Are Arrowhead Plants Toxic to Cats? (My Experience)
Yes, arrowhead plants are toxic to cats. All parts of the arrowhead plant contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause severe irritation if ingested by cats.
Symptoms of poisoning include drooling, pawing at the mouth, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. In some cases, the irritant crystals can cause damage to a cat’s esophagus or mouth.
Here in this blog post, I’ll explain the dangers of arrowhead plants, the signs and symptoms of toxicity, and what you should do if you suspect your cat has come into contact with an arrowhead plant. I’ll also touch on my experience with my own cats and the steps I took to keep them safe.
Don’t let this plant put your cat at risk—read on to learn more!
Why Arrowhead Plants Poisonous to Cats?
Arrowhead plants are common houseplants that are recognized for their distinctive, triangular leaves. These plants are also known as syngonium and nephthytis, and they belong to the family Araceae.
Arrowhead plants are native to tropical regions of the Americas, and they are popular houseplants because they are easy to care for and tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions.
Despite their popularity, arrowhead plants are poisonous to cats. Here are all the details.
a. Contain a Substance Called Calcium Oxalate
I know what you’re thinking—what makes arrowhead plants so dangerous to cats? The culprit is a toxic substance called calcium oxalate.
Calcium oxalate is found in all parts of the plant (like Alocasia plant), including the leaves, stems, and roots. If eaten in large enough quantities, this toxin can cause irritation and burning when it comes into contact with a cat’s mouth or digestive system.
b. Irritating Crystals
The calcium oxalate crystals found in arrowhead plants can cause serious injury if ingested by cats. The irritant crystals can damage a cat’s esophagus or mouth, leading to drooling, pawing at the mouth, difficulty breathing, and vomiting.
If left untreated, these symptoms can become serious—in rare cases, calcium oxalate poisoning can even cause death. For this reason, it is important to be aware of the dangers that arrowhead plants pose to cats and take steps to prevent them from coming into contact with the plant.
Interesting Read: Are Avocado Plants Toxic To Cats?
Signs and Symptoms of Arrowhead Plant Toxicity
In the introductory section of my article, I briefly mentioned the signs and symptoms associated with arrowhead plant toxicity. In this section, we will explore each one in more depth.
One of the most common signs of arrowhead plant toxicity is drooling. Cats who have ingested the irritant crystals may start to salivate more than usual as their body tries to rid itself of the toxins.
b. Pawing at Mouth
Cats may also paw at their mouths or rub their faces after coming into contact with the plant. This is an instinctive response meant to help alleviate the pain and discomfort caused by the irritant crystals.
Vomiting is another common symptom of calcium oxalate poisoning in cats. If your cat has eaten any part of the arrowhead plant, be sure to watch for vomiting and contact your veterinarian right away.
d. Difficulty Breathing
Finally, difficulty breathing is a serious sign of arrowhead plant toxicity. If you notice that your cat is having trouble breathing, take them to the vet immediately as this could indicate internal damage caused by the irritant crystals.
What to Do If Your Cat Has Eaten Arrowhead Leaves?
I’m hoping you’re not the guy who’s dealing with a cat that has eaten arrowhead leaves —but if you are, here’s what to do.
1. Contact Your Veterinarian
The first step is to contact your veterinarian. They will be able to provide advice and treatment options for cats with arrowhead plant toxicity.
2. Induce Vomiting
If the plant has only recently been ingested, your veterinarian may suggest inducing vomiting in order to rid the cat’s body of the toxins.
3. Administer Treatment
Depending on the severity of your cat’s symptoms, your veterinarian may suggest administering fluids or other treatments in order to flush the irritant crystals out of their system.
4. Monitor Your Cat’s Progress
Finally, it is important to monitor your cat for any further signs of toxicity, as well as any signs of improvement. If you notice that your cat is not improving, contact your veterinarian right away.
You can also read: Are African Violets Poisonous to Cats?
Treatment of Arrowhead Plant Toxicity on Cats
Treatment for arrowhead plant toxicity depends on the severity of the symptoms and how quickly treatment is sought.
1. Fluid Therapy
In mild cases of poisoning, a veterinarian may suggest giving your cat fluids in order to flush the irritant crystals out of their system. This can help reduce the swelling and inflammation associated with the toxin.
In more severe cases, your veterinarian may suggest giving your cat antihistamines in order to reduce any allergic reactions caused by the irritant crystals.
I know it sounds scary, but in some cases surgery may be necessary to remove any crystals that have become lodged in the esophagus or other areas of your cat’s body.
4. Pain Management
Finally, pain management is important for cats suffering from arrowhead plant toxicity as it can help alleviate some of their discomfort while they recover from the poisoning.
Your veterinarian will likely suggest a combination of medication and home remedies to help manage your cat’s pain levels.
Preventing Arrowhead Plant Toxicity on Cats
There are several ways to prevent your cat from coming into contact with arrowhead plants. Here I’ll discuss a few of the most effective methods.
1. Remove Plant from Home
One of the best ways to prevent arrowhead plant toxicity is to remove the plants from your home. If you have any of these plants in your garden, make sure to cover them up or get rid of them entirely.
But if you don’t want to get rid of your plants, that’s okay! Just make sure they’re out of reach from cats. Even though they can be curious creatures, cats may still try to climb them or chew on them if given the chance.
2. Monitor Outdoor Areas
You should also be sure to monitor outdoor areas where arrowhead plants may grow wild, as cats may come into contact with it while exploring outside.
Here are some tips to help you keep an eye on your outdoor area:
- Keep an eye out for any green or purple stems that could indicate arrowhead plants
- If you notice any growing near your home, be sure to cover them up or move them away from areas where cats can access them
- If you are gardening, be sure to check the labels of any plants you purchase to make sure they do not contain arrowhead plants
3. Educate Yourself and Your Cat
Finally, it is important to educate yourself on the dangers of arrowhead plants, as well as teaching your cat to avoid them.
If you’re dealing with a curious kitty, make sure to keep an eye on them and prevent them from getting too close to any plant that may be harmful.
My Experience on My Cats and Arrowhead Plants
My cat Gremlin has been exposed to arrowhead plants on multiple occasions. She has never eaten them or tried to chew on them, but she has gone sniffing around them.
When this happens, I immediately remove her from the area and inspect her so that I can make sure there are no crystals on her fur or skin.
If I do find any, I make sure to immediately flush them out with water and then keep an eye on her for any signs of irritation. Thankfully, I have never had to take her to the vet for arrowhead plant toxicity.
My Final Thoughts
Arrowhead plants (Syngonium podophyllum) can be toxic to cats if eaten in large enough quantities. The culprit is a substance called calcium oxalate, which can cause irritation and inflammation to the mouth, throat and digestive tract.
If you suspect that your cat has come into contact with this plant, it is important to contact your veterinarian right away. They will be able to diagnose the symptoms and provide treatment accordingly.
It is also important to remember to remove any arrowhead plants from your home, as well as monitor outdoor areas where they may grow wild.