Are Juniper Berries Poisonous to Cats?

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Cats can make for very perplexing pets. They may be extremely finicky eaters but will consume and destroy plants around your house and yard. Although cats tend to be smart enough due to their sense of smell to avoid harmful and poisonous substances, there are still many things a cat owner should be aware of. Whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, it is always better to be safe about what plants you bring home.

Juniper Berries

  • Although juniper berries have a wide array of uses, their safety has come into question. The berries are used as an ingredient in gin, can be crushed and used in stews to flavor meats, and are also used to make tea. The berry is known to be a diuretic and has been used to treat urinary tract infections, water retention and inflammation. However, juniper berries must not be consumed by pregnant women or anyone with kidney problems. When it comes to your cats, the juniper berry should be avoided because it may have an affect on their kidneys.

Identification

  • The juniper berry grows on both the juniper shrub and the evergreen juniper tree. The berry starts out green and matures into a dark purple tone. Both the juniper tree and shrub are extremely common and found all over the northern hemisphere.

Plants to Avoid

  • There is a wide range of plants that can be extremely harmful, if not lethal, if ingested by your cat. Plants you should avoid if you own a cat are: aloe, holly, lilies, bird of paradise, carnations, daisies, tulips, mistletoe and ivy. Although your cat may take no interest in these plants, not bringing them into your home is the best way to avoid any complications with ingestion.

Side Effects

  • Some of the side effects to watch for if you think your cat has consumed a poisonous plant are: rash, irritation, swelling, trembling, coughing, difficulty breathing, diarrhea, vomiting and lack of coordination.

Treatment

  • Try to identify what your cat may have consumed. If the plant has only caused a skin irritation and not been ingested, give your cat a lukewarm bath to remove the cause of the irritation. If your cat is suffering from more severe symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately, especially since some of the side effects such as kidney, heart or nervous system failure can be difficult to identify.

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