Fiddle leaf figs are beautiful house plants, but they are toxic to cats and dogs. Because of its insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which look like little needles, ingesting the plant can cause your cat serious side effects, such as oral irritation, excessive drooling, and difficulty swallowing.
Because fiddle leaf figs are so toxic to cats, it’s best to keep this plant outside of your home. At the very least, you should place the plant somewhere that your cat has difficulty reaching.
To learn more about fiddle leaf figs and their toxicity when ingested by cats, read on. This article explains why fiddle leaf figs are toxic to cats, how you can keep your cat away from the plant, and indoor plant alternatives that are safe around your cat.
Are Fiddle Figs Toxic to Cats?
Unfortunately, fiddle leaf figs are toxic to cats. When ingested, fiddle leaf figs can cause oral irritation; intense burning inside the mouth, tongue, and lips; Excessive drooling; Vomiting; And even difficulty swallowing. Fiddle leaf figs cause the same side effects in dogs and other animals when ingested.
What Part of the Fiddle Leaf Fig Is Toxic to Cats?
The part of the fiddle leaf fig that is toxic is called insoluble calcium oxalate. These little crystals look like needles and embed themselves into a person or animal’s mouth, throat, and stomach when consumed. It is for this reason that fiddle leaf figs are toxic to cats, dogs, and even humans. These crystals are often found all over the plant, including it stems and leaves.
Fiddle leaf figs are not the only houseplant with this toxic material. In fact, many house plants have insoluble oxalates, which can be found on the plant’s leaves, stems, and even sap. Here are some other plants that are toxic for the same reason:
These are not the only house plants that have this toxic material, but they are some of the most common. You can easily find out if your houseplant has insoluble calcium oxalate crystals by checking online for your plant specifically.
How Do I Keep My Cat Away From My Fiddle Leaf Fig?
If you already have a fiddle leaf inside your home and don’t want to get rid of it, there are ways that you can keep the plant away from your cat, or your cat away from the plant, we should say!
Location Is Everything
Most importantly, put the plant in a corner that is away from other elevated surfaces, like tables and chairs. If the plant is too close to an elevated surface, the cat may try to play with the leaves or even eat it while sitting on the surface.
For example, an empty corner that is away from other items in your home may be a perfect location for the fiddle leaf fig. Not only will the fig add a lot of color and life to the barren corner, but the cat will not have easy access to the plant either.
Cat Proof the Pot
Even if you place the fiddle leaf fig in an ideal location, the cat can still jump on to the pot and potentially play in the plant. To prevent this from happening, simply cat proof the pot. You can select cats garden mats or even chicken wire. Simply place the material over the top of the pot.
This material prevents the cat from getting inside the pot or playing in the dirt. At the same time, the material has proper ventilation so that the soil gets the air and water it needs for a healthy plant.
What If My Cat Eats a Fiddle Leaf Fig?
If you know that your cat has eaten a fiddle leaf fig, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. If you don’t have a vet on hand, you can contact the ASPCA instead at (888)426-4435.
To treat a cat that has ingested fiddle leaf fig, the cat’s mouth will be flushed out using distilled water. This distilled water will help to minimize further oral irritation and prevent the cat from swallowing anymore toxins.
Furthermore, the cat will be administered an emetic. An emetic will cause your cat to vomit out any of the undigested plant from the cat’s system. Your vet may also want to administer activated charcoal to further prevent your cat from absorbing the plant’s chemicals. In a serious case, the vet may want to administer Kapectolin or Sucralfate as well.
What Indoor Plant Is Safe For Cats?
The best way to keep your cat safe is to simply select cat safe indoor plants. Whereas many indoor plants are unsafe for cats because of the insoluble calcium oxalate, there are other materials that can be toxic as well.
Here is a list of plants that are completely safe to have in a home with cats, dogs, and other animals.
Any one of these plants are safe for your cat and dog. Plus, they are beautiful and unique to put in any home.
Related Read: 32 Plants That Are Safe for Cats
As beautiful as fiddle leaf figs may be, they are toxic to cats, dogs, and any other animal because of the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can imbed into the cat’s mouth, throat, and stomach if consumed.
Because of how toxic this plant is, it’s best not to have it at all in your house and opt for cat safe plants instead. If you already have a fiddle leaf fig, you can be diligent in cat proofing the plant to help prevent your cat from eating it.
If you cat proof the fiddle leaf fig, it’s unlikely for the cats eat it since cats don’t eat plants in the first place, though not impossible. If your cat does get ahold of the fiddle leaf fig, call your vet immediately to get your furry feline the care it needs.
Featured Image Credit: Ai Ivrin, Shutterstock