Cats can chew or eat some plants present in the home. The poinsettia can be one of them, especially at Christmas time. The toxicity of this type of plant in animals is very dangerous for their health, so you have to be very careful and avoid cat ingestion of the Christmas flower as much as possible.
And it is that, despite being a very nice Christmas decoration, placing the poinsettia in a room in the home poses a threat to the health of your cat due to its toxic component through direct contact and also due to possible ingestion. To find out if the poinsettia is poisonous for cats and what the symptoms of poisoning are, we recommend that you continue reading this article.
In the event of any type of doubt about the toxicity of the poinsettia towards cats, it really is due to the irritating toxins that the plant contains. These toxins are called diterpenic esters and are derived from flavonoids, phorbol and euphorbons, with a milky liquid or latex inside.
If the milky substance reaches the cat’s mouth, it causes irritation of the mucous membranes through which it passes, that is, first the oral cavity and then the pharynx and esophagus with continuity through the rest of the digestive system.
Toxicity can be produced by direct contact with the latex on the skin or eyes or by biting or ingesting the plant. If your cat eats the colored parts of the poinsettia, the red bracts, it can damage its digestive organs. This poisoning can also occur in dogs but is much more common in cats.
The contact of the toxic substances present in the poinsettia with the cat’s eyes can cause problems such as:
If these substances come into contact with the skin, they can produce:
On the other hand, if the poisoning is caused by eating or biting the plant, the symptoms in cats will be mostly digestive. They can be the following:
Going immediately to a veterinary center is an obligation when your cat has eaten any part of the poinsettia or has had external contact with the plant and you see any symptoms or know that it has been with its whitish liquid. Thus, they will know how to apply the appropriate treatment to alleviate the symptoms.
If your cat maintains contact with the eyes or the skin of the toxic milky substance of the poinsettia, the treatments to follow will be the following:
Eye contact: wash the eyes with warm saline and apply specific eye drops with some drugs such as atropine, antibiotics that prevent infections and corticosteroids (dexamethasone) if there are no ulcers.
Skin contact: wash the cat and use antihistamines and antibiotics for a week if it suffers from dermatitis.
If your cat eats the poinsettia, you should know that there are no specific antidotes to deal with the plant’s toxins. Therefore, one of the following measures is used:
It forces diuresis, that is, the production of urine through hypertonic glucose or mannitol to help the body eliminate toxins. Use activated carbon for its enormous capacity to absorb toxins that have entered the feline body orally.
As long as the ingestion of the plant has occurred in the last two hours, vomiting can be induced while the cat is conscious. Even so, the animal can naturally vomit after ingesting the poinsettia. A stomach lavage can also be done to eliminate the toxic components in the stomach.
Taking into account the toxicity of the poinsettia, it is important that you take precautions both with this plant and with other Christmas plants if you have cats. Other Christmas plants that are poisonous to cats are the following: