Catproofing your house is essential the minute you decide to add a feline baby to your family.
But, most people forget to catproof their indoor or outdoor garden, growing plants that might be toxic to their fluffy friends.
So, are philodendron toxic to cats? In our article, we’ll answer this question and explain everything you need to know about this plant, so let’s dive in.
Despite being an attractive plant, you need to think twice before growing the philodendron plant in your house.
There are several types of philodendron plants that people grow as houseplants because they’re quite easy to take care of. These plants can be vining or non-climbing, but they’ll immediately add coziness and warmth to your indoor space.
Philodendron varieties are quite popular as houseplants because they purify the air, improving the air’s quality in your indoor space. Moreover, philodendrons are pretty resilient, so the plants rarely suffer from diseases and pest infestations.
People grow philodendrons for the love of their glossy leaves. Some varieties have oval leaves, while others have heart-shaped ones.
The vines add beauty to your walls and curtain rods, and the potted plants can be grown in hanging baskets or left on a shelf, where the leaves cascade down to add beauty.
However, these plants are highly toxic to cats.
Since there are almost 400 species of philodendron, you need to make sure that you’re not growing any of them in your house or garden if you have a pet.
Philondren can cause a toxic reaction in cats and other animals.
If you want to grow these plants in your house, you should ensure that your pet has no access to them. This means placing the plant in a room your cat has no access to.
As a matter of fact, it is also toxic to humans and other pets. So, it’s best to avoid growing this plant in your house if you have pets and young children.
However, cats are known to have the worst reaction to this plant, and they get extremely irritated when they touch or ingest this plant.
Cats are carnivores, but they love nibbling on vegetables and plants. They’re also quite curious, so they’ll try to touch and taste your philodendron if you grow it at home.
Unfortunately, this is not a good idea.
Philodendron plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which can cause irritation if ingested. These crystals have sharp edges, and they cut through the delicate skin that lines the cat’s mouth and its digestive tract.
This means that your cat will experience a lot of pain the minute it starts eating any part of the plant.
Touching the plant and playing with the leaves will also irritate the skin of your feline friend. This usually happens when your furry baby touches the leaves and eats them, and then it uses its paws to touch its eyes.
If you examine the leaves and stems of the plant, you can notice these crystals as they appear as tiny needles. The plant creates these crystals to defend itself from herbivorous animals that feed on its leaves.
Unfortunately, cats love to chew on the leaves of plants, so it’s common for your furry baby to eat this plant, thinking that it’s safe.
The crystals cause a lot of pain, so your cat is unlikely to eat a lot of this plant.
The sharp crystals will cut through your cat’s tongue, gums, and throat. So, the pain actually guarantees that your cat won’t eat a lot of this innocent-looking plant.
The juices of the plant found in the leaves and stems burn the skin and can lead to swelling.
But this is how toxic this plant is, so it won’t kill your cat. Fortunately, this plant is considered to be mild or moderately toxic to cats, so it won’t kill your pet.
Here are the symptoms that your cat is suffering from philodendron toxicity.
- Your cat will experience drooling.
- The drooling will turn to foaming and coughing if your cat has ingested a large number of the plant’s leaves.
- Your cat will stop eating because of the pain in its mouth and intestines.
- Your feline baby will have difficulty swallowing.
- You can notice that your cat is mewing differently.
- Upon closer examination, you’ll notice blisters inside and around the mouth.
- Your furry baby will start vomiting.
- Your feline baby will stop playing, and it won’t act like its normal self.
- Your cat will lick its paws excessively.
- You can notice swelling around the mouth.
- In severe cases, your cat can suffer from seizures.
- You might notice some bloody discharge from the cat’s mouth.
- When the crystals enter your cat’s eyes, they affect vision.
- Your cat will squint.
- Your cat’s eyes will be red, and they will show signs of swelling.
- You’ll notice excessive tearing of the eyes.
- In extreme cases, you’ll notice that your cat is unable to breathe properly.
- If left untreated, your cat might suffer from renal failure.
These symptoms can be worse, depending on the age and health status of your cat.
In most cases, this is extremely unlikely to happen. Eating and touching the philodendron plant will cause a lot of pain and discomfort, but it won’t kill your cat.
You’ll notice that your furry baby is in pain and isn’t playing like it always does, but it won’t die.
In most cases, your cat will only take a bite and immediately discard the plant because of the pain.
However, if you have a very old or sick cat, it might suffer from more severe toxicity symptoms. A weak kitten will also be in greater danger if it ingests this plant’s leaves.
Prevention is always better than cure.
This means that it’s recommended not to grow this plant in your indoor or outdoor area. If you grow a vining or potted variety, you need to make sure that your cat has no access to the plant.
You can also set up a motion sensor that activates an aerosol can to scare your cat. This will keep it away from the plant.
However, if you’ve made the mistake of buying philodendron or you’ve grown it in your house, not realizing how it can harm your cat, you can still help your furry baby feel better.
Here’s what to do if your cat touches or eats a philodendron.
- Wash your cat’s face and paws to remove the irritating juice.
- Flush your cat’s mouth using water to remove any residue from the plant’s juices.
- Feed your cat some yogurt or milk to bind with the crystals and reduce the discomfort.
- Feed your furry baby some tuna water or chicken broth to help your cat recover.
- Take your pet immediately to the vet. The vet will run the necessary tests and help your cat feel better.
In most cases, the vet will prescribe a medication that contains calcium to interact with the calcium oxalate crystals. They will also do a blood count and ask about your pet’s history.
This is why it’s important to have your pet checked as soon as possible.
The vet might also prescribe painkillers to help your cat eat and swallow normally. In severe cases, your cat might spend the night at the vet’s to make sure that nothing is blocking its airway.
Fortunately, with proper treatment, your cat will get better within 14 to 21 days. Yet, in some cases, your pet will take more time to recover.
If you suspect that your cat has eaten some leaves of the philodendron plant, you shouldn’t induce vomiting. This can actually make your pet feel worse.
The philodendron crystals can cause severe inflammation in the stomach and esophagus, and vomiting will worsen your cat’s condition.
Philodendron is an attractive houseplant that people love because it’s easy to grow and can purify the air in any living space.
Unfortunately, this plant is toxic to cats, other animals, and humans. However, cats have the worst reaction.
Your feline baby will experience irritation, discomfort, drooling, and abdominal pain that prevents it from swallowing and eating normally. If the plant’s juices get in contact with the skin or eyes, they can use irritation and redness.
Flushing the mouth and washing the skin will help relieve some of the pain. It’s important to take your cat to the vet to run the necessary tests, as this will reduce the possibility of any serious consequences.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.