“Are Pothos toxic to cats?” or “Are pothos pet safe?” are common queries from those who own both these plants as well as feline pets.
The answer is that yes, they are toxic.
Read this complete guide to find out what the common signs of this toxicity are and how to manage and treat it in a timely manner.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- Are Pothos Toxic to Cats?
- How Do Pothos Produce Toxicity in Cats?
- Signs and Symptoms of Golden Pothos Poisoning
- – Pain and Discomfort
- – Loss of Appetite
- – Excessive Vomiting
- – Too Much Drooling
- – Difficulty in Swallowing
- – Swelling and Burning Around the Mouth
- – Swelling of the Airway
- – How Long Does It Take for Symptoms To Appear?
- – What To Do if Your Cat Has Exhibited Signs of Toxicity by Pothos?
- Poisoning Treatment
- – Washing the Mouth
- – Gastric Lavage
- – Dairy Products
- – Medicines for Stomach Cramps
- – Antihistamines
- – Treating Dehydration
- – Observation
- Frequently Asked Questions
Are Pothos Toxic to Cats?
How Do Pothos Produce Toxicity in Cats?
Pothos plants produce toxicity in cats because of calcium oxalate crystals. These tiny, microscopic crystals are present in all parts of the plant. This includes the stems, leaves and nutrient-rich sap running through the veins of the plant.
Calcium oxalate crystals are a known toxin in both plants and animals. When eaten, they produce mild to moderate symptoms. In rare cases, it has even proven to be fatal.
Oxalate plants are also toxic to the touch. They produce allergies and rashes when touched bare-skinned. However, this type of toxicity is more common in humans than in cats.
Signs and Symptoms of Golden Pothos Poisoning
The signs and symptoms of toxicity and poisoning by this plant can be moderate like discomfort and dysphagia, but it can also be severe like airway compromise.
If your cat ate pothos plant, continue reading to find out about these symptoms in greater detail.
– Pain and Discomfort
You will immediately notice that your cat is in a lot of pain and discomfort. The poor animal will have a hard time sitting still. This is your first clue that something is wrong with your feline friend.
– Loss of Appetite
This happens when only a small amount of oxalate crystals have been ingested. Your cat might refuse to eat or drink anything. This might also be due to the intense burning sensation that oxalate produces in the digestive tract.
– Excessive Vomiting
Vomiting is one of the most common symptoms of poisoning by pothos. Your cat might start vomiting immediately after eating some part of the plant. These vomits will be accompanied by painful retching as well.
– Too Much Drooling
Hypersalivation is another tell-tale symptom of pothos toxicity. You will notice your affected cat constantly drooling a disproportionately large amount of saliva.
– Difficulty in Swallowing
The toxic calcium oxalate crystals irritate the digestive tract of the cat. This makes it extremely painful for your cat to swallow anything. It will even refuse to drink water.
– Swelling and Burning Around the Mouth
This might become noticeable after several minutes of accidental pothos ingestion. There will be an intense itching around the mouth area, and your cat might harm itself pretty badly as it tries to scratch at this itching.
– Swelling of the Airway
This happens in the case of very severe toxicity. Usually, this is when your cat eats a very large amount of the pothos plant. This is the most dangerous symptom so far.
The swelling airway might compromise your cat’s breathing. If not taken to the vet immediately, it might even die.
– How Long Does It Take for Symptoms To Appear?
The signs and symptoms of toxicity begin to appear as soon as your cat begins to eat any part of these toxic plants. Some of these symptoms manifest quite rapidly, especially vomiting and itching.
Believe it or not, this is actually a good thing. Rapid onset of pain makes sure that your cat doesn’t eat more or chew on a large part of the pothos plants. It will immediately stop eating and spit out the rest of the plant.
– What To Do if Your Cat Has Exhibited Signs of Toxicity by Pothos?
You should immediately take your cat to the vet if it shows signs of toxicity by this plant. For this purpose, you must first be aware of what those signs and symptoms are. In fact, if you have a cat, you must know which of your house plants are poisonous.
