are mums harmful to cats

Why Are Mums Toxic to Cats?

Mums include substances that are poisonous to cats, particularly sesquiterpene lactones and pyrethrins. These substances serve to keep insects away from the flower and are occasionally utilized to make pesticides and insect repellents. Cats, on the other hand, are particularly vulnerable to these substances; consuming mums or even touching the flowers can be toxic.

Although pyrethrins can irritate the gastrointestinal tract, their ability to damage the nervous system poses a greater risk. Dog flea and tick prevention products use synthetic pyrethroids, longer-acting synthetically modified compounds made from pyrethrins. Mums contain pyrethrins in their natural form, but at a lower concentration and with a shorter environmental half-life. Therefore, before neurologic symptoms would be anticipated, a concentrated plant extract or a very large number of mums would need to be consumed. The most common cause of pyrethrin toxicity in cats is inadvertent use of dog pesticides. After ingestion or skin contact, the toxic chemical is quickly absorbed into a cat’s body and can result in seizures or tremors.

Known skin irritants, sesquiterpene lactones are present in many plants, including mums. Fortunately, since a cat’s fur shields the skin, simply brushing up against the plant is unlikely to cause any issues. Although direct skin contact with the flowers can theoretically cause a reaction, cats are most likely to be exposed to this chemical through powdered mums.

Are All Types of Mums Toxic to Cats?

Mothers belong to the Aster family (Asteraceae) and the genus Chrysanthemum. About 40 different species and more than 100 varieties of chrysanthemums are sold by florists. These are known by various names, such as button, daisy, mum, chrysanthemum, and pompon. Since there is no known minimum toxic dose for chrysanthemums, all varieties are thought to be toxic to cats, so it’s critical to notify your veterinarian as soon as possible if your cat is exposed. Generally speaking, it’s best to keep moms out of your house in order to protect your cat.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Mum

Contact your veterinarian if you suspect your cat has eaten part of a mum, even if you do not see any signs of illness. Record the time and amount eaten, if known. Your vet may advise you to come in right away or contact a poison service, such as ASPCA Poison Control or Pet Poison Helpline. If your cat is exposed to mums and your vets office is closed, call an emergency veterinary facility or animal poison control for advice. Do not wait for symptoms to occur before taking action.

Without your veterinarian’s permission, never try to induce vomiting in your cat as this could lead to more severe issues.

Should your cat’s skin come into contact with mums or a pyrethroid compound, wash the affected area right away using a mild shampoo that is safe for cats, and contact your veterinarian for additional guidance. If the chemical is on their fur, licking it could cause GI and neurological problems as well as excessive drooling and mouth irritation. Your veterinarian may need to assess your cat for pyrethrin toxicity and treat the skin irritation with oral or topical medications.

Since there is no known cure for pyrethrin toxicity in cats, supportive care measures such as fluids and drugs to reduce pain, inflammation, and gastrointestinal distress will be the mainstay of treatment. Anti-convulsive drugs or sedatives can be used to treat neurological signs in cats in order to reduce tremors or seizures.