As a cat owner, your instinct might be to feed your cat every fruit, food, or snack you enjoy. Plums are especially tasty, and many people wonder if they can share them with their cats. But with many human foods being dangerous for cats, knowing whether something is safe for your feline friend before feeding it to them is crucial for their health.
So, Can Cats Eat Plums?
Short answer; no. Cats cannot safely consume plums because most parts of the plum plant contain cyanide, which can be toxic to cats. In fact, eating these fruits can have serious or even fatal consequences on your cat. Read on to learn more about this.
Are Plums Bad for Cats?
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) notes that plums plant parts like the seeds, leaves, and stems contain cyanide. The amounts are not significant enough to harm humans but make most parts of the plum toxic to cats due to their physiology and size.
Additionally, the ASPCA explains that the toxicity of plums reaches an all-time high during the wilting process due to the increased cyanide levels. This means that consuming plums can be fatal for your cat. Plum pits also present a choking hazard, with the risk magnified if your cat swallows them whole. When crushed, the pits form small sharp pieces that can cause bowel obstruction and internal injuries. The good news is; that most cats will show no interest in plums. Unlike dogs, which enjoy many vegetables and fruits, these feline pets are very fussy about their food and will rarely snack on a plum. Still, it is up to you to make sure they do not ingest any part of the plum plant.
Do Plums Have Health Benefits for Cats?
Essentially, only the pit, stems, and leaves of the plum plant contain cyanide. The fleshy part of the fruit might not be harmful to your cat, which might be good news for cat owners looking to supplement their cat’s diet. However, there is no need to risk it because the risk is higher than the reward.
Cats have different nutritional needs than humans, and while plums contain many important vitamins needed by humans, cats can do without them. They can usually get most or all of their vitamin needs from their food. This is, of course, if you are feeding them healthy commercial cat food formulated specifically for their weight and age. Consider alternatives like apples or persimmons if you are hell-bent on feeding your cat a fruity snack. Avoid cherries, peaches, and apricots because they contain compounds similar to those in plums.
Plum Poisoning in Cats
When a cat consumes the stems, leaves, or seeds of the plum plant, they can get plum poisoning. This is due to the cyanide levels, and the condition can result in shock, panting, vomiting, and even death if it remains untreated. It is important to note that even small amounts of plum can have this effect. A cat suffering from plum poisoning should get immediate medical treatment. You will need to get your four-pawed friend to the vet’s office very fast, where they will be treated for cyanide poisoning and monitored for several hours. Essentially, the long observation time is a response to the high potency of cyanide and the highly uncomfortable treatment.
Signs of Plum Poisoning in Cats
The flesh of a fresh plum is the least likely to cause plum poisoning in cats, but cats can generally get sick from consuming any part of the plant. Being able to identify the signs of plum poisoning is crucial to saving your cat’s life. In the event your cat eats a plum part, and the cyanide enters their bloodstream, Wag says you will notice the following:
- Mucous membranes reddening
- Pupils dilating
- Panting and trouble breathing
If you notice these symptoms, get your cat to a vet immediately. Leaving this condition untreated could be fatal to your feline friend.
Treating Plum Poisoning in Cats
Once you contact your vet, try to determine the parts of the plum plant your cat ate. This can help the vet determine the amount of cyanide consumed, which can inform the treatment. You can also collect and bring parts of the plum plant with you that your cat partially ate. If your cat vomits, collect a sample for the vet. That said, do not worry if you cannot get your hands on any samples. Your vet will use trocarization to determine the type and amount of toxins in your cat’s stomach fluids.
When the vet identifies the extent of the poisoning, they may administer sodium nitrate if the poisoning is severe. This is usually done through IV fluids and reduces cyanide levels in the body. They may also administer sodium thiosulfate through an IV or orally for minor cases. This is a cyanide antidote. In most cases, your vet will connect your cat to a respirator and keep them there during treatment. This and other interventions are designed to counter the effects of cyanide poisoning treatment, which is risky and can cause extremely low blood pressure and excessive vomiting.
Your cat will be kept at the vet’s office for close monitoring for several hours to check for recurring symptoms or dropping blood pressure. If the symptoms do not improve after a while, the vet may administer another dose of sodium nitrate. When you get your cat back home, keep them safe and comfortable and monitor them round the clock. Ask about any follow-up medications and follow your vet’s recommendations. You should also clear any remaining plum plant parts from your home.
Can Cats Eat Plums? Cats can maybe ingest the flesh or a fresh plum without problems, but it is a very risky endeavor. Even the tiniest amount of plum plant parts like the leaves, seeds, or stems can have devastating effects on your feline pet. Even after successful treatment, cats with plum poisoning can experience low blood pressure and vomiting, so it is not worth the risk. Fortunately, most cats will avoid plums, and that’s okay because commercial cat food covers all their nutritional needs.