If you have a cat that spends time outdoors, you should ensure there are no plants or trees in your garden that could cause them harm. The Pet Poison Helpline has a list of plants that are best kept out of your garden if you have a cat, and if you have any trees that are poisonous to cats, the safest course of action is to have them removed. Here's an overview of three species of tree that are commonly found in residential gardens and are poisonous to cats:
Cherry trees blossom in the spring and have pink or white flowers that grow in clusters. The bark has lacerations that tend to spread horizontally around the trunk, and the large green leaves are serrated. The leaves and stems of these trees contain cyanide that can make your cat very ill. Cats who ingest even a small amount of foliage from a cherry tree can experience respiratory distress, which can leave them gasping for breath and in a state of shock.
Eucalyptus is an evergreen species with flaky bark. Instead of petals, the flowers consist of several stamens that protrude from the pistil. If your cat ingests eucalyptus leaves or bark, they can experience vomiting, excessive salivation and diarrhea. Gastric upset can quickly leave your cat feeling fatigued and dehydrated.
Yew trees are quite easy to identify, as they have reddish bark and produce distinctive red berries. The single seed inside each berry remains exposed at the bottom end of the berry, and yews retain their needles year-round. The needles and seeds contain a substance known as taxine, which can be fatal to cats in small doses, as it induces cardiac arrest.
Having a large tree removed from your property is not as disruptive as you may think. A technique known as lopping is used to remove the side branches one at a time, and the crown is cut down in sections. This leaves you with a stump, which you can choose to leave in place, or a motorised grinder can be used to cut it to below ground level.
If you're having difficulty identifying the trees you have on your property, you can have a tree service carry out an assessment for you. They will be able to tell you if you have any trees that could harm your cat, and they can also advise on the general condition of your trees, such as trunk stability and whether there are signs of decay.