Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Crocosmia - is it toxic to pets?

Discussion in 'Gardening Advice' started by Charity, Jul 18, 2017.


  1. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    22,752
    Likes Received:
    63,893
    One of my cats who doesn't usually eat plants has been chewing the leaves of my crocosmia. I've looked at the poisonous plants list and can't find it but does anyone know for sure it isn't toxic?
     
  2. QOTN

    QOTN PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Messages:
    5,546
    Likes Received:
    10,506
    Presumably you know by now that it isn't? Some Iris species are harmful but it is a huge genus and I expect the lack of information is good news. If cats have been poisoned by crocosmia, there would be warnings.
     
  3. Charity

    Charity Endangered Species

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2013
    Messages:
    22,752
    Likes Received:
    63,893
    Thanks @QOTN , yes, all is well, I watched him like a hawk but he seems fine. Phew!
     
    TriTri and QOTN like this.
  4. AmethystMoon

    AmethystMoon PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Just to let anyone else know, Crocosmia (AKA Montbretia, Coppertips, Falling Stars, and also commonly the "Lucifer Plant" after the popular cultivar) is a "corm plant", and can therefore cause mild gastrointestinal upset to both dogs and cats if the above-ground parts of the plant are eaten. The corms themselves (which are like bulbs) can cause a more severe reaction of bloody vomiting and diarrhoea if eaten.
     
  5. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    Messages:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    5,094
    Oh blimey! I was wondering the same as my cat sleeps in crocosmia, but has never nibbled them!
    I bought my crocosmia from the local Cats Protection fair!
     
  6. AmethystMoon

    AmethystMoon PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    From what I could find, it seems like as long as the corm isn't eaten, it really is a very mild-to-nothing reaction (unless you were very unlucky, of course) -- they key words to remember are "can cause". :) And if your cat isn't a nibbler, I wouldn't worry too much -- I used to have all manner of plants in my garden, many more toxic than crocosmia, and never gave them a second thought until my cat became a nibbler after getting chronic pancreatitis. So I don't think you need to be too concerned!
     
    TriTri likes this.
  7. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    Messages:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    5,094
    Thank you @AmethystMoon
    Sorry to side track here, but may I ask how your dear cat with chronic pancreatitis was treated? What helped? How long did your cat survive with it, from what age to what age? What food did she like that she did well on and any other tips please! PM me if you prefer? As my Tessy-Two-Shoes has been diagnosed with it, after finding her “probably dumped :(.”
    Edit: she’s the one that sleeps in the crocosmia :eek:
     

    Attached Files:

    #7 TriTri, Aug 2, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2019
  8. AmethystMoon

    AmethystMoon PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'm so sorry to hear that about your poor (and very beautiful) girl! I started writing up a reply, but it was so long I decided it was best to send as a PM instead. It was absolutely shattering for me when my boy got pancreatitis, so I tried to be as detailed as possible, but I hope you won't find it ridiculously long!
    EDIT: I just went to your profile in order to send you the message and I'm afraid I couldn't get any further! It said it was limited as to who may view your full profile -- is there any other way I can PM you? If you prefer, I can just post it here, but it is pretty long. :)
     
    TriTri likes this.
  9. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    Messages:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    5,094
    Oh thank you, that’s very kind of you :).
    Could you copy and paste it here please? I’ve just realised that it’s because you are new and need to have made a certain number of posts before you can PM (I believe). It might be 25 posts, I’m not sure. The longer the better for me, as more info. Thanks again! So sorry for you and your poor boy :(
     
    #9 TriTri, Aug 3, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
  10. AmethystMoon

    AmethystMoon PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    No problem, here it is. :) But I'm not exaggerating when I say it's long, so I hope it's not too much!

    My boy was diagnosed February 2018 and I’m very happy to say he’s still with me. At the moment, he is 13 years, 10 months, and 29 days. :) He got a campylobacter infection in late January 2018 that sparked off his pancreatitis (which is a very bitter story), and since then, it manifests in regular “flare ups”.

    When he’s having a flare up, he’s treated with Buprenorphine (sometimes intramuscular injection, sometimes liquid syringe to be squirted onto the gums) and subcutaneous Cerenia injection (Cerenia is also available in tablet form, but for some reason, it only works for my cat if it’s injected). The Buprenorphine is a painkiller to help control the pain, but usually doesn’t suppress his appetite too much, which is really good, and the Cerenia is for anti-sickness. At the moment, he’s been having Cerenia injections quite regularly, because, although he doesn’t seem to be having a proper flare up, he often goes through periods of restlessness which my vets and I believe is caused by a low-grade nausea from the pancreatitis. It’s been effective, but sadly, the Cerenia injections really sting! :(
    Also, he often has to take a laxative called Miralax when he’s had Buprenorphine, due to the Buprenorphine being opioid-based and therefore causing constipation. I’ve tried several other laxatives but Miralax seems to be the only one that is effective and doesn’t have the self-defeating side effect of irritating his stomach! It’s an American laxative and hard for vets in the UK to get hold of, which makes it literally cheaper for me to buy myself from eBay – sometimes it’s even sold by UK sellers who’ve bought stocks in from the US. It’s also quite complicated to administer (you have to mix it up in a special way), so all in all, it’s not the world’s easiest medication, but in my opinion, totally worth it because it is very effective.

    In an everyday sense, he takes a steroid (Prednisolone) once a day to control the IBS he’s had for years (because if his IBS is worse than usual, it triggers a flare up), Gabapentin twice a day which is for his arthritis (but my vets said that as a painkiller, it was likely to have some helpful effect on his pancreatic pain), and a supplement called “Anxitane” once a day for lowering stress.
    It’s very difficult to add anything new to his medication, so it’s something I’d advise a lot of caution with – for instance, I would love for him to be on green lipped mussel to help his arthritis, but unfortunately, his stomach is so sensitive there’s very little he’s able to tolerate.

    Most of all, for my cat, lowering his stress levels as much as possible is the really important factor in keeping his flare ups down. Because cats are very sensitive (and mine even more than most according to my vets, haha), they can pick up on any time a member of the household is feeling stressed. This will often trigger a flare up for my boy, so we have to try to keep the atmosphere as serene and calm as possible. The other thing is any strangers coming to the house, like a handyman – cats sense a change in their environment very easily, and it’s often enough to trigger a flare up for my cat, so we have to try to keep anyone coming round to a minimum.
    Obviously, this means that I’ve had to make a lot of lifestyle changes – I can’t go on holiday or leave him for any extended periods of time or anything like that.

    As for his food, after much trial and error, the wet food he’s able to eat is:

    Royal Canin Digest Sensitive Care In Gravy
    Royal Canin Feline Sensitivity Control
    (I find this one is REALLY good)

    Usually, unless he’s in the middle of a flare up, he can also eat:

    Applaws Chicken & Asparagus
    Applaws Chicken & Wild Rice
    Felix Poultry Selection in Jelly (only the flavours Poultry, Duck, and Chicken)
    – he loves this so I’m very relieved he’s still able to eat it a lot of the time!
    Unfortunately, he can’t tolerate ANY fish-related flavours of anything.

    There is also another wet food that he only ever eats at his vets (sometimes during a severe flare up, he has to stay at his vets for 24 hours or so). I think it’s Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Gastro Intestinal Feline Wet, but I can check if you want me to. The thing is, I NEVER give this to him at home in case he develops “food aversion” during a flare up (this is when they associate food with pain and stop wanting to eat, which as I'm sure you know is extremely dangerous). My theory is that this means there’s always a flavour that he’ll associate with being at his vets and getting better, rather than associating it with being at home and feeling ill. But this is why I can’t remember what it’s called – I’ve only heard them mention it a few times and never seen the packet!

    As for his dry food, he eats:

    Pro Plan Veterinary Diets HA St/Ox Hypoallergenic

    This is GREAT stuff and my cat LOVES it, but all the pieces are very small, which is difficult because my cat has a big head – so he bolts it and then throws it back up, totally defeating the object! I’ve tried slow feeders, puzzle feeders, etc., but nothing worked – so in the end I bought a grinder and began grinding the pieces into powder, adding water until it becomes a dough, and rolling it into larger pieces and baking it again, so my cat has to slow down and chew each piece properly. This is a really long and boring procedure, but it’s worth it in the end, and if your cat is anything like mine and eats food too quickly, definitely something I would recommend.

    My boy also has several complications from his chronic pancreatitis – whenever he has a flare up, he gets conjunctivitis and, often, a scratch in his left eye. My vets theorize the conjunctivitis is caused by his immune system being compromised when the flare up begins, and the scratch is from him trying to rub his eye because it feels itchy from the conjunctivitis, plus also he’s very restless during a flare up which means his eyes are open a lot, and become dry. This means he has to be treated with drops regularly which he sadly hates. However, this is apparently a very unusual thing to happen.
    The other thing is that he now has issues with his bladder. When he gets a flare up, the stress on his body often causes his bladder to become inflamed, making it more difficult for him to urinate, which as I’m sure you know can be very serious (it also seems that the Buprenorphine makes it more difficult for him to urinate too). Thankfully, for some reason, if he’s straining to go and I put him in the car with a litter tray and drive around, he’s usually able to in the car. My vets have never seen this technique work with another cat and I can only think it’s some sort of psychological association!
    Also, and I could be completely wrong about this, but he never had any trouble with arthritis or his heart until he got pancreatitis. There’s absolutely no reason why pancreatitis would be related to those two, and obviously he is getting older and these health problems do come on, but I do find it odd that he was sailing along absolutely fine without any trouble at all except a somewhat sensitive stomach, then he got pancreatitis, and suddenly developed a whole host of health problems he’d never shown a single sign of before. That might just be my bitterness talking (as I said, the story of how he got pancreatitis is a very bitter one), but in my heart, I can’t help having a feeling that there is some relationship between his pancreatitis and everything that followed.

