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Are Asparagus Ferns Toxic To Cats

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Types Of Asparagus And Toxicity

How to Care For Your Invasive Asparagus Fern, Fox Tail Fern

There are many species of the asparagus plant, and two which are commonly grown are the vegetable asparagus and the houseplant and ornamental garden plant, the asparagus fern , also called emerald fern, sprengeri fern, plumose, and lace fern. While these two plants are both in the same genus and look a bit alike, they are distinct species, and asparagus ferns do not produce the edible shoots of their vegetable cousin.

The foliage and berries of both types of asparagus plants are mildly toxic and should not be eaten. Cats, dogs, and children are sometimes attracted to eating the berries, and this can produce intestinal upset, vomiting, and diarrhea. Touching the foliage of either type of asparagus causes a skin rash in some people and animals.

Diagnosis Of Sprengeri Fern Poisoning In Cats

When the cat has been brought to the clinic, the vet will rely primarily on a physical examination of the cat in order to verify the symptoms and diagnose the problem. The physical exam may be followed with imaging scans , which can yield more detailed information about the state of the internal organs. However, it is still important for owners to be able to provide accurate information regarding the cat’s symptoms and their progression. This information can prove invaluable for the vet and, in conjunction with a blood test, can help narrow down the root cause of the problem.

All About Asparagus Ferns

Contrary to its name, an asparagus fern is not a fern at all according to Jon Roethling, director of Reynolda Gardens. “It is a perennial belonging to a very diverse groups of plants including our edible asparagus ,” he says. “The cultivar ‘Myersii’ is commonly referred to as Foxtail Fern and ‘Sprengeri’ is what you typically find sold as Asparagus Fern and are typically what you will find sold in garden centers.” However, Roethling says that there are over a hundred species of Asparagus, so if you’re looking for a hardy leafy green you will likely be able to find the perfect one for your garden.

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Are Vegetables Safe For My Cat To Eat

Vegetables are packed full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as well as a range of antioxidants.

It might seem logical to want to feed your cat vegetables, given how beneficial they are to humans.

But will your cat really be benefiting from vegetables in their diet?

We all know that cats eat meat, but did you know theyre also defined as obligate carnivores? This means their digestive systems are specifically designed to thrive on a meat-only diet. Your cats digestive system is not designed to digest plant matter in even the smallest quantities.

Avoiding Plants Poisonous To Your Cat

Are Asparagus Ferns Poisonous To Cats?

Understandably, cat owners have good reason to be concerned about the toxicity of some household plants. According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, there were nearly 12,000 calls in 2018 related to ingesting common indoor and outdoor houseplants. And those numbers have probably grown.

Skip to Specific Plant Toxicity

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Asparagus Ferns And Cats

You should surround any asparagus fern plants in your garden with netting and fencing or hang baskets out of reach to keep your curious feline away from it. If your kitty manages to rub up against the leaves of the asparagus fern, the toxic saponin-based sap can cause swelling of the skin and blisters. Should your cat eat the berries or leaves of the asparagus fern, it may experience vomiting, diarrhea and gastrointestinal upset, warns the ASPCA.

If your kitty has had any contact with an asparagus fern and has munched on its leaves or possibly eaten asparagus fern berries, contact your veterinarian right away. Your vet may need to rinse your cat’s skin or the inside of its mouth and provide some supportive care in the form of intravenous fluids to help with dehydration caused by vomiting or diarrhea. The vet may also prescribe topical creams that can help with any skin irritation.

Does Your Cat Like Asparagus Or Artichokes

If you choose to give your cat a taste of asparagus, make sure it is washed and cooked. Whether cooking entails steaming, boiling, or grilling, let it be free from salt or other seasonings that contain garlic or onion, which are known to be dangerous to cats. Simply cooked and in very small portions, asparagus or artichoke may entertain or intrigue a cat, but shouldnt constitute a substantial part of their regular food intake.

Finally, fresh artichokes and asparagus are best when it comes to our cats. This rules out canned or pickled artichoke hearts and asparagus, which contain additives and preservatives, which may pose further unnecessary risks to our cats.

Do your cats ever express an interest in asparagus? What about artichokes? Let us know in the comments! Were always looking for a good spinach and artichoke dip recipe, too, so share the ones you like below!

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Artichoke And Asparagus: A Primer

Italy, where artichokes were first cultivated, is still the worlds leading producer by a wide margin. During the era of discovery, exploration, and colonial enterprise from the 15th through the 19th centuries people from these countries traveled globally, from the Far East to the Americas, and brought their favorite crops, artichokes and asparagus included, with them. Italian, French, and Spanish immigrants brought artichokes to the Mississippi Delta and the West Coast.

They flourished in California, where the vast majority of U.S. artichoke and asparagus production occurs. Asparagus has fewer environmental restrictions and grows well in wide variety of climates. Today, China is the largest global producer of asparagus. Many of us comb through farmers markets or scour the produce section of our local grocery stores to bring home the freshest artichokes and asparagus, but can we share these green treasures with our cats?

