Oleanders and Cats: Poisoning is Often Fatal

The oleander can be found in almost every garden in summer, as it exudes Mediterranean flair with its splendor of flowers. However, cat owners should be particularly careful because oleander poses a deadly danger to cats.

Oleanders and Cats

  • All parts of the oleander are very poisonous to cats.
  • The contained toxins have a cardiac paralyzing effect and can lead to cardiac arrest within a very short time.
  • In the event of poisoning by the oleander, the cat must be treated immediately by a veterinarian.

How Toxic is the Oleander Really to Cats?

The oleander is not rightly considered one of the most poisonous plants for cats. Both the flowers of the ornamental shrub and the elongated, dark green leaves contain the very poisonous substances nerioside and oleandrin. If consumed, the toxins can cause severe poisoning and even death in cats. This is due to the particularly dangerous effect of the toxins on the organism, especially on the heart.

Can Cats Eat Small Amounts of Oleander?

Under no circumstances should your cat nibble on the oleander or eat parts of the plant. The cardiac glycoside oleandrin causes severe symptoms even in a low dose and, in the worst case, can lead to cardiac arrest.

Nibbling on the plant and even sharpening the claws on the oleander trunk can be fatal for the cat.

How Do You Recognize Oleander Poisoning in Cats?

Once your cat has come into contact with the highly poisonous shrub, there is a risk of poisoning. You should therefore act quickly and take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect that your velvet paw has eaten parts of the plant.

If left untreated, poisoning by the oleander can lead to death within a few hours.

These symptoms are typical of oleander poisoning:

  • Cardiac arrhythmias up to cardiac arrest
  • Slow pulse
  • Dilated pupils
  • Tremors and convulsions
  • Circulatory disorders in the legs
  • Decrease in body temperature
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

How is Oleander Poisoning in Cats Treated?

If you catch your cat in the act and see you nibbling on the oleander, stop them immediately. Check whether there are any parts of the plant in the cat’s mouth and remove them immediately. Offer your cat fresh water, as drinking is particularly important in the event of poisoning.

Under no circumstances should you give your cat milk, as the effects of the poison are enhanced by milk.

After taking immediate action, call the vet immediately and describe the situation. Make your way to the veterinarian’s office right away, as prompt treatment is necessary. If the oleander is poisoned, the cat is given infusions to remove the poison from the body. Medicines can also be administered to stabilize the heart and circulatory system and to combat nausea.

Avoid Oleander

The oleander is anything but harmless to cats. To reduce the risk of poisoning, do not use the flowering shrub in your home. Especially if your cat has access to the balcony or garden, it should not come into contact with the plant there. If you overwinter the shrub in the house, be sure to keep it in a closed room to which the cat has no access.

Alice White

Written by Alice White

Alice White, a devoted pet lover and writer, has turned her boundless affection for animals into a fulfilling career. Originally dreaming of wildlife, her limited scientific background led her to specialize in animal literature. Now she happily spends her days researching and writing about various creatures, living her dream.

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