What Are the Symptoms When a Cat Eats a Poinsettia Leaf?

by Naomi Millburn, Demand Media
    Keep poinsettias away from your cat's mouth.

    Keep poinsettias away from your cat's mouth.

    Not many things can be more intimidating than the notion of your precious cat innocently biting into a poisonous plant, whether in your home or outside in the garden. Though poinsettias aren't deadly to felines, they can still trigger some uncomfortable and unnecessary tummy woes in the furry cuties.

    About Poinsettias

    Poinsettias are bright flowering plants that are often found in gardens because of their attractive and vivid bracts, which appear in shades of red, yellow, white and pink. Multi-colored and "spotted" varieties also are common. Cats are naturally curious little creatures, and may be compelled to investigate the rather conspicuous plants upon noticing them. If you have poinsettias in your home and are worried about this possibility, consider distracting your cutie by investing in a feline-friendly pot of cat grass. Encourage your kitty to explore the cat grass so she won't be as fascinated by the poinsettia leaves -- a win-win situation.

    Life-Threatening?

    In the beginning of the 20th century, a news story emerged that detailed a young child's tragic death after eating a poinsettia leaf. According to the ASPCA, the dangers of the plant have been highly inflated as a result of the old tale. The organization indicates that consumption of poinsettias is in no way life-threatening to cats, although it certainly isn't recommended at all, either.

    Toxicity

    Although the ASPCA doesn't consider the poinsettia to be deadly to pets, it does still classify the plant as toxic to both felines and canines. This is because of its milky latex sap, which can be mildly irritating to pets. If your little one eats a poinsettia leaf, she may experience irritation in the form of throwing up and oral discomfort -- think lip licking. Upon observing these symptoms in your cat, notify a veterinarian just to be on the safe side. If you caught your cat in the act of eating any part of a poinsettia, let your vet know too.

    Stomach Upset

    Eating a poinsettia leaf, like eating many other houseplants, also may trigger stomach upset in your unassuming kitty. However, these symptoms are generally not considered to be severe. Be attentive to signs that your pet may have eaten the plant, including diarrhea, vomiting and excessive salivation. As with any indications of irritation, seek out veterinary attention if you observe any of these symptoms at all. Although poinsettias aren't life-threatening to cats, they still can bring upon a lot of unpleasant discomfort. Caution is always smart.

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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