Quick Tip: Don’t Shy Away from Poinsettias If You’re a Cat Owner


This image is a white poinsettia indoors. It is in this article on toxicity of indoor poinsettias for cats.

By Jennifer Poindexter

If you’re a cat-owner, you may have sworn off poinsettias as soon as you heard that they’re toxic to pets. I understand because I did this as well.

You can imagine my surprise when I learned that poinsettias aren’t nearly as toxic as some people claim. I gathered this information from an article by Purdue University.  

If you’re still concerned about having poinsettias around your cats, let’s discuss a little further, provide a few cat-friendly poinsettia alternatives, and a few ideas on keeping cats away from poinsettias.

Quick Tip: Don’t Shy Away from Poinsettias If You’re a Cat Owner

First things first, per the source cited above, poinsettias aren’t as toxic to cats as once thought. Instead, it’s now understood that these plants produce a sap which is more irritating to the mouth than anything.

This should be enough to deter your cat from munching on the leaves. However, if you’re still concerned about your cat eating your poinsettias, then consider the following options as a cat-safe replacement:

·       Christmas cactus

·       Roses

·       Prayer plant

·       Polka dot plant

·       African violet

If you enjoy poinsettias and would like to keep both the plant and your cat, then it might be time to come up with a few ways to keep your cat away.

Consider wrapping your poinsettia with cellophane wrap. This should keep the leaves closer together and form a cone-like shape around the plant. This makes it difficult for the cat to reach the plant but allows for your enjoyment of the beautiful colors.

Another option is placing your poinsettia out of reach of your cat. This can prove difficult as cats are known for making it into higher spaces.

However, if you place your poinsettia in a higher location and surround it with other items, then it may prove difficult for your cat to find a way to maneuver in such an area.

Another option is to place aluminum foil beneath your poinsettia but allow it to extend to where the cat must walk on it to access the plant.

Some people do this to keep their cats off the furniture and discourage their cats from scratching their furniture as well. It may also serve as a deterrent to your poinsettia.

Lastly, don’t place your poinsettia in a place where your cat lounges. For instance, in my house, I can’t keep my cats off the kitchen table.

They lounge on it and look out the window. Cleaning the table every time we sit down to eat has become a routine because we’ve thrown in the towel of keeping the cats off it.

With this in mind, I’ll never place a poinsettia on my kitchen table. It’s in a direct location I know my cats enjoy, so it should be expected that they’ll rub against and nibble on the plant.

Take these tips into consideration to keep your poinsettias and cats healthy. As stated above, poinsettias are no longer thought to be as toxic as they once were.

However, you may still wish to discourage your cats from chewing on them. Utilize these tips to help your cats and plants coexist.

More About Poinsettias and Cats

https://extension.unh.edu/blog/2018/12/which-holiday-plants-are-safe-my-cats-dogs

https://ag.purdue.edu/department/btny/ppdl/potw-dept-folder/2021/poinsettia-poisonous-pets.html

The post Quick Tip: Don’t Shy Away from Poinsettias If You’re a Cat Owner appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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