Many plant enthusiasts like myself, who own cats (I’m also a cat mom), understand the unspoken rule that comes with keeping a variety of plant species.
Firstly, your cat’s jungle instincts are going to be revealed. And secondly, not all plants are safe for your cat – they may be toxic.
Therefore, it’s not only a problem for your plant collection, but it may also be dangerous for your kitty. So while it may be tempting to purchase new kinds of weird and wonderful plants, as a cat owner, you’re responsible for ensuring that they’re safe for your feline.
Fiddle Leaf Fig Safe for Cats? unfortunately the fiddle leaf fig, is poisonous to cats. It may be beautiful, but if ingested, the plant is toxic.
Are Fiddles Leaf Figs Toxic?
The fiddle leaf fig (FLF) is toxic to both dogs and cats. Although you’ll find more often than not, it’s the cats you need to look out for – given their environments are primarily indoors.
But what you may not realise, is that many of our favourite house plants are poisonous to animals. However, they are not poisonous to touch, only when the plant is consumed.
Plants you may not have realised are toxic:
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats?
I’m sorry I have to be the ones to break it to you, but if your cat ingests the FLF, they’ll suffer some painful symptoms. So if you’re looking to add a little bit of greenery to your life, be sure to keep your cats personality in mind.
Cats are like a box of chocolates; you never quite know what you’re going to get. Which is all part of the fun! If you’ve been a cat owner for as long as you can remember, you’ll notice how some cats love lounging around, while others choose to turn your house into their own personal playground – picking plants as their favourite play toy.
This is why it can be a concern bringing one of these Instagramable plants into your home. The big leaves appeal to cats who love wacking around the leaves of your plants. I know my cat does.
While this is totally ok – in terms of toxic content – it’s the ingestion that is a problem.
Cats may not sit around eating leaves; however, they do tend to chew on the leaves when they’re in the destructive mood.
Top Tip: Artificial fiddle leaf plants are safe for cats and are just as beautiful!
Why Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats?
These impressively large and beautiful leaves contain minuscule crystals that are made from toxic calcium oxalate.
The calcium oxalate is stored within the plant leaf cells, where they form bundles of sharp needle-like crystals. This is why the plant is not poisonous from the outside.
A cat can be poisoned from all parts of the FLF, including the leaves, roots and stem. It happens when the cat chews on the plant.
Their saliva allows the calcium to leave the plant cells – the cells then shoot out the calcium needles, which is why it’s so painful.
This results in your cat immediately feeling discomfort. Their initial reaction is to spit the plant matter out, which is exactly what you would want to happen. If not, they swallow the matter, and it becomes lodged in their stomachs, embedded on their tongue or in their throat.
Not good at all!
What Are The Symptoms of Fiddle Leaf Fig Poisoning?
The first symptom indicating fiddle leaf positioning in cats is the profuse drooling and pawing at their mouths.
You’ll notice these symptoms as soon as the plant is chewed, as the needles have already been released. Your feline’s tongue, lips and mouth will most likely start to swell.
Depending on how much has been ingested, your cat may start foaming at the mouth and have staggered breathing patterns.
Their mouth and throat will be severely irritated, as well as their stomach. As a result, their bodies will attempt to vomit out the plant.
However, cats, more often than not, will spit out the plant as soon as the effects are felt. This means that the cat will only suffer from mild forms of toxicity.
Diagnosing Fiddle Leaf Fig Toxic Poisoning
Diagnosing a cat with FLF poisoning may be tricky if you’re not well-informed about the effects that this plant causes. There is no specific test designed to pick up on the reaction, which may also lead your vet to have difficulties in understanding your cat’s reactions.
The effects that the plant produces are similar to many other health conditions. The vomiting could indicate IBD (inflammatory bowel disease), kidney disease or dietary intolerances. Yellow and white foam could also indicate hairballs.
What Do I Do If My Cat Ate Parts of a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
If you’ve picked up on the symptoms, and suspect your cat has ingested parts of your FLF, the best thing you can do is try to remove the matter.
This will involve gently putting your hands in their mouth and trying to remove as much of the plant as possible.
The next thing you should do is get your feline friend to the vet. No matter if you think they’ve spat enough of the plant out, you would rather want to be safe than sorry.
Given that mouth irritation is the most predominant symptom, the vet will flush out the mouth with water. Your vet will most likely prescribe a medication that induces vomiting, in order to expel most of the plant.
Your cat can be treated with a dose of activated charcoal, which will need to be administered by your vet. The activated charcoal plays a role in stopping the absorption of the toxins by provoking vomiting.
Remember: Once your trip to the vet is over, the first thing you should do upon returning home is remove the FLF. Or to find a better living space for the plant.
Can I Still Keep a Fiddle Leaf Fig in My House If I Have a Cat?
Maybe you’ve decided to buy a cat, but you’ve had your FLF fig for years, and the thought of getting rid of it breaks your heart. Or quite possibly, you’ve just fallen in love with the aesthetic of the plant, even though you have a cat. I’m in this latter group.
While the FLF is toxic to cats, it doesn’t mean that the two can’t cohabitate in peace. There are plenty of cat owners who have these indoor plants and experience no problem.
If your cat is more on the adventurous side of life, there are a number of tips and tricks to keep them away from the plant’s bold leaves.
The most obvious thing to do is to keep your plant in an area that your cat can’t reach. This could be a high windowsill for smaller plants or elevated on a high-standing plant stand.
A bit more of an assertive take would be to keep a spray bottle on hand. This will require you to spray your cat with water when they start roughing it up with the plants. And we all know cats aren’t the biggest fans of water.
One thing about this approach is that you’ll have to be on guard, which may get tiresome.
If those approaches don’t work, you can always line the soil of your pot plant with tin foil. Cats particularly don’t enjoy walking on the aluminium, and it’ll hopefully keep their little paws away from the plant.
To Sum Up: Are Ficus Trees Poisonous to Cats?
The fiddle leaf fig is toxic to cats; however, with the right precautions and care, it doesn’t mean that the two can’t co-exist.
But for many cat owners, it’s understandably a concern to have an FLF in their house. Luckily, there are many cat safe plants that are beautiful alternatives.
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