Are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Cats – Which Bonsai to Choose if You Have a Cat
Many bonsai enthusiasts might be wondering – are bonsai trees poisonous to cats?
If you have cats you might be reluctant to get a bonsai tree and rightfully so. There are many plants that are toxic to cats, so you should always double check before bringing in a new plant to your home.
As far as bonsai trees are concerned, there are certain varieties of them that are toxic to cats. In fact the majority of them are toxic to pets.
This doesn’t mean, however, that your cat is in danger with the tree just present in the room. Bonsai trees are toxic only if ingested in any way. This includes your cat nibbling on the branches, leaves, seeds or fruits of the tree.
So how can you make sure your cat is safe when you have bonsai trees in the house? Read on to find out which bonsai trees are poisonous to cats and which tree types can coexist with your feline friends.
Why are Bonsai Trees Poisonous to Cats
Many plants have developed defence mechanisms to protect them from animals and insects and bonsai trees are no exception. While the toxins in them may not be harmful to people, they can be bad and even deadly to cats, dogs and other animals.
A lot of house plants, including bonsai such as the Sago Palm, contain the toxin cycasin. This is an agent that can be seriously harmful to your cat’s liver.
Which Bonsai Trees are Poisonous to Cats
The key to keeping your cat safe when you have bonsai trees in the house is knowing which trees are toxic to cats. Here are some of the bonsai trees that are toxic and potentially dangerous to your cat:
- Sago Palm
- Azalea Bonsai Tree
- Chinese Rubber Plant
- Boxwood Tree
- Fig Bonsai Tree
- Ficus Retusa
How to Keep Your Cat Away from Your Bonsai
If you already have a toxic bonsai tree in your home, you shouldn’t necessarily have to dispose of it. There are some steps you can take to protect your pet from nibbling your bonsai collection.
The first thing to do is keep your bonsai out of reach from your feline friend. Look for a high shelf or plant stand to display your collection. Do make sure, however, that there is no furniture your cat can use to get to your bonsai.
Now this may not be an option for all bonsai growers, but if you do have the space in your house, have a dedicated pet-free room for your collection. A glasshouse or a study with plenty of light will be a fantastic place to display your trees without worrying.
Another idea you can try to stop your cat from nibbling your bonsai tree, is getting them something else to nibble on. A pot of catnip or cat thyme, will be a great distraction, that’s not only safe but also healthy for any feline.
What to do if Your Cat Ingests Part of a Toxic Bonsai Tree
So what should you do if your cat accidentally ingests a part of a toxic bonsai? If you find that the leaves or branches of your tree have been nibbled on, the first thing to do is look for your cat.
If possible try to gently extract any vegetation left in your cat’s mouth then wash it with water. It’s important to only do this if you feel completely confident.
Do not attempt to induce your cat to vomit unless your vet has instructed you to do so.
If your cat shows any symptoms of poisoning, immediately call your regular vet or an emergency veterinary service. Make sure to describe the exact symptoms you observe in your cat and how long they have been present for.
It’s a good idea to take a sample of the tree your cat ingested with you, should your vet ask you to bring your cat in for examination. Different types of toxic plants have different treatments, so the faster your vet can identify what plant your cat has ingested, the faster they can get the right treatment.
Symptoms of Bonsai Tree Poisoning
The toxic chemicals in a bonsai tree can cause many different effects on your pet. If you suspect your cat has ingested part of a toxic bonsai tree, you should look out for the following symptoms:
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Irritation or rashes
- Lethargic behaviour
- Breathing problems
- Slower heart rate
Keep in mind that your cat might not experience all the symptoms described above but a combination of a few. Some symptoms such as vomiting occur when the toxin levels are really high in which case it might already be too late.
If you have bonsai trees at home, always keep an eye on your cat and immediately call your vet if you notice any symptoms of intoxication.
Which Bonsai Trees are Safe for Cats
In case you are asking yourself if there are any bonsai trees that are safe for cats, worry not! Although many bonsai can be toxic to pets, there are plenty of pet-friendly options to choose from. Some of the most popular bonsai trees that are safe for cats include:
Before you purchase a bonsai tree, always check if it’s safe for your pet. This list of plants that are toxic and non-toxic to cats can help when choosing a bonsai.
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