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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Tuesday - September 08, 2009

From: Ridgecrest, CA
Region: California
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Is the Texas mesquite, Prosopis glandulosa, toxic to cats?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Pants! Regarding Texas mesquite tree, I know that rabbits and deer etc eat the seed pods, but my cat every time he goes outside starts munching on the pods, and I can't find any info on felines eating them, are they poisonous to kitties?

ANSWER:

Well, Mr. Smarty Plants searched the Cat Fanciers' Association, Inc. webpage lists of both "Toxic Plants" and "Non-Toxic Plants" and Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite) appeared on neither list.  One difficulty with these searches, however, is that the lists are written only with common names instead of botanical names.  Common names are quite variable so it is possible that it was listed under some form of the common name that I didn't think of using—but I don't think so. The ASPCA Toxic and Non-toxic Plant List—Cats shows Prosopis limensis [syn. = P. pallida] (Algaroba), a related species from South America on its Plants Non-Toxic to Cats list.  You can check out all the websites listed on Plants Toxic to Cats, but I didn't find Texas (or honey) mesquite listed on any of them that I searched.  The beans of honey mesquite have been used as a food by wildlife of the Southwest and by humans, as well.  The beans can be eaten raw, cooked, ground into a flour, or used to make a drink.  However,  Medicinal Plants of the Southwest  says that the beans can cause digestive distress for humans, although usually mild, and Toxic Plants of Texas reports that cattle and sometimes goats can be severely affected if they eat large amounts of mesquite beans.  Your best bet would be to contact your veterinarian for more information about the possible toxicity of mesquite beans for cats.  At the very least, to be on the safe side, you should try removing as many beans as possible from the area around your house and be certain that no pesticides have been used on any beans that the cat might decide to eat.

 

 

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