Poinsettias are super popular red and green plants enjoyed by many people around Christmastime… But are they pure poison for cats?
The internet is full of horrifying tales of ‘death by poinsettia’ for cats. The truth is poinsettias are not pure poison – but they are toxic for cats. These red and green Christmassy plants are a great reminder that we should be cautious of any new plant we bring into our homes.
No doubt the poinsettia gets an extra bad rap as a dangerous plant because of their popularity at Christmastime. They are the gift many people bring to the host of a dinner party – and are a common centerpiece for Christmas celebrations. Because of this, it make sense that more cats would be curious of this ‘newcomer’ in their territory. Even the first exploratory nibble on these festive flowers would likely be regretted quickly.
Poinsettias contain a milky white sap. The chemicals in this sap are not enjoyed by cats. At all. The diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents are toxic for our feline friends. They can cause drooling, vomiting, and digestive upset. Skin exposure can be irritating as well – causing itchiness, swelling or redness.
So while poinsettias are not pure poison, do not let your cat near them. In our home, that’s basically impossible. Our solution is to play it safe and not allow these plants into our home in the first place. However, if you must have this festive flower to help decorate a Christmas celebration, consider getting a fake one to avoid a sick kitty. The holiday hoopla can make us forgetful of our feline friends – so it’s helpful to think about their safety before the Christmas chaos begins!