Are you an avid houseplant owner who loves the look of the monstera plant?
Monstera, also known as the Swiss cheese plant, is a low-maintenance plant that forms an awesome addition to any indoor garden.
But one thing that may slip your mind is whether or not they’re safe for your pets. Are monstera toxic to cats and dogs?
Is there something you should know before letting your furry companions play around them?
In this blog post, we’ll discuss whether or not monstera is toxic to pets. And what do you do if your pet gets poisoned by the plant?
Finally, we’ll guide you on how to create a safe environment for both your plant and pets to live together in harmony.
Are Monstera Toxic to Cats?
Yes. Monstera plants are mildly toxic to cats. The juicy sap in most parts of the plant, including its leaves and stems, has insoluble calcium oxalate crystals.
When your cat comes into contact with or ingests the sap, it causes an irritative reaction to its skin, mouth, tongue, and throat.
Are Monstera Toxic to Dogs?
Like in cats, monstera is also toxic to dogs. If your dog chews and swallows any part of your monstera plant, it will feel a burning sensation on its lips, mouth, tongue, and throat.
The Calcium oxalate crystals embed into its mucous and cause severe irritation.
What Happens if My Pet Eats My Monstera?
If your pet ingests any part of a monstera plant, it will start showing signs of poisoning. They could experience severe mouth, lips, tongue, and throat.
This can make it difficult for your pet to eat or drink anything.
They may also start drooling as they try to remove the plant from their body. If your pet ingests too much of the plant, it may experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
In some rare cases, oxalate poisoning can obstruct the digestive tract. It may also lead to kidney failure or death in severe cases.
If not attended to early enough, the pain and discomfort may continue even days after ingestion.
What Should I Do if My Pet Eats My Monstera?
If you believe your pet has eaten any part of your monstera plant, seek help from a vet as soon as possible. This applies even if they just had a small bite.
Before the vet arrives, give your pet fluids like water, milk, or soup to flush the toxins out of its system.
The sooner they get medical attention, the earlier they can avoid any associated health risks.
Your vet will typically give your cat or dog some medication to induce vomiting. He will also prescribe medication to help them recover from poisoning if it’s severe.
What Part of the Monstera Plant is Toxic to Pets?
Every part of the monstera plant has poisonous sap. This milky substance contains toxic calcium oxalate crystals.
Whether your pet bites and swallows the monstera leaf, stem, or branches, they’ll show signs of poisoning.
Your cat may nibble on or rub itself against the plant with no issue. However, once they bite any part of it, they come into contact with the sap. And that’s when monstera poisoning begins!
What Are Calcium Oxalate Crystals?
Calcium oxalate crystals are naturally occurring toxic compounds. They are found in the sap of most wild plants and houseplants, which makes them toxic to cats.
Apart from Monsteras, other houseplants that contain this compound are pothos, Dumbcane, Calla lily, and Arrowhead vine.
Calcium oxalate crystals are naturally formed in plant cells as part of their defense against preying animals.
They look like a bunch of tiny, sharp needles and can sometimes show barbed edges. This is why they often cause skin irritation and a burning sensation when ingested by pets.
Their sharp edges get embedded in the soft tissues of the mouth, lips, tongue, and other parts of the digestive system.
Calcium oxalate is also insoluble, so it’s hard to eliminate once it enters the body system.
How Long Does Monstera Poisoning Last in Cats?
How long monstera poisoning stays depends on the amount ingested by the cat. If it only had a small bite, the symptoms normally disappear within 24-48 hours.
However, you may see mild symptoms even two weeks later if the cat gets no medication. The symptoms may stay longer if your pet eats a larger portion of the monstera plant.
If it fails to use the littler box for more than 24 hours, there may be a serious problem, and it would be best to contact your vet.
Symptoms of Pet Poisoning by Monstera Plants
If your pet chews and swallows any part of monstera, you’ll notice some abnormal reactions. Some common symptoms you may see in your cat or dog include the following:
- Excessive Drooling: The pet will drool as they try to get rid of the ingested plant from its mouth.
- Swollen and irritating lips, tongue, and mouth. These symptoms will occur due to direct contact with the plant’s sap. The sap contains sharp and insoluble Calcium oxalate crystals.
- Vomiting: The cat may vomit as its body tries to eliminate the toxins.
- Diarrhea: The plant may affect the gastrointestinal system and cause indigestion.
- Difficulty swallowing: This is due to swelling or inflammation in the throat and other parts of the digestive system.
These symptoms will be mild if your pet only consumes a small amount of the plant. However, serious problems like kidney failure or death may occur if consumed in large quantities.
Fortunately, your pet will feel the effects as soon as they ingest a small amount and won’t eat more. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult your vet immediately for help.
Treatment of Cat and Dog Poisoning by Monstera Plants
As soon as you suspect monstera ingestion by your pet, the best thing to do is to contact your vet.
