Are Pothos Toxic to Cats? Poisonous Plant Questions (Solved)

While certain types of plants and foliage may look nice in your home and on your property, some species can pose a danger to your beloved pets. 

For example, the pothos plant (Golden pothos, Devil’s ivy, Ivy taro vine, Ivy arum, and its scientific name Epipremnum aureum) is a common beginner plant. However, it can be deadly to a cat. 

In this article, we’re going to solve the question, “are pothos toxic to cats?” Then, we’ll discuss what you should do if your feline friend eats it. 

Why Pothos Plants Are Dangerous to Cats

The leaves and stems that are on the pothos plant both contain something called calcium oxalate crystals. If a cat consumes some of the plants these minerals can be dangerous. 

Once they have entered the digestive system, calcium oxalate crystals will enter the soft tissues of areas like the cat’s mouth, stomach, and throat. Which often leads to developing breathing issues.

While the pothos plant isn’t actually considered to be a poisonous plant, it can result in a lethal situation for cats. 

How to Keep Cats Away From Pothos Plants

cat with pothos plant in background

Cats are curious creatures, and they often ignore some of the warning signs that a plant like the pothos isn’t cat food. All it takes are a few nibbles for your cat to become very sick. 

This is why you must devise ways to keep your cat away from a pothos plant. The best thing you can do is remove the plant from your home or property entirely. If this isn’t an option, you can try some other methods.

Consider moving the plant up high where your cat can’t reach. This might be challenging as well since cats tend to jump and climb to high spaces. However, there might be a space that you know your cat can’t reach. 

There are also cat repellent sprays that you can safely use on a pothos plant. The smell of the spray will motivate your cat to stay away, so they aren’t tempted to taste the plant. 

How Poisonous is Pothos to Cats?

The surface of the pothos plant isn’t poisonous to cats, so walking past it, smelling it, or rubbing up against it isn’t going to make much of a difference for your cat. 

However, a dangerous reaction will occur once your cat has eaten parts of the plant. This is a poisonous plant to them; a reaction doesn’t take longer than a few minutes to occur. That is why it’s important to take your cat to a veterinarian right away.

If left untreated, pothos poisoning could result in death in just a few days, if not less. Unfortunately, it may take your veterinarian a number of days to get your cat back on track and out of harm’s way. 

How Much Pothos Has to Be Consumed to Create Toxicity in Cats?

If your cat hasn’t chewed on the stems or leaves of the pothos plant, they may very well be ok. However, if they’ve started to transfer over to those more poisonous areas, this is when toxicity will occur. 

The initial reaction will happen almost immediately and include things like:

  • Oral irritation: Causes the cat to develop a burning mouth, so it may salivate at an increased rate. 
  • They may not be acting normally.
  • Could gag or throw up or even experience tongue swelling. 

As the poisonous compounds (insoluble calcium oxalate crystals) in the pothos plant make their way through your cat’s system, this can cause trouble swallowing, persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal pain.

How Fast Do Cats React to the Pothos?

As mentioned above, the initial reaction after your cat has consumed part of a pothos plant includes excessive salivation, mouth irritation, vomiting, lethargy, and a decreased appetite.

 If you notice your cat acting strange, it’s best to seek medical treatment immediately. Looks for signs of golden pothos plant toxic side effects such as:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Excessive drooling (it’s a toxic substance that causes intense burning in the cat’s mouth)
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite

A matter of minutes could mean saving your cat’s life. Usually, this reaction will occur just minutes after ingesting parts of the Golden pothos. 

What Should You Do If You Cat Ate a Pothos Plant?

If you’ve confirmed that your cat has indeed consumed the stems or leaves of a pothos plant, take them to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. 

You could offer them some water or attempt to console them, but they’ll likely be agitated. Keep them as comfortable as you can until they receive medical treatment. 

Treatment for a Cat That Consumed Pothos

The severity of their symptoms will determine your cat’s treatment after consuming part of a Golden pothos plant. 

The most typical form of treatment is IV fluid therapy. IV fluids flush the remaining crystals from their body so that further kidney damage doesn’t occur. 

The cat’s stomach can also be cleaned out using gastric lavage, the medical word for a stomach wash. 

The vet could give your cat dairy products like yogurt or cheese. These foods are well recognized for easing the discomfort from calcium oxalate crystals in toxic plants.

Your cat can also receive Benadryl to prevent swelling. Without this treatment, the cat’s symptoms might become more severe, and its airway could enlarge.

If this occurs, the vet may provide breathing support if they are experiencing respiratory distress.

References + Resources

ASPCA –  Golden pothos poisoning – Link

Houseplants That Are Safe for Cats

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.