Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Toxic Plants? Tuesday

When Dad purchased Mom a pretty white poinsettia just before Christmas, she admired it and immediately put it into the off-limits living room so there was no chance we would chew on it.     She had heard poinsettias were toxic for cats.     But one day she got curious and did some searching on the web and found a web site that she wants to tell you all about.  It is called Pet Poison Helpline and their url is http://www.petpoisonhelpline.com.    They also have an 800 number for the USA Canada and Carribbean (800-213-6680).  There is a charge if you call them for help because they do not have public funding.   But the website is free.

This is what we found out about Poinsettias and other Holiday plants and flowers:

"Though they have a bad rap, poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) plants are only mildly toxic to cats and dogs.   Mild signs of vomiting, drooling, or rarely, diarrhea may be seen. If the milky sap is exposed to skin, dermal irritation (including redness, swelling, and itchiness) may develop. Rarely, eye exposure can result in a mild conjunctivitis (“pink eye” secondary to inflammation). Signs are self-limiting and generally don’t require medical treatment unless severe.

Far more worrisome are holiday bouquets containing lilies, holly or mistletoe. Even bouquets brought into the house by holiday guests should be thoroughly inspected, as lilies are the #1 flower often used by florists. Just one or two bites from a lily can result in severe acute kidney failure in cats – even the pollen is thought to be poisonous! Other yuletide plants such as holly berries, mistletoe, and rosemary can also be toxic to dogs and cats. When Christmas or English holly is ingested, it can result in severe gastrointestinal upset thanks to the spiny leaves and the potentially toxic substances (including saponins, methylxanthines, and cyanogens). If ingested, most dogs and cats lip smack, drool, and head shake excessively due to the mechanical injury from the spiny leaves. As for mistletoe, most of us hang it high enough so it’s out of reach of our dogs and cats – nevertheless, it can also be toxic if ingested. Thankfully, American mistletoe is less toxic than the European varieties of it. Mild signs of gastrointestinal irritation are seen, although if ingested in large amounts, collapse, hypotension, ataxia (walking drunk), seizures and death have also been reported."


  1. Thanks so much for all the great information. So glad to have that website.

    Have a great day pals.

    pawhugs, Max

  2. Thanks for that very useful info, Simba. #1 has almost entirely given up on bringing in plants or flowers, as, even when the contents are not ingested, vases can so easily be toppled...

    We remember when our buddy Miles had a lily panic last year. It was really scary. Fortunately, #1 can't bear the smell of lilies so they NEVER get in the door!

    The Chans

  3. Thanks for the great info Simba! I wish we had an off limits room in our house but it's all sort of open concept, as a result I never have flowers, even the harmless kind, because they always get chomped :-(

  4. Mario's mom here: Thanks so much for that web site. I had always thought Pointsettas were extremely bad, but I was wrong. I did, however, know about Lilies. I've pretty much given up on having flowers in the house too because they are either chomped on or tipped over because "someone" tried to chomp on them.

  5. That was some mighty good info on the poisons. That is good to know that the poinsetta isn't as bad but we are not going to tempt these kitties. I heard that the Christmas cactus is poisoness too. But I have had them for years and so far no one is sick. Hope I didn't just jinx us. Take care.

  6. Mum doesn't have flowers or plants in at home because we always tip them over trying to sniff them!!
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  7. I'd read that bout poinsettas just recently. We always thought they were on the top of the poisons list too. Thanks for the link and HAPPY NEW YEAR.

  8. Now wasn't that interesting? We have heard that lilies were bad but did not know they were that bad!

  9. ALWAYS good to know. I knew about these two mentined..poinsettias and lilies but not holly and the rest. I give up on having fresh flowers tho...roses, others as Admiral always chomped them.

  10. Hi Simba & Audrey, dat iz Alwayz good infomation to know ^..^, Efen if da symtomz iz mild dey still don't sound so good :0
    we rarely mess wif da live stuffz , we always mess wif da fake stuff though ^..^ drivez da mom crazy.....hehehehe
    Headbonkz ~
    Happy New Year ^..^

  11. This is all important info to know! My human is so plant paranoid that she would not put up the mistletoe her boyfriend brought home one year - she was convinced that it would dry up and drop its leaves, and one of us cats would eat it!

  12. I think maybe my mom ate one of those! That explains a lot.

    When I was a really tiny boy, she had to call the poison line for me, if you can believe it! She thought I might have eaten some polymer clay but I really didn't. So ever since then we keep the number handy because you just never know.

  13. Thanks for the information! Our mommy can't keep any plant alive so we only have 3 in the whole house and they are high up on shelves out of reach.

  14. We are so glad that you posted this. It is so important to know especially when someone may be caught totally and sadly surprised.

  15. yep we did a blog post about a year or so ago about toxic plants and I know that many others did too.

    I have heard that about poinsettias but I still say better safe than sorry.

    I also know that Lilies are HIGHLY toxic....the post I did was about a little boy whose cat nibbled on an Easter Lily and it killed the cat.

  16. Thanks for the great info, Simba!

    The Human has a friend who used to give her beautiful narcissus for Krissymouse till someone told her it was Very Bad for the kitties. My Human should look it up because those paperwhites were really pretty.

  17. Thanks so much for this, sooo many people don't even realise that lilies are dangerous!! Always good to let people know about all the bad things that could hurt out fur kids!