Good news! Poinsettias are not so poisonous after all!
If you love poinsettias during the holidays and you love cats, maybe there is a way to enjoy both this holiday season. According to the ASPCA Poison Control Center, Poinsettias are not nearly as toxic as we've been made to think.
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In 1820 a beautiful red-leafed plant was brought to the United States from Mexico. Not long after, the plant became a popular Holiday plant with it's vibrant red color, now in pink and white too. But early in the 1900's it was believed that eating a poinsettia leaf was the cause of death of a 2 year old. No one knows for sure what the cause of death was, but the Poinsettia got a bad reputation after that.
The rumors grew and grew over the generations, but the ASPCA claim the rumors have exaggerated the toxicity of the plant. In reality, the Poinsettia is not a healthy choice for a cat to snack on, it will still cause stomach upset, diarrhea and vomiting, if ingested. Not pleasant at all, but the worries that it will cause death in an otherwise healthy cat is simply not true.
The most common problem was stomach upset that included drooling, vomiting and diarrhea, but veterinary treatment isn't necessary unless your cat has an illness that could be complicated by ingesting Poinsettia. But if you think your cat has eaten some poinsettia, always consult your vet, they know your cat better than I do.
Stomach upset is not what we want this holiday, from any of our furry friends, so it's best to keep the poinsettias out of reach of your cat, but they aren't as bad as we once thought, so go ahead deck your halls, carefully.
You can check out a fairly complete list of common plants that are toxic to cats that the ASPCA has published. You'll note on that list are three other very common plants associated with the season, holly, mistletoe and lily, especially the stargazer lily - all of them can cause serious gastrointestinal disorders, and alter mood, mistletoe can cause heart failure, and lilies can cause kidney failure. These three plants are far more toxic to cats than the poinsettia. As a matter of fact, the poinsettia doesn't even appear on this list at all!
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