Which Vegetables Can I Feed My Cat

Are Fern Plants Poisonous To Cats

If you still want to give your kitty a small portion of vegetables, then many wont do them any harm.

Vegetables, including peas, carrots, and asparagus, are safe for most cats to eat in small quantities. However, remember that your cat isnt going to get much nutritional value from them.

Certain types of vegetables shouldnt be fed to your cat in even the smallest quantities. These include garlic, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes.

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Which Plants Are Safe For Cats Toxic And Nontoxic Houseplants

Theres a wide range of plants that can be toxic to cats. Common signs of a possible poisoning include drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or changes in appetite, mood, or eating or drinking habits, says Dr. Heather Graddy, lead veterinarian at Lakewood Veterinary Hospital in Colorado.

While risk of serious illness can be low from some plants if only one or two leaves are eaten, the danger typically goes up the more your cat has ingested, says Dr. Melanie Cohen, a veterinarian and founder of Angel Pet Veterinary Hospice in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Additionally, certain varieties of plants or flowers, like lilies, can also be rapidly life-threatening even with a very minimal exposure.

Heres what you need to know about which plants are safe for cats.

What Is The Treatment For Asparagus Fern Poisoning

If Asparagus Fern poisoning is suspected by your veterinarian when he or she will start by determining if your cat ate the berries or just brushed against the plant. If the cat brushed against the plant then usually on some skin irritation and blisters occur. Skin ointment will be applied and you will need to place the ointment on your cat for the next week until the wounds are healed.

Treatment for Asparagus fern ingestion is usually supportive by giving IV fluids and antiemetics to prevent dehydration. Over time the toxicity will wear off and your cat will begin to feel better and have a full recovery.

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Is Asparagus Fern Poisonous To Cats And Dogs

The Asparagus Fern is poisonous for both cats and dogs.

Typical symptoms include abdominal pain, allergic dermatitis, anorexia, diarrhea and vomiting.

Asparagus fern can be commonly found in flower arrangements and also in homes grown in hanging baskets. Though it may appear soft, they also have thorny spurs. This evergreen plant is native to southern Africa from Mozambique to South Africa.

The scientific name for this plant is Asparagus densiflorus cv sprengeri. Additional name for this plant include Asparagus, Climbing Asparagus, Climing Feather Fern, Emerald Feather, Emerald Fern, Feather Fern, Lace Fern, Plumosa Fern, Rasemose Asparagus, Shatavari and Sprengeri Fern.

How Much Asparagus Should I Feed My Cat

Pet Poison Helpline

Because a cats diet should consist of mostly animal proteins, only feed your cat a small amount of asparagus a couple of times a week. Any more could lead to significant health problems. The nutritional health benefits are so minimal, its not worth risking ill-health if your cat isnt reacting well to the vegetable.

However, asparagus could be a welcome change to your cats diet. If it is a food your cat enjoys, then offering it as a tasty treat is an excellent way to make your pet happy and content. Some cats will love the taste of asparagus, whereas others wont. If your cat doesnt enjoy the flavor, it will simply turn its nose up and walk away.

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Causes Of Sprengeri Fern Poisoning In Cats

The sprengeri fern contains large amounts of substances known as ‘sapogenins’. These are one particular offshoot of the family of chemicals known as ‘saponins’, which are produced by a large variety of plants across the globe. The primary function of saponins is to act as a deterrent against being eaten by grazing animals. Some saponins accomplish this by reducing the animal’s ability to properly metabolize foodstuffs, causing them to forgo eating the plant in favor of more nutritious forage. Other saponins have a more direct effect, producing digestive upset and other unpleasant symptoms in an effort to ward off predators. The mechanism by which the sapogenin accomplishes this is by acting primarily as an irritant, which causes the vomiting, diarrhea and oral inflammation. The toxin also directly damages cells once it has been absorbed into the body, thereby producing the aforementioned dermatitis.

Is Asparagus Bad For Cats

Asparagus shouldnt make up a large part of a cats diet. Asparagus is rich in potassium, which is alkaline. High alkaline levels can change the pH of a cats body, leading to an alteration of its urine chemistry.

From this, painful crystal formations can occur, which can cause blockages in the urinary tract and bacterial infections. If your cat has a history of urinary problems, avoid asparagus altogether.

Some fully-developed asparagus stems can distort a cats dental formula, which can hurt the gums and mouths. Because of this, cooked asparagus is easier for a cat to eat and kinder on the mouth and gums.

Also, most cats dont indulge in much exercise. Even the most active cats spend most of their day sleeping. Feeding them human foods raises the risk of obesity and can lead to an overworking of the pancreas. This can slow down the production and release of insulin, resulting in feline diabetes.

If you grow your asparagus, theres a high chance your cat will get hold of and eat asparagus fern. This is toxic, and if your cat consumes it, it may become very ill quickly.

Can Cats Eat Raw Asparagus?

