Toxic plants

Is Lacy Tree Philodendron Toxic To Cats?

Is Lacy Tree Philodendron Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

The lacy tree philodendron is a tropical Araceae plant with insoluble calcium oxalates that are harmful to cats. When crushed or chewed, these toxins act like microscopic needles, penetrating your cat’s tissues. For cats, any type of exposure, whether oral, ocular, or topical, can be hazardous. When consumed, calcium oxalate crystals can induce stomach discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea, blistering, and swelling.

What Is Lacy Tree Philodendron?

Philodendron is a flowering plant genus found in Central and South America. Many kinds of philodendrons are popular houseplants or decorative outdoor plants in warmer regions due to their ease of maintenance and glossy, heart-shaped leaves. It usually grows up to 15 feet tall, and its distinct leaves can grow up to five feet long.

Philodendrons are divided into two types: trailing and non-trailing and there are about 400 species. Common species of philodendrons include:

  1. hederaceum, previously P. Scadens – Heartleaf philodendron
  2. brasil – Brasil philodendron
  3. bipinnatifidum – Lacy tree philodendron, Selloum
  4. bipennifolium – Fiddle leaf philodendron, Split-leaf philodendron
  5. selloum – Xanadu philodendron
  6. erubescens – Blushing philodendron, Red-leaf philodendron, Imperial red philodendron

Clinical Signs of Lacy Tree Philodendron Poisoning in Cats

Because of the bitter taste and severe pain, most cats will stop chewing on philodendron. Acute oropharyngeal pain caused by contact with needle-shaped calcium oxalate crystals is the most common symptom.

  • Oral discomfort and a strong burning sensation
  • Hypersalivation 
  • Swelling of the mouth and throat
  • Vomiting
  • Swallowing problems
  • Breathing problems 

First Aid and Treatment of Lacy Tree Philodendron Poisoning in Cats

Treatment for calcium oxalate ingestion can usually be done at home. If your cat has consumed a part of the lacy tree philodendron, the mouth should be thoroughly cleaned and cleansed with water. Pain can be relieved by precipitating some of the calcium oxalate crystals, the animal can be given yogurt, milk, cheese, or any other calcium source.

If you cat  is experiencing severe gastrointestinal upset, such as chronic vomiting and diarrhea, or swelling and breathing difficulties, he or she should brought to a veterinarian for appropriate treatment. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, may be prescribed by the vet as a prophylactic step or in cases when there is visible oral swelling. This medication will aid in reducing or preventing swelling, pain, and potential airway obstructions caused by the cat’s inflammatory reaction.

Recovery from Lacy Tree Philodendron Poisoning in Cats

Typical recovery of cats from lacy tree philodendron poisoning usually takes 12 to 24 hours after ingestion. Once you are home, give your cat time to rest comfortably to regain strength. Soon, he or she will be back to usual routines. 

Prevention of Lacy Tree Philodendron Poisoning in Cats

Keep your cat away from lacy tree philodendrons by removing these plants in your yards. If your cat was exposed to this plant outdoors, it is best to keep him or her inside your home and restrict his or her access outdoors. Planting cat-friendly plants as an alternative is also a great way to prevent poisoning.

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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