are poinsetta bad for cats

“There are many species of Holly (genus Ilex). Though the symptoms of poisonings are usually mild and include vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, berries and leaves can still pose a risk. “.

The College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University, provides the following information for Poinsettia, as well as Mistletoe and Holly. “Holiday Health Hazards” (

The Colorado State Extension site has an extensive review of poinsettia history and cultural requirements at:

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“If your pet has possibly consumed any part of the mistletoe plant, you should seek veterinary consultation right away as the plant can be highly toxic to animals.” Within hours of consumption, mistletoe can result in vomiting, severe diarrhea, dyspnea, shock, and even death.

Although the milky white sap of poinsettias contains chemicals known as diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents, poinsettias themselves are not very toxic to cats. If consumed, these substances will upset the digestive system and may result in vomiting, drooling, or, in rare cases, diarrhea. When the milky sap comes into contact with skin, it can cause dermal irritation, which can cause redness, swelling, and itching. In rare cases, exposure to the eyes can cause mild conjunctivitis, or “pink eye” due to inflammation. Signs are self-limiting and don’t require medical treatment unless severe.

Cats may also be poisoned by other Yuletide plants like mistletoe and holly berries. The potentially toxic compounds (saponins, methylxanthines, and cyanogens) and spiny leaves of Christmas or English holly can cause severe gastrointestinal distress when consumed. Because of the mechanical harm caused by the spiny leaves, most cats lip-smack, drool, and shake their heads excessively if they consume it. While most of us hang mistletoe high enough to keep our cats from reaching it, it can still be poisonous if consumed. Fortunately, American mistletoe is not as toxic as its European counterparts. Although mild symptoms of gastrointestinal irritation are observed, large-scale ingestion has also been linked to reports of collapse, hypotension, ataxia (driving while intoxicated), seizures, and even death. See your veterinarian if you think your cat may have consumed any of these plants.

This holiday season, be cautious about the plants you bring into your home if you own a cat. Mistletoe, holly berries, lilies, and poinsettias are all bad for your feline family members.

Of all of these festive plants, lilies are the most toxic and are potentially fatal if ingested by cats. Any part of the plant, including the pollen, flower, stems and leaves are poisonous. These plants belong to the Lilium or Hemerocallis family, with examples being the tiger, day, Asiatic hybrid, Easter, Japanese Show, rubrum, stargazer, red, Western, and wood lilies. If ingested, these lilies can cause kidney failure in cats, with sudden onset of lethargy, decreased appetite, vomiting and either increased or decreased thirst and urination with dehydration. If you suspect your cat has eaten any part of a lily plant then take him directly to your veterinarian as emergency care is needed. The best advice is not to bring any lilies into your home if you have cats, and be sure to inspect any bouquets of flowers that are delivered to your home, as lilies are the #1 flower used by florists!

If you want more information on toxic plants for cats, you can visit the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Poison Control website at


What Christmas plant is poisonous to cats?

7 Holiday Plants That Are Toxic to Cats and Dogs: Poinsettias, Mistletoe, and More. Key takeaways: Holiday plants like poinsettias and mistletoe may be pretty to look at, but they can be toxic to your pets. Common signs of poisoning from a toxic plant in dogs and cats include drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea.

What Christmas plant is safe for pets?

Christmas cactus/thanksgiving/easter cactus (Schlumbergera truncata). This classic holiday bloomer brightens up the room and comes in a wide range of colors from the softest pinks to rich reds. While the plant isn’t toxic, if you’ve got a pet that loves to munch greenery it could upset your pet’s stomach.

What are the side effects of the poinsettia plant?

When taken by mouth: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if poinsettia is safe. Side effects might include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. When applied to the skin: Poinsettia is possibly unsafe. It can cause serious skin reactions, including irritation and burns.

What happens if a dog eats a small piece of poinsettia?

Eating poinsettia can cause drooling, oral pain, diarrhoea and vomiting – but only if they’re ingested in large enough quantities. On the plus side, the plant contains an irritant sap and, as a result, it’s unlikely dogs will ever eat enough to cause serious harm because of the taste and irritation from this.