Toxic plants

Is Poinsettia Toxic To Cats?

Is Poinsettia Toxic To Cats? 
Written by Clair Chesterman

Poinsettias are considered toxic to felines. The sap is the biggest problem with poinsettias. The sap has a milky white hue and includes diterpenoid euphorbol esters, as well as steroids with saponin characteristics, which act as a detergent. The sap, in essence, has latex qualities. The latex protects the plant by assisting in moisture conservation, but it also repels insects and animals from eating it due to its bitter taste and toxicity in excessive quantities.

Because the sap can cause tissue damage, it’s typical for the cat’s mouth and esophagus to get inflamed and for them to have stomach distress after ingesting it.

What Is Poinsettia?

What Is Poinsettia?

Poinsettias are a popular Christmas plant because of their vividly colored bracts, which are native to Mexico and belong to the Euphorbia family. A species that may be cut and used as a flower is also available. They are most commonly used for holiday decorations, although they are also attractive as green plants all year. Poinsettia flowers are made up of bracts, or leaves, that mimic petals, and cyathia, or tiny yellow flowers in the middle.

Scientifically known as Euphorbia pulcherrima, poinsettias are little shrubs or trees that grow to be two to 13 feet tall. They were grown by the Aztecs for use in traditional medicine. They’ve become synonymous with the Christmas season and are popular seasonal decorations.

Clinical Signs of Poinsettia Poisoning in Cats

Poinsettia poisoning symptoms in cats are typically mild. Nonetheless, if your cat has ingested or been exposed to poinsettia, it is best to consult a veterinarian. Poinsettia toxicity manifests itself clinically as:

  • Drooling in excess
  • Frequent lip licking 
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itchiness

First Aid and Treatment of Poinsettia Poisoning in Cats

You can care for your cat at home as long as the symptoms are mild and you notice that he or she is improving.

If your cat is vomiting, you should remove all food while keeping water available. When the vomiting has stopped, give your cat a small amount of his or her regular food. If your cat’s vomiting does not seem to improve and he or she is unable to keep even water down, consult your veterinarian or go to an emergency clinic right away.

The vet will do symptomatic treatment and address your cat’s symptoms as they arise. The treatment process usually includes administering IV fluids and activated charcoal, performing gastric lavage, and inducing vomit.

Recovery from Poinsettia Poisoning in Cats

Because the symptoms of poinsettia poisoning are so mild, they usually go away on their own. Most cats recover completely within 24 hours. Give your cat a quiet space at home to recover.

Prevention of Poinsettia Poisoning in Cats

Keep poinsettias out of your cat’s reach. If possible, avoid using poinsettias and try to look for alternative decorations on holidays. Limiting your cat’s outdoor activities will also help in minimizing the possibilities of encountering poinsettias and other toxic plants.

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.