Is Bird Of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) Toxic To Cats?

Bird of paradise is a wonderful plant for those looking to add a tropical flare to their home.

With their fan leaves and beautiful crane-like flowers, it’s no wonder so many plant lovers want to add this indoor plant to their collection.

Though it can be a beautiful addition to your home, there are other factors to consider if you are a cat parent.

Bird of paradise can be toxic to our feline friends, so it’s important to be on high alert if your cat has access to your house plants.

In this article we will discuss the details of bird of paradise toxicity in cats, and help you better understand what you can do if your cat gets their paws on this plant.

Is Bird Of Paradise Toxic To Cats

What Is A Bird Of Paradise Plant?

Bird of Paradise, or Strelitzia, is a popular indoor plant due to its beautiful leaves and general durability.

Not only does this plant have large banana leaves, but it also produces a vibrant flower when offered the ability to thrive.

The flower itself is compared to a colorful bird, and is likely why the plant is also referred to as the crane flower.

This plant stands tall in its prime, and can survive in an array of different lighting options.

Are Bird Of Paradise Plants Poisonous To Cats?

Yes, the bird of paradise plant and flower are considered mildly toxic to cats.

The leaves and flower portion of the plant contain an array of GI irritants, with the most concentrated amount of irritants being in the flower itself.

Even a small amount of the plant can lead to GI upset in cats, causing symptoms ranging from anorexia to diarrhea.

It’s important to note that bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) should not be confused with bird of paradise (Caesalpinia or Poinciana gilliesii).

Though the two may have the same common name, this Caesalpinia plant is much more toxic than the plant we are referring to in this article.

We know this is a bit confusing, but just remember that the tropical houseplant we are discussing today is still considered toxic, but not typically life-threatening.

Symptoms Of Bird Of Paradise Poisoning In Cats

As we mentioned above, the bird of paradise plant (Strelitzia reginae) contains GI irritants in both the leaves and the flower.

These chemicals can be harsh on the digestive tract as the plant material moves through the stomach and intestines, causing an array of GI symptoms to follow.

Some of the most common symptoms of bird of paradise toxicity in cats include:

  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Anorexia
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Abdominal pain

While these plants are listed as mildly toxic, the GI symptoms that accompany their ingestion can still be extremely uncomfortable for our feline friends.

If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat and you have a bird of paradise in your home, we suggest seeking veterinary care.

What Should I Do If My Cat Eats A Bird Of Paradise Plant?

If your cat consumes any portion of a bird of paradise plant, we suggest reaching out to your vet for further guidance.

They may suggest a wait and see approach if your cat simply nibbled on the plant, or they could recommend inducing vomiting if you fear your cat ate a large amount.

No matter the situation for your feline friend, we always suggest giving your vet a call.

It’s also recommended to reach out to the pet poison helpline, as they can offer additional guidance in these situations.

Should I Make My Cat Vomit At Home?

While it may be tempting to make your cat vomit up the plant material they just ate, we never suggest inducing vomiting at home in a cat.

Though dogs can be given hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting in certain situations, the same should not be done for cats.

Hydrogen peroxide can be extremely irritating to a cat’s digestive tract, so it’s important to refrain from offering it, no matter how badly you need them to vomit.

If your cat ever ingests something potentially toxic, the best thing to do is have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If your veterinarian would like to induce vomiting, they can offer a safe way to do so.

Treating Bird Of Paradise Poisoning In Cats

Treating a bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) toxicity in cats typically involves conservative supportive care.

Many situations only require hydration support if symptoms are present, antiemetics for nausea, antidiarrheal medication for diarrhea, and even a sensitive diet to allow for easy digestion.

Most cats can be treated on an outpatient basis, and will typically go on to make a full recovery.

Though the side effects of this toxicity are typically minor, they can still deeply impact our feline friends.

Both diarrhea and vomiting can dehydrate a cat quickly, especially if they are not eating or drinking due to their upset stomach.

This is why we suggest seeking veterinary care no matter how minor their GI symptoms may seem.

Will My Cat Be Okay?

Most cats that ingest any portion of the bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae) plant will make a full recovery with veterinary support.

These feline friends may require medication to alleviate their symptoms, but they typically bounce back to their normal selves within 5-7 days of initial treatment.

The sooner you seek veterinary care when your cat eats this houseplant, the better their chance at making a fast recovery.

Final Thoughts

Bird of paradise is a beautiful plant that many choose to showcase in their home.

Just be sure that your feline friend does not have access to any portion of the plant, and you can prevent potential toxicities in the future.

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