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Are Poinsettias Toxic to Cats? Keeping Your Cat Safe

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

By Rachael Gerkensmeyer

poinsettia plants in the garden

Cats are curious creatures that enjoy checking out different plants, trees, and other natural occurrences when spending time outside. Most types of foliage and trees are safe for cats to spend time around and can provide valuable resources like shade and water when necessary. However, some plants can be toxic to cats, especially when a piece of foliage is consumed. So, are poinsettias toxic to cats? Is there a reason to keep your cat away from the poinsettias growing in your yard?

While poinsettias are not toxic, eating them can cause some issues with your cat. Keep reading to find out more about this plant and how it affects your pet kitty.

Poinsettias Can Make Cats Sick

There is a white substance found inside the poinsettia’s leaves and stems that can make cats sick to their stomachs after being ingested. The good news is that the gastrointestinal irritation that poinsettias cause is temporary and typically does not result in any serious problems that require veterinarian care. If your cat ingests the white substance inside of a poinsettia, they may display signs of an upset belly listed below:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • A loss of appetite

Your cat may also become slightly lethargic as they wait for their GI problems to pass. Depending on the level of toxicity, a cat may display one or all these symptoms temporarily. The GI irritation usually does not last any longer than a few hours.

poinsettia on a vase
Image Credit: Ray_Shrewsberry, Pixabay

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests Poinsettia Leaves

If your cat is showing signs of GI upset and suspect that they have been nibbling on a poinsettia plant, there is not much you can do to provide relief. However, you can limit the possibility of vomiting and help keep nausea to a minimum by restricting their food and water for a couple of hours. This will allow the toxins to pass through your cat’s system with as little discomfort as possible.

After some time passes, you can offer your cat small amounts of food and water to see how they do with it. If your cat consumes the food and water and starts acting like themselves again, you can resume your regular feeding routine. If you feel that your cat is too uncomfortable or is getting worse as time goes on, contact your veterinarian for guidance and advice. They can give you peace of mind and help you determine whether professional care is needed.

Should Poinsettias Be Removed from the Household?

Most cats do not nibble nearly enough of a poinsettia plant where is it life-threatening. Many cats will never nibble on a poinsettia at all. Therefore, there is no need to remove your poinsettia unless you notice that your cat is interested in chewing on it a lot. If you are worried about your cat eating your poinsettia, you can hang the plant from your ceiling to keep it away from your kitty’s reach. If you can’t seem to keep your cat away from the plant, it is worth considering relocating it to the outdoors.

A Quick Recap

Poinsettias can indeed make cats sick, but the plant is not known to cause serious illness or death. Keeping an eye on your cat and your plants should be all it takes to keep your feline family member safe. If you are ever in doubt, get a hold of your veterinarian by phone or email for some support and guidance.

Looking for more information on plant toxicity? Check out:

Featured Image Credit: lighthearteddreamer, Pixabay

Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Authored by

Rachael has been a freelance writer since 2000, in which time she has had an opportunity to research and write about many different topics while working to master the art of fusing high-quality content with effective content marketing strategies. She lives off the grid in Hawaii with her husband, her garden, and her rescue animals including 5 dogs, a cat, a goat, and dozens of chickens. She is an artist at heart and loves...Read more

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