Are Poinsettias Toxic to Cats?

  • Botanical name: Euphorbia pulcherrima
  • Common names: Christmas flower, Painted leaf, Lobster plant, Winter rose
  • Toxicity: Toxic to cats
  • Toxic parts: Leaves and stems
  • Severity: Mild to moderate
  • Toxic properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates

Are poinsettias toxic to cats?

Yes, poinsettias are toxic to cats although the toxicity is overrated, and exposure produces mild symptoms.

Toxic properties of poinsettia

The ASPCA lists the toxic property of poinsettias as an irritant sap which can irritate the skin, mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Symptoms of poinsettia exposure may include:

How to keep cats safe

As ingestion of poinsettias only causes mild symptoms, there are no recommendations in regards to keeping cats safe other than to ensure the plant is kept out of reach of cats who are prone to nibble.

Grow cat-friendly plants in the home such as catnip and cat grass which will provide a safe alternative to your Christmas plants.

What Christmas plants are toxic to cats?

Holly

Christmas holly

  • Scientific name: Ilex opaca
  • Other names: English Holly, Oregon Holly,
  • Level of toxicity: Moderate
  • Toxic compound: Saponins
  • Toxic parts: Berries
  • Causes: Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Symptoms: Diarrhea, lethargy

Mistletoe

Mistletoe toxic to cats

  • Scientific name: Viscum album and Phoradendron serotinum
  • Other names: Common mistletoe, English mistletoe, American mistletoe
  • Level of toxicity: Mild to moderate
  • Toxic compound: Alkaloid tyramine and pharatoxin viscumin
  • Toxic parts: All parts, leaves, and berries contain the highest concentration
  • Causes: Gastrointestinal disturbances and hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Symptoms: Drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, low heart rate, wobbly gait (ataxia), low blood pressure, and low heart rate

Amaryllis

Amaryllis toxic to cats

  • Scientific name: Amaryllis spp. or Hippeastrum spp.
  • Level of toxicity: Mild to moderate
  • Other names: Belladonna lily, naked lady, resurrection lily, butterfly amaryllis, St Joseph lily
  • Toxic compound: Lycorine
  • Toxic parts: All parts, the bulb, and leaves are the most toxic
  • Causes: Gastrointestinal disturbances
  • Symptoms: Vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite and tremors

Lily

Are Poinsettias Toxic to Cats? 1

  • Scientific name: Lilium and Hemerocallis
  • Other names: Rubrum Lily, Tiger Lily, Asiatic Lily, Day Lily, Stargazer Lily, and Easter Lily
  • Toxic compound: Unknown
  • Toxic parts: All parts of the plant are toxic to cats
  • Causes: Acute kidney failure
  • Symptoms: Vomiting, drooling, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, increased urination followed by decreased/absent urination.

See more on lily poisoning here.



Julia Wilson is a cat expert with over 20 years of experience writing about a wide range of cat topics, with a special interest in cat health, welfare and preventative care. Julia lives in Sydney with her family, four cats and two dogs. She enjoys photography, gardening and running in her spare time. Full author bio Contact Julia