Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats?
Fiddle leaf figs or Ficus Lyrata are popular and majestic houseplants with big beautiful leaves.
However, if you own a cat, you may be wondering, are fiddle leaf figs toxic to cats?
Fiddle leaf figs cause mild toxicity in cats. If ingested, most felines will show some obvious signs of distress such as mouth irritation, vomiting, breathing difficulties and diarrhea. The gluey white and sticky sap of the fiddle leaf fig has tiny calcium oxalate crystals that have sharp edges and look like small needles that can cause enormous discomfort in cats when ingested.
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Does this mean that you can’t put up a fiddle leaf fig plant in your home? Of course, you can, but you must keep them out of reach of your pets.
If you notice any symptoms of poisoning in your feline, you should take her to the vet immediately.
Read on to find out more about how these plants are toxic for your pets, what measures you can take to keep your cat away from the plant and what should you do if your cat comes in contact with or ingest your fiddle leaf figs.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats and Other Pets?
Fiddle leaf figs are certainly not pet-friendly. If ingested, they can put your cat in distress. The fiddle leaf fig releases a milky white sap. The calcium oxalate present in the sap has sharp crystals that can cause irritation and a host of other issues in your feline.
You need to ensure that your cat goes nowhere near the fiddle leaf fig tree. If your pets come in contact with any part of the plant, the sap could get on them, and this will lead to irritation.
If the cats chew on the leaves, the saliva will bring out the calcium from the plant cells and the calcium needles will lead to a lot of pain.
The result will be almost instantaneous! Your cat will feel so much discomfort, that it will spit out the leaves it was chewing on.
And things could get even worse if the cat swallows the leaves because the calcium needles will get lodged in the stomach, and stick to their tongue or throat.
Symptoms of Fiddle Leaf Fig Poisoning in Cats
- Oral irritation is easy to spot. You will notice your cat pawing her face, drooling excessively, foaming at the mouth etc. Vomiting, dehydration etc., can also happen.
- Severe burning inside the tongue, lips, and mouth.
- Difficulty swallowing food or drink
- Swelling of the face, lips, and tongue
- Loss of appetite
- Severe irritation of the mouth and throat, which in turn will lead to vomiting.
- Gastrointestinal irritation
- Excessive or reduced urination
- If your pet ingests too much of the plant, you will notice his suffering (breathing issues, lethargy and weakness).
- Skin rash and irritation. You may notice blistering, rashes, redness, and your pet may scratch their skin.
Identifying Fiddle Leaf Poisoning in Cats
Diagnosing fiddle leaf poisoning in cats can be a little tricky as some symptoms like vomiting could also point to some other health issues.
If you notice that your fiddle leaf fig plant has been messed with, for instance, if you see teeth marks or leaves missing from the plant, inspect your cat at once and watch out for any symptoms of poisoning.
If your cat is pawing his mouth and scratching himself continually, or biting herself too much, then it’s time to pay the vet a visit.
Has your cat suddenly lost appetite or started to vomit or have diarrhea or nausea? This calls for a visit to the vet clinic as well.
Pull the fur apart and check the skin for blisters or rashes.
If your furry friend is urinating frequently or not at all, or you notice staggered breathing, a vet visit is in order.
Check your plant very well to know how much your pet ingested. This will help you determine how serious your pet’s condition is and what measures you need to take to ensure your cat is okay.
The severity of the symptoms depends on how much your cat ingested. Your vet will rinse the sap from your cat’s mouth. If they suspect it to be on the skin, they will rinse the skin as well. This will help combat irritation. Your cat will then be probably given an emetic to vomit any of the undigested bits of plant.
They may administer activated charcoal. This will prevent further absorption of harmful plant chemicals. In a serious case, especially with regards to the stomach, your vet may give the cat Kapectolin or Sucralfate.
- Complete blood work
- Complete Blood cell count (CBC)
- Blood smear test
- Analysis of urine
- Fecal inspection
- Fecal floatation test
Having said that, don’t worry too much if your cat has ingested fiddle leaf figs. If given proper treatment, your fur friend will most likely make a full recovery.
How to Keep Your Cats Away from Your Fiddle Leaf Fig Plants
The best thing you can do is keep your fiddle leaf fig in a spot where your cat cannot have access to it.
Here are a few other tricks and tips that should come in handy to ensure your beloved plant and favorite fur friend can coexist.
- Although challenging, you can train your cat to keep away from fiddle leaf figs. If you notice your cat meddling around with your plant, go ahead and spray your cat with water (using a spray bottle).
- You can stack up some cans or stones around your fiddle leaf fig to discourage your cat from getting to it.
- Make sure your cat gets sufficient nutrients (especially greens) so that it doesn’t seek out your fiddle leaf fig for food.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats? Conclusion
Fiddle leaf figs are beautiful house plants, but they are also toxic to cats and other pets. With the right precautions, you keep your pet safe from your plants. And if you notice any symptoms of poisoning, be a responsible pet parent and take your feline friend to the vet immediately for proper treatment.