Treatment for monstera poisoning generally includes:
- Inducing vomiting to rid the system of toxins
- Giving activated charcoal to adsorb toxins from the stomach
- Giving pain relief medication to relieve pain and discomfort
- Electrolyte replenishment through IV fluids for rehydration
- Other treatments as deemed necessary by your vet
Your vet will also watch kidney function changes in case the toxins enter the cat’s kidney.
Taking swift action at the first sign of trouble may rescue your pet from severe reaction or even death.
How Do I Keep My Cat From Eating My Monstera Plant?
Cats are known for their curiosity and playfulness. That means your little kitty may not resist the urge to nibble around or bite on your lovely plant.
So, how can you keep your cat from eating your monstera?
1. Prevent access
The easiest way is to prevent your cat from accessing the plant in the first place. If your monstera plant is small enough, move it to a high shelf or counter where your cat can’t reach it. You can also put it in a room that you can close to keep your cat out.
2. Use smell deterrents
Another option is to use smell deterrents to keep the cat away. Cats have a strong sense of smell and hate the smell of citrus fruits.
Try placing citrus peels or cotton balls soaked in vinegar around the plant. You can also spray the leaves with a citrus-scented perfume or diluted vinegar.
Just don’t apply too much, which may damage the plant!
3. Use noise deterrents
Noise deterrents can also keep your cat from eating your monstera. It could be as simple as clapping your hands or shaking a can filled with pennies.
Cats are easily scared by loud noise, and you’ll see them running away quickly! Soon, they’ll associate the noise with the plant and stay away from it.
4. Use feel deterrents
Besides noise, another way to keep your cat from eating your monstera is by making the leaves feel unpleasant.
You can spray the leaves with water or diluted lemon juice. You could also try sprinkling the leaves with cayenne pepper or crushed black pepper.
Again, don’t use too much that could harm your plant.
Alternatively, you can lay down sticky tape or aluminum foil around the plant. This will give the cat an unpleasant feeling when they come near your monstera.
5. Give them alternatives toys
Your cat may play with your monstera because they don’t have alternatives. You can make it easier for them by giving them alternative toys or objects to play with.
Some good options include rubber balls, crinkle toys, and feathers on a string. This will redirect their chewing behavior and playfulness away from your plant to something safer for them.
6. Grow alternative pet-friendly plants
Finally, you can keep your cat safe by growing alternative cat safe plants that look like the monstera. Some great options to try include philodendrons, ferns, or pothos plants.
Other alternative plants that are safer for cats include Catnip, Cat grass, and Wheatgrass. These plants are nontoxic to cats and are just as attractive as the Swiss cheese plant.
How to Safely Keep Monsteras With House Pets
If you’re going to keep the monstera plant and your pet in your house, you need to create a safe space for both of them. Fortunately, with the right precautions, you can enjoy both with fewer worries.
Here are some tips for pet owners to keep monsteras safe with house pets.
- Place your monstera on a high shelf or hang it from the ceiling so that neither cats nor dogs can reach it.
- Move the plant to a room where the pets can’t enter
- Put a cage or build a boundary around your plant
- Always monitor your pet’s behavior around the toxic plants
- Always check out for toxic reactions in your pets. If you notice any, take the plant away.
Are all monstera toxic?
No. Not all monsteras are toxic. However, some varieties of monstera, like Swiss cheese, are more toxic than others. They contain saponins, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in cats and dogs if ingested.
Are mini monsteras toxic to cats and dogs?
Yes, mini monsteras (Rhaphidophora tetrasperma) are just as toxic to cats and dogs as other varieties. If your pet ingests any part of a mini monstera, seek veterinary help immediately.
What happens if a cat eats a Monstera?
If a cat eats a monstera, it may experience vomiting, diarrhea, and drooling. If you think your cat has eaten a monstera plant, take them to the vet as soon as possible to prevent a severe reaction.
Is Monstera safe for pets?
No, Monstera is not safe for pets. All parts of the plant contain saponins, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea if ingested. If you have a pet and are considering growing a Monstera, be ready to take the necessary precautions.
Are Swiss cheese monstera toxic to cats?
Yes. Swiss cheese monsteras (Monstera adansonii) are more toxic than other varieties. This is because they have a higher content of calcium oxalate crystals. If you have a Swiss cheese plant in your home, keep pets away to prevent accidental ingestion.
Also read: are fiddle leaf figs toxic to cats
Can monsteras cause reactions in people?
Absolutely! Some people may experience allergic reactions after coming into contact with its sap. They may experience itchiness, redness, and swelling at the site of contact. If you experience such reactions, immediately wash the area with soap and water, and seek medical attention if it’s severe.
Are Monstera Toxic to Cats and Dogs? Final Thought
While monsteras are mildly toxic houseplants, it’s important to be mindful of their potential dangers to pets.
As a dog or cat owner, always keep an eye on your pets and take action if you notice abnormal reactions.
Remember to call your vet or the pet poison helpline as soon as possible.
Also, consider removing the plant or placing it where your pets can’t reach it. Alternatively, you could replace monstera with a safer houseplant for your pets.
Always be mindful of how your pet interacts with the plant. With the right measures, you can create a safe environment for both to live healthy and happy!