Describe the symptoms to the vet in detail. It is also helpful to take a picture of the plant or a sample to help the vet. The diagnosis of toxicity by this poisonous plant in cats is made solely on history and clinical examination.
With this in mind, make sure you assist the vet in any way you can. They will also inspect the mouth of the cat and detect the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Only after making an accurate diagnosis can the treatment be started.
Veterinarians will treat pothos-induced toxicity in cats by washing their mouth and stomach. They will then try to relieve pain and discomfort by various methods. Keep in mind that the proper treatment will only begin once the diagnosis is confirmed.
Don’t worry, if diagnosed and treated early, your cat will recover just as quickly. Read the section below to find out the treatment in detail.
– Washing the Mouth
This is the first thing that your vet will do. They will use water or milk to wash away the toxic calcium oxalate crystals still lingering in the oral cavity.
– Gastric Lavage
Gastric lavage is just a fancy medical term for stomach wash. Normal saline is often used to flush out the stomach. This will immediately produce a respite from discomfort for your cat.
– Dairy Products
Dairy products are a natural method to soothe abdominal cramps and discomfort. Your vet will make the cat eat cheese or yogurt. Milk can also be given instead, and you will notice that your cat will be much more comfortable now.
– Medicines for Stomach Cramps
Sometimes, the dairy products will not be enough to ease the pain produced by these poisonous plants. In such a case, the vet will prescribe medicines like sucralfate, etc. that will coat the lining of the stomach like a protective layer.
If the swelling around the mouth of the cat is particularly severe, or the methods taken seem to not be working on your cat, then an immediate injection of antihistamines must be given. Luckily, this happens very rarely.
Antihistamines are anti-allergic medicines. They are usually not well-tolerated by cats, which is why they are not commonly given to them unless absolutely needed.
– Treating Dehydration
Toxicity often leads to dehydration in cats. This is augmented by the fact that the affected animal is unable to drink anything as well. Your vet might have to establish an IV drip to rehydrate the animal.
If your cat had particularly severe symptoms, then the vet might keep it overnight for observation. This means that they will monitor for symptoms like airway compromise or severe dehydration.
Otherwise, as soon as treatment is given, your cat will begin to immediately feel better and you will be able to take it home with you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding toxicity causing plants below.
– How Do I Keep My Cat Away From Pothos?
Keep pothos plants on a high shelf or in a location where cats don’t have easy access to it. The best prevention from toxicity is to keep pothos and other such plants well away from pets. All good plant care guides will inform you whether a particular plant is toxic or not.
Immediately bring your cat to the vet if you see them chewing on this plant. To be able to do this, you must be aware of the common signs of pathos ingestion.
– What House Plants Are Harmful to Cats?
Aside from Pothos, several other house plants are harmful to cats, including the Snake plant, Monsteras and Philodendrons. The snake plant is mildly toxic for cats. It contains compounds called saponins that irritate the digestive tract of felines.
The usual symptoms produced by toxicity from this plant are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Monsteras are also toxic for your pet cats. They also contain calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves and stems. The most common symptoms exhibited are extreme burning in the area around the mouth as well as in the throat. Moreover, increased salivation, vomiting and discomfort will also be evident.
Philodendron, too, is included among the household plants that are toxic for pets and kids. The signs of their toxicity are more or less the same as that of pothos.
Here is a short summary of what we learned today:
- The pothos plant is a common household plant that is toxic for cats. All parts of this plant are toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals.
- Common symptoms of toxicity are drooling, burning of the mouth, the perioral region vomiting, and difficulty in swallowing.
- When you notice any of these symptoms in your cat or see it chewing on this plant, immediately take it to a nearby animal clinic.
- The vet will wash the mouth and the stomach of the cat. Dairy products will be given, which will ease the discomfort of the animal.
We hope that you will keep your pothos away from the reach of your cat. However, in case of any unlikely emergency, you will now know what to do!