cat eats the berries, this could result in vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.
  2. Corn Plant- the toxic substance is Saponins. This plant causes vomiting, depression, anorexia, hypersalivation, dilated pupils, and sometimes blood in the vomit.
  3. Dieffenbachia- the toxic substances include insoluble calcium oxalates and proteolytic enzymes. The plant causes oral irritation, burning of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
  4. Elephant ear- the toxic substance is the insoluble calcium oxalate. This plant causes oral irritation and burning of the mouth, excessive drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing.
  5. Lilies- the toxic substance is currently unknown, but eating this plant can lead to kidney failure for your cat.
  6. Cyclamen- the toxic substance is terpenoid saponins. This plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abnormal heart rhythms, seizures, and even death.
  7. Heartleaf philodendron- the toxic substance is the insoluble calcium oxalates. This plant can cause oral irritation with burning of the mouth
  8. Jade leaf- the toxic substance is unknown, but this plant can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  9. Aloe plant- the toxic substance is Saponins. This plant can cause vomiting, diarrhea, depression, anorexia, tremors, and change in urine color.
  10. Hydrangea- the toxic substance is Cyanogenic glycoside. This plant can cause vomiting, depression, diarrhea with gastrointestinal issues.

You might be thinking this is a list of very common household plants, that’s because it is. Just be aware of the plants you have in your home and whether or not your cat likes to eat those plants.

Incase you are feeling a little sad about all of these plants which are bad for your cat, here are 10 plants that are not toxic for your cat:

  1. Blue Echeveria
  2. Bamboo
  3. Areca (Golden Palm)
  4. Burro’s Tail (Lamb’s Tail)
  5. Christmas Cactus
  6. Cliff Brake (Button Fern)
  7. Hens and Chickens
  8. Pearl Plant
  9. Pony Tail Palm
  10. Orchid

Have you looked up the plants you have in your home?

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What Not to Feed Your Cat

In Health Tips on April 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

Like every animal out there, there are foods that are toxic to cats. Some worse than others. Since you own a cat why not keep a list of foods not to give your cat around? This is something that could save your cat from a possible trip to the vet. Here is a list of foods I suggest avoiding:

  1. photo (1) copyOnion, Chives, and Garlic– any type of onion product breaks down red blood cells in your cat which can lead to anemia. Chives and garlic can cause vomiting and diarrhea.
  2. Grapes and Raisins– these can cause kidney failure even at a small amount. Signs include vomiting and hyperactivity.
  3. Chocolate– the toxic substance in chocolate is theobromine, which is in every kind of chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is. Signs of toxicity include: abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and even death.
  4. Candy and Gum– the toxic substance in candy, gum, toothpaste (human), and diet foods is xylitol. This substance causes an increase in insulin, which then causes a drop in your cats blood sugar. Initial signs include: vomiting, lethargy, and loss of coordination. Seizures and liver failure can occur within a few days.
  5. Raw Eggs, Meat, and Fish– first off all of these could cause food poisoning such as salmonella. Raw eggs contain avidin in the whites which block the absorption of B vitamins. This then can cause skin issues. In raw fish there is an enzyme, which destroys thiamine. A lack of thiamine can cause neurological issues.
  6. Milk and other Dairy Products– a little milk here and there is fine, but too much can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea.
  7. Caffeine– Caffeine is a toxic substance, which is in many drinks such as coffee and tea. Caffeine can cause increased heart rate, restlessness, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and bleeding.
  8. Mushrooms– some mushrooms contain toxins, which affects multiple systems of the body. The toxins can lead to shock and even death.
  9. Alcohol– hopefully many owners know not to give their cat alcohol. Very small amount of alcohol can have detrimental effects on your cats liver and brain and could lead to a coma or death.
  10. Fat Trimmings and Bones– fat can cause gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting and diarrhea. The bones could cause a foreign body or even cut the intestines.
  11. Dog Food– a few pieces here and there won’t hurt, but a steady diet of dog food does not have the necessary nutrients cats need. This could lead to severe malnourishment.

As you can see there are many human foods which can cause different issues for your cat. There are a few foods that are ok to give your cat. These include: cooked boneless beef or chicken and rice. Though these foods are ok for your cat to eat, make sure they are getting cat food so they are getting the nutrients they need!

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Cats and Strings

In Health Tips on April 8, 2013 at 10:50 am

As a cat owner you are very well aware how much your feline friend LOVES to play with strings, hair ties, dental floss, yarn, basically anything that is long and moves in the wind! Many cat toys consist of a thin piece of wood or plastic with a toy attached to the end by some sort of string material. Cats love these. But, have you ever thought about what happens when your cat accidentally eats that string?

photo (3) copyWhy String is Bad:

When a cat ingests a string-like material it causes what’s called a linear foreign body. Usually what tends to happen is one end of the string is in the small intestines while the other end is still in the mouth. The string is taking over a good portion of the gastrointestinal system.

When you notice this is a problem is when you see the string in your cat’s mouth or coming out the other end. The first instinct for many cat owners is to pull it. DON’T! This is where it gets tricky. If you pull the string out, it could saw away at parts of the GI system and possibly rupture the intestines. This could lead to a very sick cat.

What to do:

Take your cat to the vet, as soon as you can. Try and determine exactly what your cat ate. Was it part of a toy? Yarn? Whatever the material is, bring what you can with to the vet so they can determine how long the material might be. Your vet may want to scope the esophagus and stomach prior to any surgery to get a good feeling of how far the string goes.

Your vet will have to surgically remove the string if it extends past the stomach into the intestines. If the string only extends through the esophagus your vet may feel comfortable scoping out the material—a non-surgical procedure.

