Are Pothos plants toxic to cats?

Are Pothos plants toxic to cats?
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Pothos, Plants, Cats-What you need to know!

Pothos plant, also famous by the names of golden pothos, devil’s ivy taro vine and ivy arum, are quite toxic to cats. The leaves and stems of pothos contain calcium oxalate crystals. Such minerals are dangerous for cats if they take a bite of the plant. These crystals penetrate the soft tissues in the mouth, throat, and the stomachs of the cats. Pothos plants and cats are, thus, a poisonous combination.

The danger of Pothos plants compels the pet owners to be extra cautious with cats when they are around different kinds of plants. Even though cats recover in a short time after getting proper treatment, the effect of the virus is quite detrimental to their health. Just after chewing the plant, the cats start showing symptoms of the contagion caused by the plant. Oral irritation is one of the most prominent ones. The flowerless plant causes irritation to humans after excessive contact, thus, reflecting upon its toxicity.

Are Pothos toxic to cats?

These plants cause instant discomfort to the cats. Once the cats consume the venomous plants, it causes a burning sensation in their mouths. In order to relieve themselves of this sensation, cats tend to drool, vomit or paw at their mouths. Whilst there is immense irritation, the infection also involves excruciating pain. Thus, the foremost step to be taken after cats chew the plant is taking them to a veterinarian.


The symptoms of intoxication by the plant are exhibited by the cat immediately after they consume the plant. If you are suspicious that your cat has chewed the plant but are looking for reassurance, you should look for the following symptoms.

● Visible pain in the oral cavity

● Pawing at the mouth

● Extreme drooling

● Less or no appetite

● Vomiting

● Discomfort while swallowing


When cats bite, chew, or consume the golden pothos plant, the poisoning process begins. This happens due to the presence of insoluble raphides in the plant. The calcium oxalate crystals cause Pothos plant cats infection. All the crystals are discharged into the mouths of the cats when they bite either their leaves or stems.

As the crystals pass along their mouth, throat, and stomach, they penetrate into soft tissues. This, further on, causes swelling of the tissues. Besides causing discomfort, this internal inflammation causes immense pain to the cats. This instigates them to show apparent symptoms. Cats also begin to experience a burning sensation in their bodies, owing to the toxin in the plant.


If you have noticed your cat chewing the plant or have been observing the aforementioned symptoms in the cat, you should rush the pet to a vet. Collecting a sample of the plant or taking a picture of the plant the cat has chewed is really significant in the diagnosis process.

The symptoms of the cat should be precisely described to the vet as this guides the vet in determining the Pothos plant cat condition. Since there is no method available with the vet to decide the cause, the information you provide plays a major role.

The examination commenced with the cat’s oral cavity. If the vet detects the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in the cat’s mouth, the reason will be easily deduced. It will vividly indicate the consumption of a poisonous plant. Still, this identification does not confirm the consumption of pothos plants as there are other plants containing the same toxins.

My cat ate a pothos leaf-what to do?

If your cat has consumed even a bite of pothos plant and you have been noticing the related symptoms, you should visit the vet as soon as possible. After diagnosing the condition of the cat properly, the vet will begin with the treatment. Firstly they will try to take control of the Pothos plant cat symptoms by making the cat comfortable. This would involve making efforts to diminish the pain experienced by the cat.

Discomfort is terminated by thoroughly washing the mouth of the cat, followed by gastric lavage, implying stomach wash. The vet might as well feed the cat some dairy products such as cheese and yogurt which are known to relieve the pain effectively. In order to prevent the airway of the cat from swelling, leading to greater complications, Benadryl can be provided to the cat.

Simultaneously, vomiting can be halted through the administration of Kapectolin or Sucralfate which are known for tackling the irritation in the stomach lining. In the case of excessive vomiting, the chances of dehydration increase. This is handled by giving IV fluids to the cat.

After due treatment and rest, the cat is bound to feel better. The recovery process is not intricate, although the diet of the cat will need attention for the next few days. Also, preventive measures should be taken involving the removal of all the poisonous plants after consultation from the vet. Care should be taken that cats do not roam around in the neighborhood where there is a potential presence of toxic plants.

This article is a guest contribution from Gary Stephen, author of


  1. I think my cat may have taken a bite of a pothos leaf, as I see teeth marks and a small piece missing however she shows no signs of discomfort. Should I still worry?

  2. I just want to point out that “poisonous” and “venomous” are not interchangeable terms. Poisonous refers to poison that’s been eaten, venomous is when something bites you and injects venom. I really hope my new pothos plants isn’t going to bite my cat, but otherwise very helpful information here. Thanks!

    • Very good point, Abby! Thank you for the correction.

  3. Can you provide a link to one or more peer-reviewed references on the effect of calcium oxalate crystals on internal tissue – particularly in mammals?

  4. My cat nibbled on a pothos plant; and when I called the SPCA emergency poison control (which cost $75 USD) she told me to give the cats milk right away and if they don’t want To drink it give it to them in a syringe, it helps flush out the calcium crystal (the toxin in the plants) in theirs mouths and their throat, pothos is not a plant that shuts down their kidneys thank god. Your main concern is their breathing and mouth getting extremely swollen and sore. SPCA poison control is very helpful and if ur worried about ur cat I would recommend calling them before taking them to the vet! (Unless serious symptoms occur obviously)

    • Thank you! My cat had nibbled on this plant before and was fine. But today she was licking her lips nonstop and it occurred to me it might be because of the plant. I gave her some milk and she’s fine now. Plant is now up high.

  5. I saw my cat lightly licking the leaves of this plant. As soon as I looked up the toxicity of the plant, I moved the plant up high but no idea how long she has been doing this. No bite marks on the plant. SHe seems fine, but has been more finicky with her food lately. Should I be worried?

    • I wouldn’t worry about it!

  6. i just got a new kitten today and i noticed some nibbles taken off of a pothos. The cat does not have any symptoms and it has probably been 30 mins or up to 3 hours since he could have eaten any. What should i do?

  7. hi guys, my bengal kitten (9 weeks old) played and teared the leaves but didn’t swallow this plant. do I have to send him to the vet?


  8. Hi there. My 6 month old kitten has been having diarrhea and I think it may be due to him munching on my golden pothos but the diarrhea seems to be the only symptom he has. He is playing, drinking water, and eating small amounts of food. Should I take him to the vet?

  9. Hello, I enjoy reading through your article post. I like to write
    a little comment to support you. Thanks for sharing great info with about cats
    The signs of poisoning in cats


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