Toxic plants

Is Fig Toxic To Cats?

Is Fig Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

The fig tree, also known as the Weeping Fig and Indian Rubber Plant, produces fruit that is generally healthy for people to eat but deadly for felines to swallow. Proteolytic enzyme and psoralen are both poisonous chemicals found in fig leaves that can destroy the DNA of your cat’s cells. While cats can be poisoned by all parts of the fig tree, the milky sap generated by the plant’s leaves and branches contains the largest quantity of harmful chemicals.

What Is Fig?

Figs, scientifically known as ficus benjamina, are popular indoor and outdoor ornamental plants that have been grown for millennia. Their tall, glossy green leaves are eye-catching indoors. They are known to have originated in Western Asia and distributed throughout the Mediterranean region. 

The fig tree is a small tree with numerous spreading branches and a trunk that is rarely more than 7 inches in diameter that develops to be 10 to 30 feet tall. Its root system is shallow and spreads out over up to 50 feet of the ground. The palmate deciduous leaves of fig trees are deeply divided into three to seven primary lobes, with the margins more shallowly lobed and sporadically serrated, and the blade can be up to ten inches long and wide, thick, rough on top, and pleasantly hairy on the bottom. Its fruit is a syconium, which is a fleshy, hollow receptacle with a small opening at the apex partly closed by minute scales.

Clinical Signs of Fig Poisoning in Cats

Early veterinary intervention is important in plant poisoning. If your cat is showing the following symptoms, take him to the veterinary office for a better diagnosis.

  • Vomiting
  • Hypersalivation
  • Shaking of the head
  • Diarrhea
  • Skin irritation
  • Dermatitis

First Aid and Treatment of Fig Poisoning in Cats

A specific fluid solution injected with a small proportion of hydrogen peroxide is usually administered to induce vomiting. Unless under the supervision of a veterinarian, you should never attempt to induce vomiting in your cat at home. If your cat is not thoroughly observed throughout the treatment, vomiting might result in potentially life-threatening side effects such as aspiration pneumonia.

The vet may also deliver activated charcoal through a tube placed into your cat’s mouth and then down their throat directly into their stomach, depending on the amount of fig your cat has eaten. Many poisons can be neutralized with activated charcoal, which absorbs dangerous compounds and neutralizes their effect, allowing them to pass through your cat’s digestive system safely.

Additional drugs and treatments may be required due to your cat’s condition. In some cases, administering specialized drugs to help regulate the cat’s cardiac rhythm and respiration may be necessary. During these procedures, your cat may need to be hospitalized, and he or she may need to stay for many nights or until his or her condition stabilizes.

Recovery from Fig Poisoning in Cats

The symptoms of fig poisoning are usually mild, and most cats recover completely. If your cat is vomiting or has diarrhea, it may take many days of special food and medication for his systems to heal enough and resume a regular diet.

Your cat will have the best chance of recovering from fig poisoning if you were able to seek prompt veterinary assistance as quickly as possible after exposure, as with all cases of poisoning.

Prevention of Fig Poisoning in Cats

It is not advisable to grow fig trees if you have cats at home. If you have fig fruits, be sure to put it somewhere out of your cat’s reach. If you are eating fig, do not leave it unattended to prevent your curious cats from nibbling on it.

Your cat may still be exposed to fig trees in your neighborhood, thus, it is recommended to keep your cats safe and secured indoors. Restrict your cat from wandering far from your house by utilizing cat cages and installing additional fences and safety nets.

If you love plants but have cats at home, check out these lists:

About the author

Clair Chesterman

Clair Chesterman is a professional cat breeder having her own cageless CFA and CCA Registered cattery & fostering company FluffyMeowPaws in Eugene, Oregon. Clair is a plant enthusiast too and she made in-depth research on toxic and non-toxic plants for cats.

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