Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Cats?


Poinsettias are among the best winter house plants, especially during holiday seasons, and can be given to you as gifts. Most feline owners usually get confused when buying plants to bring home as decor during this season because cats are often curious and might eat them. The same case applies to poinsettias because, as a cat owner, you might wonder if it is safe for your cat. The good thing is that poinsettia can make your cat ill but of importance is that they are not considered toxic. However, it is essential to learn more about poinsettias and what to do if your cat ingests the plant because poinsettias and cats cannot be in the same room and within reach. Therefore, below is all you are required to learn about why it is dangerous to your cat, symptoms of poinsettia ingestion, and treatment.

What makes poinsettias dangerous?

The component in poinsettias that is of concern is usually the sap. The sap is typically a milky-white substance that constitutes chemicals known as diterpenoid euphorbol esters together with steroids. It also has saponin properties that have detergent-like effects and has latex properties. The role of latex is to protect the plant by enabling it to conserve moisture and keep off animals and insects from eating it because it is bitter. It also contains a lot of toxins. The sap mentioned above can harm animals and harm humans by causing a skin rash. Similarly, it can result in stomach ache with diarrhea and nausea after being consumed. And since cats are tinny animals, these effects might worsen.

How are poinsettias dangerous for cats?

According to the Pet Poison Helpline, this plant is generally not very toxic to your cat but can cause some effects, especially after it has ingested the sap. These eye-catching red festive plants have a terrible reputation among cat owners because the liquid from its leaves can irritate its esophagus and mouth if ingested. Your cat can also experience vomiting, nausea, excessive drooling, or diarrhea. The essential thing to note is that even though this plant is dangerous, it is not toxic because for your cat to be seriously ill, it might have eaten large amounts of poinsettia. However, even though these plants are not very harmful to your cat, it is advisable to keep poinsettia leaves out of your order during the holiday season and use other plants that are not toxic to your cat because prevention is better than cure. Poinsettia’s toxicity in a cat is not likely to occur because it cannot nibble on the plant anymore once it gets irritated and has tasted the plant’s bitter taste. Even though skin irritation to the cat is not common, it isn’t very pleasant if it occurs.

Which are some of the symptoms of poinsettia ingestion?

Since cats are very good at jumping up and down while playing, they might end up chewing poinsettia leaves, causing side effects like drooling, diarrhea, vomiting, and frequent licking of the lips. However, of importance to note is that cats do not eat a lot of poinsettias that warrant serious medical attention. However, these effects are different in every cat because some may be mild, while others may experience very extreme reactions. Similarly, swelling, skin irritation, and redness around its mouth, especially after the sap gets into contact with your cat’s skin. However, on rare occasions, the fluid can enter your cat’s eyes and result in swelling and conjunctivitis. Therefore, it is essential to understand that poinsettias are dangerous to the cat because of the secondary effects of contact or consumption.

Treatment for your cat after consuming poinsettias

Even though the symptoms are not usually severe at times, the cat requires a little help to recover. Therefore toxicologist vets like Dr Murphy advise you to withhold food and water for approximately one to two hours to allow the cat’s stomach to settle. After a few hours, provide your cat with some water and food. In most cases, if your cat is vomiting, you should remove water and food for hours and then reintroduce the fluids with bland food. But in case the sap has come into contact with the skin of your cat, you can wash the skin to reduce irritation. You are encouraged to cleanse the skin using water and soap, which will later clear out on its own. The best thing to do is avoid purchasing poinsettia to remove harm on your cat’s way and ensure it won’t chew its leaves again.

Can you safely enjoy your poinsettias without risking your feline?

Cats are just like kids, curious to explore their surroundings. Therefore, as a pet owner, you can set your plant out of the cat’s reach and enjoy its bright red colors.


Despite their attractive colors, poinsettias have been considered a pretty toxic plant to feline animals by most pet owners. The truth is that poinsettias might cause illnesses after ingestion, but since the symptoms might not be severe, you can take care of your cat at home; you are supposed to note the signs your cat is presenting with and manage them appropriately. For instance, if your cat is vomiting, you are advised to discontinue fluids and foods for some hours, and once the cat’s stomach has settled, you can continue with the fluids and foods. However, if your cat is seriously ill, you can still visit or consult your vet for the sake of your cat’s health. Even though the poinsettias plant does not cause an emergency situation, you still do not want to see your cat stressed. Therefore, you are not supposed to bring such plants that are known to cause problems to your cat. As a pet owner, you are supposed to know various plants that can cause harm to your cat and those that cannot to ensure you have eliminated all the harm on your cat’s way. Therefore, please take note of various side effects of different plants before bringing them home where your cat or other pets cannot reach or get to eat them.

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