Is Rhaphidophora Tetrasperma Toxic to Cats?

Last Updated on December 3, 2020 by Julia Wilson

Is rhaphidophora tetrasperma toxic to cats?

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is toxic to cats, the toxic principle is insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These needle-sharp crystals are formed in the vacuoles of specialized cells called crystal idioblasts. Calcium oxalate crystals are found within the tissue of the plant where they form in clusters known as raphides as a defence mechanism against herbivory.

If the plant is chewed, calcium oxalate crystals penetrate oropharynx causing intense burning and pain. 

What is rhaphidophora tetrasperma?

  • Family: Araceae
  • Botanical name: Rhaphidophora tetrasperma
  • Common names: Mini monstera, Amydrium gennie, Split-leafed tropical wonder, Monstera Ginny, Philodendron Ginny, Philodendron piccolo
  • Toxicity: Toxic to cats
  • Toxic parts: All
  • Severity: Moderate
  • Toxic principle: Insoluble calcium oxalate crystals

Rhaphidophora tetrasperma is a small vine native to southern Thailand and Malaysia popular as a houseplant for its unique fenestrated leaves and ease of care.

Its appearance is similar to the more widely known Swiss cheese plant (Monstera delicosa), and the common names Monstera Ginny, Philodendron Ginny and Philodendron piccolo are misleading. R. tetrasperma is not a Monstera or a Philodendron, although all three species members of the Araceae family. Rhaphidophora tetrasperma belongs to the Rhaphidophora family, however, the toxic principles are the same for all three species.

Clinical signs

  • Intense oral pain
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Edema (swelling) of the mouth, tongue and lips
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing due to inflammation and swelling (rare)

First aid

Remove any remaining plant material from the mouth and offer the cat a drink of milk, canned tuna or chicken broth.

Call the veterinarian or a pet poison helpline for advice. A wait and see approach may be recommended if the cat is not displaying any clinical signs.

If the cat is experiencing breathing difficulty, immediate medical care is critical.

Treatment

There is no antidote for Rhaphidophora tetrasperma ingestion and treatment is aimed at managing clinical signs. This may include intravenous fluids to correct dehydration and electrolyte derangements if the cat has been vomiting and analgesics to manage pain.




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