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Home > Cats > Are Fiddle-Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats? Vet-Approved Facts and Safety Guide

Are Fiddle-Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats? Vet-Approved Facts and Safety Guide

Fiddle leaf fig

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Fiddle-leaf figs (Ficus lyrata) are beautiful house plants, but they are mildly toxic to cats and dogs. They contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which act 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 toxic to cats, it’s best to keep this plant away from your cat. If for whatever reason you must keep a fiddle-leaf fig at home, at the very least, you should place the plant somewhere that your cat can’t reach it.

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?

Yes. 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 even in children when chewed on or ingested.

fiddle leaf fig plant_
Image by: Sarawut Kit, Shutterstock

What Part of the Fiddle-Leaf Fig Is Toxic to Cats?

All parts of the fiddle-leaf fig are toxic, but the most dangerous part is the milky sap from the stems and leaves. It contains insoluble calcium oxalate, which causes intense irritation in the 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.

Fiddle-leaf figs are not the only houseplant with these toxic compounds. 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:

cat in the garden
Image by: Piqsels

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 speaking to the specialists at the garden center or 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 them 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 plant. Not only will the plant 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 plant 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 scat 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.

scottish fold british shorthair mixed breed cat kitten looking up
Image by: Tomasz Wisniowski, Shutterstock

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 with water. This will help to minimize further oral irritation and prevent the cat from swallowing anymore toxins.

Not all cats need to see the vet following contact with fiddle-leaf fig plans. It will depend on the amount ingested and how the cat reacts to it. Your vet will let you know if you need to bring your cat in for examination and possible treatment.

cat and vet
Image by: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

What Indoor Plants Are 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 they contain insoluble calcium oxalate, there are other toxins that can make an indoor plant unsafe.

Here is a list of plants that are completely safe to have in a home with cats, dogs, and other animals.

  • African violet (Saintpaulia species)
  • Baby tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
  • Boston fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
  • Bromeliad (Neoregalia species)
  • Calathea species
  • Friendship plant (Pilea involucrata)
  • Gloxinia (Sinningia speciosa)
  • Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans)
  • Polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya)
  • Ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
  • Rattlesnake plant, Caeroba (Calathea insignis)
  • Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
  • Staghorn fern (Platycerium Alcicorne)
  • Venus flytrap (Dionaea muscipula)
  • Watermelon peperomia (Peperomia argyreia)

white maine coon lying
Image Credit: Piqsels

Any one of these plants are safe for your cat and dog. Plus, they are beautiful and unique to put in any home.


Final Thoughts

As beautiful as fiddle-leaf figs may be, they are mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and even people because of the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals they contain. These crystals can imbed into the cat’s mouth, throat, and digestive tract if consumed.

Because of its toxicity, it’s best not to have it at all in your house and opt for cat-safe plants instead. If your cat does get a hold of the fiddle-leaf fig, call your vet immediately to get your furry feline the care they need.

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: Anan_R, Shutterstock

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