Whichever way it goes, something needs to be done. String is a material that does not just pass because cats tend to eat more than a few inches.


If you have toys containing string-like material, remember to put those toys out of reach when you’re not around. If you keep yarn, sewing material, or anything else in the ‘string’ category make sure your cat does not have access to it. Cats are curious animals. If it looks fun and they can play with it, they might chew on it. When this happens cats sometimes ingest it.

Just keep sting away from your pet. What are things your cat enjoys to play with? Ever see them chew on it? Be careful and remember to never pull a string from your cat!

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Easter Lilies and Your Cat

In Health Tips on March 26, 2013 at 9:55 am

As Easter is fast approaching I want to stress to every cat owner about the potential hazards that may take over your house without even realizing it. With Easter, comes flowers, candies, and other materials cats think are toys and dinner.

photo (1) copyLilies:

I hope if you own a cat you are aware of the dangers lilies bring to your pet. When a cat eats a lily you don’t physically see any signs of toxicity until 6-12 hours after ingestion. At this point you might notice your cat vomiting, seeming lethargic, or just acting sick. Unfortunately we are not sure why lilies are toxic, but we do know that the entire plant can cause problems for cats if ingested. If your cat is not treated right away, your pet could develop kidney failure.

If you do notice that your cat has eaten any part of a lily take him/her into your vet right away. They will want to start IV fluids to flush the toxicity out of your cats system. They will also start your cat on stomach protectants.

With medical treatment right away, your cat will leave the hospital healthy and ready to eat more lilies. The key, keep them out of reach!

Candy, Chocolate, and Gum:

In many candies and gums contains an ingredient called Xylitol. This is important to know because it is extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol is lethal at a very small dose. A 10-pound dog could die if it consumes one stick of gum containing xylitol. If consumed, dogs can develop hypoglycemia (low glucose) or hepatic necrosis (liver failure).

Chocolate as many know is toxic to dogs as well. It contains an ingredient called theobromine. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it becomes. If your dog consumes chocolate you might see the following signs: excitement, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea, excess thirst, seizures, and possibly a coma.

If your dog consumes chocolate or candy make sure to have them vomit right away. Also call your vet. They will give you specific instructions on what to do. Before calling your vet, try to get a good idea of how much they ate and exactly what it was. This way your vet can determine how toxic what they ate is.

Easter Grass:

One last item around during Easter is the Easter grass many products come with. Cats are highly interested in this stuff. It is light and moves around while making a fun sound. And as you know since owning a cat, cats love to eat things like this. If your cat does eat this, or anything else like strings, this is very dangerous because it can cause a linear foreign body.

The reason linear foreign bodies are so dangerous is because they can cut away at your cat’s intestines and esophagus. Once a cat consumes Easter grass I would not recommend pulling it out or making your cat vomit. If you pull it out, it could cause more damage if it is further down in the digestive track. Take your cat to your vet, they will know the best procedure.


Keep plants, candies, chocolate, and Easter grass away from your pets! Easter is supposed to be spent with family and friends, not in the emergency room for your cat or dog. As an owner your responsibility is to keep them healthy and safe!

Has your pet gotten into something over a holiday and landed you in the emergency room?

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The Runs of Diarrhea

In Health Tips on March 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

Every pet owner, at some point or another, has encountered the challenge of having an animal with diarrhea. We all now this is an unpleasant experience for both the animal and owner. Your pet has the urgency to always have to “go,” and you have the task of cleanup. But, why do our pets get diarrhea in the first place?



One of the main causes is from eating something your pet shouldn’t. This causes an upset stomach just like we get. Other reasons diarrhea occurs includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Toxicities
  • High fat diets
  • Sudden change in diet
  • Reaction to medication or allergens
  • Virus
  • Gastrointestinal disease such as inflammatory bowel disease, liver or kidney disease, cancer, etc.
  • Parasites
  • Poor diet
  • Compromised immune system

As you can see, if your animal begins having diarrhea, there are a number of different causes. When an animal has diarrhea they tend to have a frequency of needing to go out, straining to defecate, they could become dehydrated, lose their appetite, or even develop a fever.

What should you do?

Since diarrhea can be a common theme, I suggest starting with a 12-hour period of no food. This can clear the stomach of any bad foods and helps to start over. After 12 hours is up begin with a bland diet, starting with small portions and working up to a normal meal.

A Bland diet could include lean ground beef, cooked thoroughly making sure to drain out all grease and serve it with cooked rice. Or, cooking a boneless, skinless chicken breast and shredding it over rice. These are some easy to make at home recipes.

Otherwise your veterinarian might be able to provide a few cans of a bland prescription diet such as Science Diet I/D or Royal Canine gastrointestinal. For these food, you need a prescription from your vet. These diets help ease the stomach and hopefully recover your animal’s problem.

After you start feeding your pet a bland diet, continue to do so until their stool looks normal. Also make sure they are only receiving this diet, no treats or table scraps. If the pets stool turns normal within 72 hours, begin slowly transitioning their food back to their normal diet. Do this over the course of 3-4 days.

If their stool does not improve within 72 hours, or your animal begins having blood in their stool you should call your vet and let them know what you have tried. At this point, your pet is probably dehydrated and what you thought was simply a case of an upset stomach, could reveal there is something else going on.

Diarrhea can be more then a simple case of an upset stomach. It might actually be the only sign you get from your pet when something more serious is going on. But if it were my pet, and he was completely healthy, I would start with the bland diet and if that does not work I would talk with my vet and begin running some tests. If you are lucky you might catch a disease or problem before it becomes more serious.

Diarrhea is a common problem but could become serious. Does your pet get diarrhea? What causes it? What do you do to stop or prevent it?

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