The Christmas festivities are approaching, and with them also different varieties of themed plants enter our homes. The most famous is certainly the poinsettia, a plant with beautiful red leaves and a captivating heart. The question then arises, for those who know the dangers of the plant kingdom: is the poinsettia poisonous to cats or not? The answer is not so simple.
The plant commonly known as poinsettia bears the scientific name of Euphorbia pulcherrima and is also known as Poinsettia. It is an ornamental plant native to Mexico, where it grows wild.
It is not clear what the potentially poisonous parts of the plant are. There are those who claim it is the trunk and branches, those who call into question leaves, stems and sap. However things may be, it seems to contain a milky substance, the latex, which is slightly irritating to the skin and contains euphormones, alkaloids and triterpenes. Precisely because of the presence of these potentially toxic constituents, it is considered toxic to dogs and cats.
Symptoms of overdose in case of excessive ingestion of the plant include:
- irritation of the mucous membranes of the digestive system;
- rubbing of the mouth with the paws;
- swelling and burning on lips, tongue and mouth;
- conjunctivitis with tearing;
- dermatitis with vesicles;
- diffuse tremors.
Symptoms that occur in the most serious cases are:
- temporary blindness;
- severe eye irritation.
If these signs of discomfort occur in your cat, the advice is to consult your vet immediately. In any case, the effects of the poinsettia are never fatal, which will certainly reassure those who have to deal with them.
There is, in fact, a completely opposite current of thought according to which the poinsettia is not at all poisonous to our animals, or at least almost not at all. A 2008 study carried out in the United States would have shown that there is no danger to health. While according to the Animal Poison Control Center, an animal would have to ingest an entire plant to suffer from the alleged toxicity.
So the poison star is poisonous to cats? In the absence of a clear answer, perhaps it’s best to be cautious and keep it away from our cats’ snouts and put it where they can’t reach it.