Decorative plants in all varieties are especially popular during the holiday season. They add festive color while adorning our homes with their beauty. However, if you plan on decking the halls with flowers and plants, please learn first what you should know about floral toxicity and the safety of your felines.
Though certain plants are perfectly fine, others should be kept far out of reach of those furry little paws, as their ingestion can lead not only to digestive disorders but to serious health problems, or even fatalities. Let’s review some of the most popular to find out which flowers are okay, and which are to be avoided:
Poinsettia: The poinsettia’s red leaves produce a sap that can irritate the mouth and the throat. Ingesting the leaves will likely cause nausea and vomiting, though your cat will not likely consume enough of the plant to cause anything worse than this. However, the worst poison can come from pesticides that were sprayed onto the plant in the nursery. Severe reactions to the plant and the pesticides can include seizures, comas, and death. Best to keep these away from all felines.
Lilies & Daffodils: Both are popular gifts, but both should be re-gifted quickly if you have cats in your house. Lilies are the most dangerous. Consuming just small amounts can cause severe GI issues as well as arrhythmia and convulsions. With daffodils, the bulbs are the toxic part. Innocent nibbling on the flowers and bulbs can cause kidney failure and even death.
Holly & Mistletoe: These extremely popular holiday plants and their berries, it turns out, are even more toxic than poinsettias. Mistletoe contains multiple toxins to cats. In addition to severe intestinal upset, it has been known to cause sudden drops in blood pressure, breathing problems, and hallucinations and seizures. Both the leaves and berries, in addition to the dried versions of both of these plants, should be not only kept out of your cat’s reach but out of the home.
Amaryllis (Belladonna):The beauty of the large bloom of the Amaryllis can only be matched by its poison. When consumed, it can cause GI problems along with diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy, and tremors. Even more dangerous than the flower and its stalk is the bulb. Besides Belladonna, it goes by other names like Saint Joseph Lily, Cape Belladonna and Naked Lady. Avoid this plant by any name.
Christmas Cactus: Finally, a plant that is non-toxic to your felines in its plant or in its flowers. However, due to the fibrous structure of this plant, best to keep it away from your fur family as it can certainly cause stomach irritation if eaten. Further, its spiny construction can cause injury to sensitive cat faces and paws. Best to keep cats at a distance and away from any temptation.
Christmas Trees: Besides the obvious dangers of lights and ornaments, the Christmas tree, itself, can pose its own unique threats. Oils produced by fir trees can irritate the cat’s mouth and stomach. The needles can cause GI issues, punctures, and obstructions. Further, the water used to sustain the tree in your home contains bacteria, mold, and fertilizers that can make your cat extremely sick if they are to drink it. It is vital to keep this water covered and blocked from feline access. Don’t let them climb up the tree as injuries can result.
If your cat does ingest any of these dangerous plants, call the ASPCA Poison Control Center right away: 1-888-426-4435. Help is available 24 hours a day. With a bit of attention to remove these potential dangers from temptation, you should be content to know that Kitty is safe throughout the holiday season.
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