Have you recently added a lovely fiddle fig to your home décor, but your curious cats can’t get away from it?
You may be asking yourself, ‘Are fiddle leaf figs toxic to cats?” After all, you don’t want to put your furry friends at risk of getting intoxicated.
You want your pet and your precious plant to coexist peacefully without one getting hurt.
If you’re in this state, let’s find out whether fiddle figs are toxic to cats, and what makes them potentially poisonous. We’ll also explore what to do if you see symptoms of poisoning in your cat.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats?
Yes, fiddle leaf figs are toxic to cats. While the plant itself (Ficus lyrata) isn’t fatal, its leaves and sap contain a toxin called oxalate crystals which can be harmful when ingested by cats. Ingestion of these crystals can cause symptoms ranging from mild skin irritation to severe oral and gastrointestinal issues such as vomiting, drooling, and difficulty swallowing.
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Toxic to Cats, Dogs, and other Pets?
Yes, fiddle leaf figs are toxic to cats. If your cat chews and swallows any part of the fiddle leaf fig, it may develop symptoms of poisoning.
For instance, the cat may experience irritation and burn in the mouth and the throat. It may also start vomiting and diarrheaing. Additionally, its skin may start irritating and blistering.
These reactions occur due to the ingestion of the fiddle fig sap. Fiddle sap is a gel-like substance that’s found on the fiddle leaf.
Note that, not all cats will react the same way when exposed to fiddle leaf figs. Some may be more sensitive and develop harsher symptoms than others.
What Part of the Fiddle Leaf Fig is Toxic to Cats?
All parts of the fiddle leaf fig are potentially toxic to cats. Whether your cat eats the plant’s stems, leaves, or roots, they’re likely to get poisoned.
This is because every part of the plant contains a toxic substance known as sap. Fiddle fig sap has Calcium oxalate crystals, which irritate the cat’s skin, mouth, and stomach.
The crystals can also affect other parts of its digestive system. However, some cats have sensitive skin and don’t need to ingest the sap to get poisoned.
Just brushing up against a fiddle leaf fig can cause skin irritation. If you suspect that your cat has been affected by the fiddle leaf, watch out for signs like excessive drooling or pawing at their cat’s mouth or face.
Once you introduce a fiddle fig plant into your house, always keep a close eye on the cat. If you notice any of the mentioned symptoms, it may be wise to take it to the vet.
How Toxic Is Fiddle Leaf Fig for Cats?
Fiddle leaf fig, also known as ficus lyrata, is only mildly toxic to cats. It belongs to plant toxicity class 4. This means it does not pose serious health issues when the cat ingests or gets exposed to it.
However, if the cat ingests fiddle sap, the extent of the poisoning will depend on the amount ingested. Its overall health condition will also determine how much it gets affected.
If the cat ingests just a small amount of sap, it’s likely to show mild symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and oral irritation. These symptoms should get better with time.
However, if it ingests a large amount (e.g., a whole fiddle leaf), it could lead to severe reactions. The cat may experience respiratory failure or skin rashes that are out of control.
Generally speaking, fiddle figs are only mild toxins. Most cats will not suffer from serious medical issues if they ingest it.
How To Determine Plant Toxicity
Like fiddle leaf figs, there are several other house plants that can be toxic to pets. How is plant toxicity determined?
Toxic plants fall into four major groups:
Toxicity Class 1
Plants in this category are fatally toxic. They can cause serious illness or death if ingested. When people or pets ingest these plants, they can experience organ damage or go into a coma.
Plants in this category include mistletoe, belladonna, and hemlock.
Toxicity Class 2
Plants in this category exhibit minor toxicity. When ingested, they cause minor irritation and may lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
Some plants in this category include juniper, columbine, and alder.
Toxicity Class 3
These plants contain high amounts of Calcium oxalate crystals. They can cause skin irritation when you come into contact with them. If ingested, they can damage internal organs of the body.
Plants in Toxicity class 3 include Monstera, Alocasia, and Calla lily. Even though fiddle leaf figs contain oxalates, their concentration is not as high as most plants in this category.
Toxicity Class 4
These plants contain small quantities of Calcium oxalate crystals. When ingested, they only cause mild irritation on the lips, tongue, and mouth.
Fiddle leaf figs (ficus lyrata) fall into this category, together with walnut, ash, and plumeria.
What Are the Symptoms of Fiddle Leaf Fig Poisoning In Cats?
