It is the most wonderful time of the year for treats, celebrations and decorations. And the decorations might include holiday flowers and plants. I must admit that I have a special fondness for plants, especially the dirt in which they are planted. I love to throw the dirt out of the pot onto the floor. I don’t know why, I just do. But my dirt throwing plants are quite limited and in fact, since my adoption day, my parents seem to have a lot less plants in the habitat.
My Adoption Anniversary Day is coming soon because I remember I was found at the dog pound at Christmas time. When I first arrived in my forever loving habitat there was a beautiful red poinsettia on the table. I had never seen such a fantastic flower in all the days of my life. I found it irresistible and was told it was off limits. The deadly duo!
One day my mom was looking everywhere for me. She was calling my name, “Gracey, Gracey Lou.” Now I know when I hear the Gracey with the Lou attached that my parents are either getting super worried about me, or I might be in a bit of trouble. Either way, it is best if I show my whiskers when I hear Gracey Lou.
In my first few days exploring my new forever home I found myself inside the poinsettia planter and I really felt like a jaguar in the jungle, it was awesome I can’t tell you it wasn’t. My mom’s voice had that special lilt that told me she was truly worried. I was too afraid to move, and to be honest, and since Santa told me I was not yet on the nice list so I better be honest, I was rather enjoying my stealth mode in the plant.
At last, with tears in her eyes, she found me in the poinsettia. I thought I might get a scolding but I got hugs and kisses instead. I don’t like making my parents cry with worry and I know that you don’t like to worry about your Cats either so I thought we could chat about:
The most common holiday plants and their toxicities to Cats.
Amaryllis (Amaryllis spp.) Ingestion can result in vomiting, diarrhea, depression, lack of appetite, tremors, drooling and abdominal pain. This is not good!
Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera or Zygocactus) With small ingestions, there is usually no signs of toxicity. These plants are considered low toxicity plants. Even so, I am not allowed in the office unsupervised for fear I will chomp the cactus.
Holly (Ilex sp.) Bad news if ingested. Can cause intense vomiting and diarrhea. Maybe even mental depression.
Lily (Lilium longiflorum, Lilium tigrium, Lilium speciosum, Lilium lancifolium, Hemerocallis species) In other words just say no to Lilies in homes with Cats! See my post earlier this year about the the Lily, Lovely to Look at, Bad to Chomp. Super dangerous. Your cat can develop kidney failure within 36-72 hours.
Mistletoe (Phoradendron spp) ~Alert~ This should only be hung where Cats can’t chomp. This plant can cause significant vomiting and diarrhea. It can also cause difficulty breathing, slowed heart rate, collapse and if a lot is ingested, death.
PaperWhite Narcissus (Narcissus papyraceus) Often grown as a house plant forced to flower at Christmas time this plant is toxic and can cause vomiting, diaarrhea, with convulsions, low blood pressure,, tremors and cardiac arrhythmias. The bulbs are the most poisonous part.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia) My favorite! This plant can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach and sometimes vomiting. The poinsettia is considered to have a low level of toxicity and many people even consider it non-toxic. I wonder if I can ask for a Poinsettia for my Adoption Anniversary Day?
You can find a more complete list of plants poisonous to Cats on The Cat Fanciers’ Association web site. I hope this helps you decide on which holiday plants you will bring into your habitat.
Thank you for caring about all cats big and small and for decorating your home with safe and non-toxic plants.