Cats and certain plants don't mix. If you are getting a new cat or kitten, take the time to go through your house and make sure all of the houseplants you have are safe for your cat. For example, the anthurium plant is toxic to cats and dogs. You might not know the name anthurium, as the plant is colloquially known as the flamingo flower or lily, the painter's palette, the lace leaf, the pigtail plant, the oilcloth flower, and the tail flower.
Video of the Day
Identifying anthurium plants
Anthurium plants bring a tropical touch to your home, but they will need to go to keep your cat safe. If you have had a plant for a long time, you may not remember what species it is. You can identify anthurium by examining its characteristics.
The flamingo lily is an upright plant with multiple stems. It can grow up to three feet tall. It has dark green, smooth, heart-shaped leaves that have a leathery feel. It has a spadix, or spike, of small green, yellow, or white flowers. The spike of flowers is surrounded by a large red spathe, or a leaf-like structure. If you have this plant in your home, give it to someone who doesn't have cats or dogs.
Flamingo flower toxicity
All parts of the flamingo lily are toxic to cats. This includes the stem, flowers, seeds, leaves, and roots. Calcium oxalate crystals in the plant cause the reaction. If your cat ingests or chews on the plant, flaming flower toxicity will cause pain in the mouth and swelling of the lips and tongue. You may notice symptoms such as pawing at his face, drooling, meowing in pain, or throwing up.
In severe cases, he could develop breathing issues because his throat has swollen shut. This is rare but can be life-threatening.
Is anthurium safe for dogs? No, the flamingo flower is toxic to humans and other pets, including dogs and horses. It can also cause contact dermatitis from touching the plant.
Care for a poisoned cat
If you suspect your cat has eaten any part of this plant, get help right away. Remove him from the plant and take him to a safe location. Don't wait to see if symptoms worsen. If your cat ingested a large amount of the plant, the sooner your vet can induce vomiting and administer other treatment, the better. Call the Pet Poison Helpline or take him to the vet immediately.
Do not feed your cat or try any home remedies to induce vomiting unless instructed to do so by a veterinarian. This includes any food, milk, or oil. Take a sample of the plant with you to the vet so that they can confirm the identity of the plant and that it is the source of the problem.
Create a safe environment
Cats are known for their ability to jump onto shelves and other high places they want to explore. While you may be able to move a toxic plant out of reach of a dog, this is much more challenging when you have a cat. The best option is to simply remove all poisonous plants from your home to be safe.
It is also always a good idea to have a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand for your pet. Pet Poison Helpline has recommendations for what to include in your kit. Also, make sure you have phone numbers and directions to your veterinarian and a local emergency vet clinic just in case.