To know if your cat has fiddle leaf fig poisoning, look out for the following symptoms:
- Excessive drooling: The cat will drool as it tries to get rid of fiddle sap from its mouth.
- Oral soreness: The milky sap is irritative and may cause the cat’s mouth to get sore.
- Vomiting: The cat may vomit as it tries to remove the sap from its body.
- Diarrhea: Poisoned cats may have diarrhea due to digestive failure.
- Skin rashes and blisters: Fiddle sap causes irritation when it comes into contact with the cat’s skin.
- Excessive scratching due to skin itching and irritation.
- Swelling of lips and gums
- Foaming at the cat’s mouth
Aside from these symptoms, you’ll also notice the cat constantly rubbing its face and licking its paws. This is because of the irritation from fiddle sap.
If you notice any of the cat’s symptoms, consult your veterinarian immediately before taking any action. The vet will determine whether the damage is only external or it has advanced into inner organs.
What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Fiddle Leaf Fig
If your cat eats a fiddle leaf fig, watch out for symptoms to see if the poisoning is severe.
If it is consumed only a small amount, the reaction is likely to be mild, and you won’t need to contact the vet. You can help flush the sap from the cat’s system by giving it some water, milk, or broth to drink.
This will also help relieve the oral irritation caused by sharp Calcium oxalate crystals. However, if it’s a major fiddle leaf fig ingestion, you’ll need to contact your vet.
The vet is likely to give the cat some activated charcoal to remove toxins from its digestive system. This will help relieve indigestion symptoms like diarrhea.
They may also prescribe some medication for your pet to relieve vomiting and irritation. Ensure you give your cat the medication as prescribed for it to recover as soon as possible.
Are Dogs Attracted To Fiddle Leaf Figs?
Just like cats, some dogs are attracted to fiddle leaf figs. Some dog owners report that their dogs love and hang around the plant a lot.
Other dog owners have noticed that their dogs aren’t as attracted to the fiddle fig. It’s not clear what causes the discrepancy.
One notable thing about dogs is that they are highly sensitive to poison. They could, therefore, avoid the fiddle leaf fig since its leaves resemble those of a poisonous plant like poison ivy.
Either way, it’s good to always watch out in case your dog consumes some fiddle fig. If so, it may start showing signs of poisoning.
Is the Fiddle Leaf Fig Toxic To Dogs?
Yes. Fiddle leaf figs are also toxic to dogs. As mentioned, the plant releases the irritating white sap when cut or wounded.
Sap can come from any part of the plant, including the leaves, stem, branches, and trunk. It causes irritation to pets due to its Calcium oxalate crystals. If your dog bites and ingests any part of the fiddle leaf fig, the sap will get into its mouth and digestive system.
However, fiddle fig sap is only mildly toxic and may not cause severe illness or death. Your vet can prescribe medication to help the dog recover soon from fiddle leaf fig poisoning.
What are The Symptoms of Fiddle Leaf Poisoning in Dogs?
Dogs are likely to show similar symptoms as cats when they ingest any part of the fiddle leaf fig. Some symptoms of fiddle leaf poisoning in dogs include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea due to gastrointestinal upset
- Oral irritation caused by Calcium oxalate crystals in fiddle sap
- Feebleness and fatigue due to lack of energy
- Excessive drooling due to mouth irritation
- Difficulty in breathing if it consumed a large amount
- Dehydration due to diarrhea and digestive distress
- Soreness and swelling in the mouth, tongue, gums, and around the nose.
If you see any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately and take the dog for an examination. Do this before the poisoning gets worse.
The vet is likely to prescribe activated charcoal to flush off the toxins from the body. He will also give the dog some medicine to relieve the symptoms of poisoning.
What To Do If My Cat Gets Fiddle Fig Sap on Its Skin
If your cat plays around or bites fiddle fig leaves, the sap may get on its skin and cause irritation and itchiness.
You may see the cat constantly scratching itself. As a result, its skin may get sore and wounded. Sap may also get into the cat’s eyes, making them swollen and red.
The first thing to do if your cat gets fiddle fig sap on its skin is to wash it with a pet-safe shampoo or detergent. You can also apply a topical dermatitis cream on the sore areas of the skin if it’s not severe.
However, if the cat has scratched and wounded its skin, the best thing to do is to consult your vet. They will know the right medication to give your little kitty.
