All Things Gardening forum: Angel Wing Begonia

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Boston Ma (Zone 6b)
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BeanieBoy
Jan 30, 2018 6:44 PM CST
Hello - I am new to the forum & i have a large, beautiful Angel winged Begonia that i have been growing for almost 2 yrs now. The plant is almost 2 ft. now. I also have a cat & in the past he has always left this plant alone. Yesterday i noticed him meowing as though he was about to have a hairball (the desperate hairball howl of despair Smiling & he threw up a small amount with 2 small dark lumps in it. I cleaned it and he moved on and was fine afterwards. Later in the day i noticed a leaf on the Angel wing Begonia had a small section with bite marks where he must have gone at it. I had previously read that begonia plants held toxicity to cats & dogs but was optimistic due to him never bothering with it. Now i am worried. I love the plant but i love the cat more. Does anyone have any experience or more info with this plant and toxicity in cats ? Im finding mixed info online. I also have an umbrella plant - don't know about the safety of that one either as the umbrella tree seems to be toxic but some sources say the umbrella plant is safe. = confusing
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jan 31, 2018 12:36 PM CST
Welcome!

Most plants (even vegetables) are toxic to some degree - its the plants' way of fighting back. For plants with a high level of toxicity, the only animals surviving are the ones that didn't eat it. For lesser toxic plants, a stomach ache might be enough to discourage them.

BUT... our domestic kitties and doggies are not that smart and will eat things their wild counterparts wouldn't touch with a 10 ft pole.

The toxins in Begonias are soluble calcium oxalates. Soluable oxalates are broken down and absorbed by the blood stream where they bind with calcium and are excreted through the kidneys. So the danger, in small doses, are kidney stones. In large doses, this could be fatal. It all depends upon the size of the animal and the amount absorbed into her bloodstream.

If your kitty is lethargic or refusing to eat, take her to the vet NOW.

Schfflera plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates. If your kitty were to take a bite, she would be in severe pain as the calcium oxalates are needle sharp and will not dissolve.

As I mentioned in the beginning, most plants are toxic to some degree. If you have a pet that insists upon eating your houseplants, move them to a place the kitty can't reach or take up growing non-toxic plants. There are a few.

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
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ardesia
Jan 31, 2018 3:41 PM CST
During our recent cold spell a neighbor brought her large potted Oxalis plant into the house. She told me the cat loved "having a clover plant to munch on." Noooooooo, I said, oxalic acid is not good for her.
We quickly moved the container to the garage but the cat did indeed have an upset tummy that night. All is well now.

Begonias have such a tart taste, I suspect your kitty was just curious. But, I would watch carefully and if it shows any further interest in the plant do like Daisy says and move it out of reach. (Is that possible with a cat?)


Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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DaisyI
Jan 31, 2018 3:54 PM CST
My cat ate an entire Variegated Thai Pepper plant. I thought that would discourage her from eating house plants but it hasn't. She ate a leaf off an Easter Lily when she was a kitten and spent a week on dialisis.

Her most recent "treat" was a bite out of a Alocasia leaf (insoluable calcium oxalate). She is 14 years old and has arthritis but still manages to get to plants up on counter tops and shelves. Where there is a will, there is a way. I now have orchids and African violets as house plants (yes, on shelves). The rest live in terrariums with lids.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Alice
Saint Helena Island, SC (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Aquaponics Hibiscus Orchids Fruit Growers Tropicals
Hummingbirder Garden Photography Container Gardener Butterflies Bromeliad Birds
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ardesia
Jan 31, 2018 6:42 PM CST
Oh dear, we had a dog that never ate plants but he ate everything else that was bad for him. The vet decided he had suicidal tendencies. Guess you can never tell with animals.
Minds are like parachutes; they work better when they are open.
Name: Allison
Central California (Zone 9a)
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PismoBeach
Feb 1, 2018 7:01 PM CST
Hello! As a cat person and someone with a career in animal healthcare, I've also experienced a sudden interest in plants from animals that previously ignored them! I agree with Daisy. As far as begonias go, they will primarily cause vomiting or excessive salivation in animals deciding to take a bite, though the roots are the most toxic and can lead to kidney failure with repeated or large ingestion.

One thing I've used is the Petsafe Ssscat Spray deterrent, either at the base of the plant or in the pot itself. This is a motion activated device that lets loose a sharp stream of compressed air when it senses motion. It's done pretty well at keeping my cats away from plants, snacks on the counter, and other unwanted distractions. I purchased mine on Amazon, where they also sell replacement air cans.

Best of luck to you, your cat, and your begonia!

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