My Cat Ate a Poinsettia Leaf, Now What?

4 min read
Nov 13, 2023

Did your cat eat a poinsettia leaf? The good news is that despite what you may have heard, poinsettias are not poisonous to cats. But they are a mildly toxic irritant. They may cause a mild allergic reaction on your cat’s skin or an upset stomach, but nothing too serious.1

Still, there are a few things you can do to help soothe your cat as they ride out the discomfort. We’ll walk through how to help your cat, symptoms to watch for, what makes poinsettias irritating, and a few other toxic holiday plants worth a watch-out.

What To Do if Your Cat Ate a Poinsettia Leaf

While poinsettias aren’t poisonous to cats, it’s still good to call your vet if your cat consumed any of the plant. Describe your cat’s symptoms and how much they ate. They’ll likely tell you to monitor your cat for a day or two, but not to worry too much.

There’s no specific antidote, but there are a few things you can do at home to help your cat feel better:2

  • Encourage your cat to stay hydrated.
  • If your cat got poinsettia sap on their skin, gently wash it with soap and water.
  • If your cat is vomiting, don’t feed them for a few hours.
  • Then, introduce your cat to a bland diet for a few days.
  • Monitor your cat’s symptoms and call your vet if they get worse.

If your cat has an extreme reaction, difficulty breathing, or isn’t getting better after a few days, you may want to bring them to an emergency vet. They can run diagnostic tests and administer fluids to nurse your cat back to health.

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Symptoms of Poinsettia Toxicity in Cats

Even though poinsettia isn’t poisonous, it can cause some unpleasant symptoms in cats. Here are some signs that your cat ingested poinsettia:2

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Licking lips or face
  • Redness or rash on skin
  • Red or swollen eyes

Are Poinsettias Dangerous to Cats?

Whether you’re a cat or dog owner, you should understand that poinsettias are dangerous, but not poisonous. Poinsettias are irritating to dogs as well as cats. But what is it about poinsettias that bothers pets?

Poinsettia sap is a milky white substance that contains two compounds, both of which are irritants to cats and dogs alike. These compounds are diterpenoid euphorbol esters and saponin-like detergents. While not fatally poisonous, these two substances can cause discomfort. If they get on your cat’s skin, they can cause rashes. Whereas, when ingested, they can cause gastrointestinal problems.1

What Holiday Plants Are Poisonous to Cats?

Poinsettias aren’t the only festive plants that can make your cat sick. Many popular decorative plants can complicate your holiday plans if your cat ingests the leaves or berries. No one wants to see their beloved kitty in pain, especially not over the holidays. Here are some other plants to keep away from your cat:

  • Mistletoe berries: These may cause gastrointestinal upset, seizures, abnormal heart rate, seizures, and death.3
  • Lilies: These are highly toxic to cats and can cause acute kidney failure and death.4
  • Amaryllis: These can cause a drop in blood pressure and respiratory depression.5
  • Holly: These festive plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea.6

Keep Your Kitty Safe Over the Holidays

Your holiday poinsettia and cats don’t mix. Keep poinsettias and other toxic Christmas plants out of reach. Or even better, opt for cat-safe plants! You can still decorate for the holidays without putting your pets at risk.

However, holiday emergencies do happen. So consider giving the gift of cat insurance this holiday season. If your kitty needs a vet visit for any reason, cat insurance may be worth it, since it can help reimburse vet bills for big and small incidents. Get a free quote for a MetLife Pet Insurance policy today!

When in Doubt, Get Your Cat Checked Out

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**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “Poinsettia,” Pet Poison Helpline

2 “Are Poinsettias Poisonous to Cats?” PetCareRX

3 “Mistletoe,” Pet Poison Helpline

4 “Easter Lily,” Pet Poison Helpline

5 “Amaryllis,” Pet Poison Helpline

6 “Holly,” Pet Poison Helpline

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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