These medications will help relieve the cat’s symptoms of skin irritation. If you fail to consult the vet immediately, a little rush may turn into a full-blown skin infection.
How Do I Keep My Cats and Dogs Away From My Fiddle Leaf Fig?
Now that you know your lovely fiddle fig can poison your cats, what should you do about it? The best thing to do is to try and keep your pets (dogs or cats) away from the fiddle leaf fig.
Here are some tips to help you keep pets and house plants away from each other.
Put the fiddle fig in a room where the pets can not access it. Alternatively, you can place the fiddle leaf fig on a high shelf or an elevated stool that’s out of their reach.
You know how curious these little buddies can be, right? So, don’t be surprised if you find them trying to jump high to reach the fiddle leaf fig leaves!
2. Gate off
Use wood or baby gates to build a protective barrier around the plant. You can also place chicken wire over the top of the fiddle fig planter.
Gating off will ensure the pets don’t get into direct contact with the fiddle leaf fig.
3. Spray the cat
If you catch the cat nibbling on the fiddle fig, use a spray bottle to squirt some water onto them as a little punishment.
With time, they’ll know you don’t want them around the plant, and they’ll soon catch some discipline (cats don’t like water very much!)
4. Use a pet repellant
If your pets can’t seem to get away from the fiddle leaf fig, you might want to apply some pet repellant to it.
Get an organic vet-approved pet repellant from your local pet store and apply it to the plant. If you can’t find an organic repellent, apply orange, lemon, or rosemary essential oil around the rim of the pot.
Alternatively, you can place some citrus peels on the soil. Cats don’t like how these substances smell, and they won’t even move close to the fiddle fig.
For dogs, you can sprinkle pepper or place cotton balls soaked in clove oil on top of the soil.
5. Plant pet grass
Cats love the nutrients they get from green plants, especially grass. They like chewing on the grass to help ease gastrointestinal upset and settle their stomach.
To distract them from your fiddle leaf figs, you can plant pet grass close to the plant as a safer alternative to chew on. Some grass species you can plant include wheatgrass, mint, and catnip.
You can also include some greens in the cat’s daily diet. This will ensure they won’t seek the nutrients from somewhere else, like your fiddle fids.
6. Provide alternative entertainment
Cats are very playful! Sometimes, your little buddy nibbles around the fiddle leaf fig just for entertainment. It may even start digging around the soil for fun.
Try to give them other things to play with, to chew on, or a place to dig on if you want to keep them away from the plant.
What Other Houseplants Are Toxic To Cats and Dogs?
As a pet and house plant owner, you should know that fiddle figs are not the only toxic house plants. There are several other plants that can poison your cat if you bring them into your home.
Before adding a new plant to your home décor, do proper research and consultation, so you’re sure it won’t cause any harm to the curious cat.
Other house plants that are toxic to cats alongside fiddle leaf fig include:
- Monstera Deliciosa
- Dumb Cane
- Sago Palm
- Lily varieties
- Elephant’s ear
- Chinese evergreen
All these plants contain insoluble Calcium oxalate crystals, which cause irritation and poisoning when ingested.
Which Houseplants Are Safe For Pets?
Maybe you don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to keep your pets away from your indoor plants. I know how hectic it can be!
If you just want some harmony around your home without worrying about poisoning, you might want to avoid the fiddle leaf fig altogether.
There are several alternative house plants you can add to your home. These plants are not only elegant but also safe for pets. They wouldn’t cause poisoning if your pets came into contact with or ingested them.
Some of those non-toxic plants include:
- Date palm
- Boston fern
- Baby tears
- Ponytail palm
- African violet
- Venus flytrap
- Spider plants
- Rattlesnake plants
- Watercolor peperomia
Each of these plants has a beautiful and attractive appearance. They would make an excellent addition to your home décor without worrying about the safety of cats, dogs, or any other pets around the house.
Keep Your Furry Feline Safe!
Fiddle leaf figs are some of the most beautiful indoor plants to keep in your house. However, if you’re also a cat lover, you need to be careful with these two species.
Fiddle leaf figs are mildly toxic and may cause poisoning if ingested. As a pet and house plant owner, you should always keep a close eye on your furry feline. Consult your vet immediately if you notice any signs of fiddle leaf ingestion.
Also, try to put in place the measures discussed to keep your cat away from the fiddle leaf fig. If you find it challenging, you can opt for safer plants like Spider plant and Boston fern.