Is Pothos Toxic to Cats? Unveiling the Truth

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

Pothos is a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and ease of care. However, if you’re a cat owner and a plant lover, you might be wondering if Pothos is safe to keep around your feline friends. This article will provide you with all the information you need to know about Pothos toxicity and how to keep your cat safe.

Pothos Plant Overview

The pothos plant, also known as “Golden Pothos” or “Devil’s Ivy,” is a popular houseplant known for its attractive, trailing vines and heart-shaped leaves. It is native to the tropics and typically thrives in bright, indirect light with moderate humidity. Pothos plants are appreciated for their low maintenance requirements, making them ideal for inexperienced gardeners or busy individuals who desire a touch of greenery in their living spaces.

Belonging to the Araceae family, pothos plants share similarities with other houseplant species such as philodendrons and dieffenbachias. They are known for their air-purifying qualities, as they can efficiently remove pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene from the air. Additionally, pothos plants are effective in reducing indoor humidity levels, potentially preventing the growth of mold and mildew.

Despite their attractive features and benefits, pothos plants have a downside for pet owners: they are toxic to cats and other pets when ingested. This toxicity is primarily due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation upon contact. When cats consume parts of the pothos plant, they may experience adverse reactions, emphasizing the importance of keeping these plants out of their reach.

Toxicity to Cats

Pothos plants are considered toxic to cats due to the presence of harmful compounds in their leaves and stems. These compounds pose a risk to feline health, and it is crucial for cat owners to be aware of the dangers and symptoms associated with pothos ingestion.

Toxic Compounds

The primary toxic substance found in pothos plants is insoluble calcium oxalate crystals (ASPCA). These crystals cause irritation and discomfort upon contact with a cat’s oral tissues, making it crucial to keep pothos plants out of reach of curious pets.

Symptoms of Ingestion

If your cat ingests part of a pothos plant, you may observe several symptoms, some of which can be quite alarming. Common clinical signs of pothos toxicity in cats include:

  • Oral irritation
  • Intense burning and irritation of mouth, tongue, and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty swallowing (ASPCA)

While pothos toxicity is rarely fatal, it can cause significant distress for your cat and should be treated seriously. If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a pothos plant, seek immediate veterinary assistance to alleviate symptoms and prevent further harm.

Treatment for Pothos Poisoning in Cats

First Aid Steps

If you suspect your cat has ingested part of a pothos plant, it is crucial to act quickly. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth, throat, and stomach of your feline companion. Symptoms might include drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. Ensure your cat is in a safe, comfortable location and avoid placing any further stress on them.

Next, gently remove any plant material still present in your cat’s mouth or around their face. You may also contact your veterinarian, who might recommend administering a medication such as Benadryl to help prevent swelling and further complications.

Veterinary Care

Getting professional veterinary care is vital for cats suffering from pothos poisoning. The veterinarian will assess the severity of the poisoning and administer the appropriate treatment. This might include providing your cat with intravenous fluids to assist in flushing the toxins from their body and help with dehydration resulting from vomiting. As mentioned in The Spruce, pothos poisoning can be toxic to cats, and without proper care, it may even prove fatal.

In some cases, your cat may require several days of treatment at the veterinary clinic. It is essential to monitor their condition closely during this time and follow the veterinarian’s advice to ensure the best possible outcome.

Additionally, take preventative measures against future incidents by removing any toxic plants, like pothos, from your home or garden to ensure a safe environment for your cat.

Prevention Tips

Protecting your cat from the potential harm caused by ingesting pothos is essential. Here are a few prevention tips to ensure your cat’s safety around this plant:

1. Place pothos out of reach: Cats are known for their ability to jump and reach high places; however, using hanging baskets or placing pothos plants in locations where cats cannot easily access them can minimize the risk. Make sure to keep an eye on any high shelves or tall furniture, as determined cats may still attempt to reach them.

2. Restrict access to rooms with pothos: Another precautionary measure is to keep your pothos plants in a designated area or room where you can restrict your cat’s entry. This can help prevent contact and ingestion, reducing potential harm.

3. Offer alternative plants: Distract your cat by providing safe and non-toxic plants that they can chew on, such as catnip, spider plants, or wheatgrass. This may help divert your cat’s attention away from the pothos, reducing the likelihood of ingestion.

4. Educate yourself about plant toxicity: Be aware of the plants in your home and their potential toxicity to cats. When purchasing new plants, research whether they pose a threat to your feline companions. This knowledge can help you make informed decisions and protect your pets from harm.

By following these prevention tips, you can create a safer environment for your cat and reduce the risk associated with pothos plants. Always monitor your cat’s interactions with plants, and take swift action if you suspect any ingestion or toxic exposure.

Alternatives to Pothos

If you are looking for pet-friendly alternatives to pothos plants, there are several options to choose from. These plants are both attractive and safe for your cats, ensuring that your home remains stylish without putting your fur babies at risk. Some popular non-toxic alternatives for cat owners are:

  • Peperomia: Similar to pothos in terms of their trailing vines, peperomias are safe for cats and dogs. They come in a variety of leaf shapes and colors, making them a versatile and attractive choice for your home.
  • Spider Plant: A popular and easy-to-grow houseplant, the spider plant is both visually appealing and non-toxic to cats. Its long, arching leaves add a touch of greenery to any space while ensuring the safety of your pets.
  • Boston Fern: Known for its lush, feathery foliage, the Boston fern is another great alternative to pothos. This plant thrives in bright, indirect light and is safe for both cats and dogs.
  • Bamboo Palm: If you are looking for a larger, more dramatic plant, the bamboo palm is an excellent choice. This non-toxic plant can grow quite tall, making it a perfect statement piece for any room in your house.

When searching for alternative plants to pothos, it’s important to check the toxicity for your pets specifically. You want to avoid plants that contain calcium oxalate crystals, like those found in pothos, which cause irritation for cats. Many resources and guides are available online to help you select safe plants for your home, ensuring a healthy environment for both you and your pets.

Helpful Video