Raw asparagus is okay, but it should be young and tender so its not too tough on a cats mouth. Asparagus that is well-developed can become a choking hazard and may even lead to vomiting.

If you choose to feed raw asparagus to your cat, cut it into bite-sized pieces so that it can be easily chewed and swallowed.

Can Cats Eat Cooked Asparagus?

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Are Aloe Plants Safe For Cats

With a cooling gel that serves as the go-to home remedy for sunburn, aloe vera plants are another good-for-you, bad-for-your-cat houseplant.

Thats thanks to their anthraquinones, substances that juice up the digestive tract, triggering vomiting and diarrhea as well as low mood and, in rare cases, tremors in cats, per the Pet Poison Helpline .

Common Household Plants Toxic To Cats

25 Plants Toxic to Cats you Need to Know!

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Hopefully, you’ve already read our article Top 10 Household Plants Safe for Your Cat.

But, it’s just as important to know what plants in your home or in your yard are toxic to cats.

That’s why we have put together this list of popular and common houseplants found in many homes. If you have any of these plants, don’t be hard on yourself you’re not alone. You can easily replace your toxic plant with something much safer and still fits with your decor.

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Ten Household Plants Dangerous To Dogs And Cats

  • Over 700 indoor/outdoor plants contain toxic substances that may harm dogs and cats.
  • If these plants are ingested, signs of poisoning can be mild to severe, sometimes even causing death.
  • Most houseplants have multiple names, so it is important to confirm that the houseplants you currently own or may purchase are not toxic to your pet.

Asparagus Fern

Asparagus fern is toxic to dogs and cats. The toxic agent in this plant is sapogenina steroid found in a variety of plants. If a dog or cat ingests the berries of this plant, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or abdominal pain can occur. Allergic dermatitis can occur if an animal is repeatedly exposed to this plant.

Corn Plant

Corn plant is toxic to dogs and cats. Saponin is the toxic chemical compound in this plant. If this plant is ingested, vomiting , appetite loss, depression, and/or increased salivation can occur. Affected cats may also have dilated pupils.


Dieffenbachia is toxic to dogs and cats. Dieffenbachia contains a chemical that is a poisonous deterrent to animals. If this plant is ingested, oral irritation can occur, especially on the tongue and lips. This irritation can lead to increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.

Elephant Ear

Elephant ear contains a chemical similar to the one in dieffenbachia, so an animals toxic reaction to elephant ear is similar: oral irritation, increased salivation, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting.



Heartleaf Philodendron

Jade Plant

Aloe Plant

Toxic Plants For Cats

A number of plants are poisonous to cats. Generally, cats will stay away from plants that will harm them, but sometimes curiosity and boredom get the better of them and they might nibble on your plants.

Consumption of poisonous plants can cause a range of symptoms from vomiting to serious illness and even death in some cases. If you suspect that your cat has ingested a poisonous plant, take it to your vet immediately. If you can, it is recommended you bring part of the plant your cat ingested with you to the vet, as they may be able to advise if the plant is toxic or not.

Below is a list of some plants that are toxic to cats, gathered from the Purina website.

Importantly though, if a plant in your garden is not listed here, it does not mean that it is not toxic to cats. For a more comprehensive list of all plants visit the ASPCA website where you should be able to find the plant in question among those listed.

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Interesting Facts About Asparagus

The root of the name asparagus comes from the Greek language, where it means shoot or sprout.

The Latin name for asparagus is Asparagus officinalis.

From seed to harvest, it takes three whole years to produce a crop of these lush green stems.

While China might lead the way in terms of global production, the U.S.A. is home to the self-proclaimed Asparagus Capital of the World in Oceana County, Michigan.

Houseplants Poisonous To Cats


Besides those that have already been mentioned, there are a handful of other plants toxic to cats.

Hands down, the most toxic plant found in many homes is the lily. In fact, Dr. Cohen says she refuses to allow any type of lily in her home because even the pollen or water in the vase or pot could make cats seriously ill.

True liliesAsiatic, Day, Tiger, Easter, Japanese, and Orientalcan cause severe kidney damage. Imposter lilies like Calla, Peace, Water, and Peruvian lilies arent as dangerous, but they can still cause mouth, throat, and GI irritation, notes Dr. Cohen.

If you suspect your cat may have gotten into your lilies, seek veterinary help immediately.

The following houseplants are also toxic to cats:

  • Alocasia
  • Tulip and Hyacinth bulbs
  • Yew

Wondering about another type of houseplant? Use the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center search tool to find out if its okay to have around kitties.

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What Is Sprengeri Fern Poisoning

The sprengeri fern is a species of flowering shrub that is native to South Africa. At present, it can be found in various warmer climates as an ornamental plant in many gardens, favored for its hardiness and delicate appearance. In its home regions, however, gardeners commonly tend to regard the plant as an invasive pest. Pet owners should be aware that the sprengeri fern contains fairly harmful chemicals which, if ingested, can cause a variety of unwelcome health problems in a variety of animals, including cats.

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