    The other thing I want to try soon is a fecal transplant. Unfortunately, my cat is not insured for any stomach issues (another bitter story I won’t go into, haha), so I have to pay for everything stomach related, including all his pancreatic treatment, and as you can imagine, it’s far from cheap. However, people have had good results with fecal transplants, so it’s something I want to try as soon as possible. It probably won’t be for several months, because I have to pay for a heart scan for him first – he is insured for his heart, but his plan has rolled over since last year, so if he has a scan, I’ll have to pay the excess again, plus 20% or whatever because he’s over 8 years old blah blah blah, essentially meaning I’ll end up having to pay for most of it. If your cat’s insured I’m sure you know what I mean – insurance really is a nightmare and a scam, but a necessary one! Anyway, if and when my boy has the fecal transplant, I’m happy to let you know what the results are.

    There’s one other thing I’ll say that has made an enormous difference in treating my cat, but this is a hard one to achieve – my cat goes to a cat-only vet clinic. There’s only 3 or 4 of these in the entire UK, and I’m lucky enough to live near one. Because it’s cat only, it’s a much less stressful environment than a normal vets, but even more than that, the vets that work there are absolute experts in cat health. There’s never been a single time I’ve asked them something that they didn’t know or that they had to look up. I owe them so much and really can’t speak highly enough of them, they’re absolutely incredible and they care so much about their patients. I rely on them totally and I honestly feel that my boy may not have survived for so long if he wasn’t going to such a fantastic vets.
    Of course, this is something impossible to do if you don’t live near one – but my recommendation would be to find the best vets you can near you, one that you trust absolutely without reservation. Something I like to do is test how interested they are in payment – you can test this after an appointment when you go to pay by saying you’ve forgotten your wallet, and asking if it’s all right to pay by phone when you get home. If the reaction is lukewarm or worse, it's a bad sign in my experience – good vets usually tell you it’s no trouble at all and don't even bother to chase it up, even if you don’t phone the payment through till the following day. I’ve been to 8 different vets during my lifetime and all of them have followed this rule – surgeries that care more about profits than patients seem to attract bad vets.

    Overall, from a life expectancy perspective, I would say that pancreatitis is a dangerous illness – technically any flare up could be fatal (and even if not fatal, could result in making your cat diabetic due to damage to insulin-producing cells in the pancreas). However, I’ve discussed this at length with my vets, and the most important thing is learning to manage the condition in order to maintain as high a quality of life as possible, and just seeing how things go from day to day. All you can really do is hope for the best and give your cat as much help as possible.

    Finally, your vet has probably already been through this with you, but just in case they haven’t, here are the key symptoms my boy shows when he’s having a flare up:
    • Restlessness – my boy can’t settle at all, and nothing I try can distract him or help take his mind off the pain. He can’t sleep and spends most of his time miaowing at me.
    • He repeatedly asks me to feed him but only eats a few mouthfuls at a time.
    • He sometimes vomits, but mostly, he’s just obviously nauseous – he becomes desperate to eat as much grass as possible, so much so that if I’ve brought him inside because I’ve decided he’s had enough, he’ll stand at the back door shouting non-stop to be allowed to go out again (my vets said it was not a good idea to let him have too much, and I often find it’s best not to let him have any – it generally just makes him vomit but doesn’t relieve any of his symptoms). He also keeps licking his lips, and in extreme cases, his fur takes on a spikey look. This is apparently caused by his skin contracting with nausea, which makes his fur kind of stand on end. My cat is a semi-long hair, so I’m not sure how obvious this would look in a shorter haired cat.
    • He also often finds it difficult to stretch out for long periods of time, and when it’s a very bad flare up, he finds it difficult to stretch out at all. Instead he lies with his feet tucked up underneath him in a way that makes him look sort of like a hen sitting on its eggs. This “hen” position is one of the most obvious giveaways of a flare up in my boy’s case.
    I think that’s just about everything – I really hope this hasn’t been too long and rambling! I wanted to try to be as helpful as possible, but I’m very sorry if it’s just too much and not what you were looking for. If you do have anything you want to know about or would like more details (for instance, behavioural changes, changes in toilet habits after changing diets, anything like that) please feel free to ask. I could practically write an essay on what my boy’s been through since he got pancreatitis, but I don’t want to inundate you with more information than I already have!!

    I wish you and your cat all the best and really hope this post will have been of some help to you. :)
     
    #10 AmethystMoon, Aug 3, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2019
    TriTri likes this.
  11. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2017
    Messages:
    2,531
    Likes Received:
    5,094
    Hi @AmethystMoon this is exactly what I was hoping for and more, so thank you. I’ve only read it two or three times and need to go through it with a fine tooth combe tomorrow (as it’s rather late now haha!) We have so much to discuss. I will see if I can PM you tomorrow and if not, I will reply here. Don’t you go away! Thanks again, TriTri.
     
  12. AmethystMoon

    AmethystMoon PetForums Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2019
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'm so glad it was helpful! I'll certainly stick around for anything else you'd like to know. :)
     
    TriTri likes this.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice