Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats? (Yes!)

By Phil / February 22, 2020
Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats

Fiddle leaf figs are going through something of a popularity surge at the moment.

It’s hard to flick through a trendy home decor magazine or website without seeing one of these magnificent plants in the home.

If you have pets in the home, however, you always need to check that a plant doesn’t pose a health risk to your pets.

Because let’s be honest – and this is particularly true in the case of curious cats – you never know when they are going to try and eat the leaves or flowers of a plant.

So, I thought I’d take a closer look at the fiddle leaf fig for you. And, more importantly, if the fiddle leaf fig is poisonous or toxic to cats in any way.

What Are Fiddle Leaf Figs?

What Are Fiddle Leaf Figs

The fiddle leaf fig is also known as; Horsehead Philodendron, Panda Plant, Fruit Salad Plant, and Saddle Leaf to name a few of its alternative names.

It has become a popular house plant because it’s a large, exotic-looking plant that doesn’t require much sunlight or upkeep.

Picked from the tropical jungles of West Africa, it’s a stunning plant. And while it looks harmless enough, as I’ll explain in more detail in this article – this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats?

The answer to this question is yes. Fiddle leaf figs contain a toxin that can cause irritation and burning to a cat or dog’s mouth and digestive tract if they lick or eat any of the plant.

According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (ASPCA), fiddle leaf figs contain insoluble calcium oxalates. 

These are crystals that are found in more than 100 different plants and are responsible for causing some seriously unpleasant symptoms.

If a cat licks, chews or bites a fiddle leaf fig, for example, it will release these crystals. The symptoms can include or range from:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Pain, soreness, and burning around their mouth, lips, and tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty eating and drinking

It’s really quite distressing to see. A cat will paw at their mouth in confusion. While I haven’t felt the sensation myself (I’m not silly enough to try and eat this plant) I can only imagine it’s incredibly uncomfortable.

What Should I Do If My Cat Bit a Fiddle Leaf Fig?

The first thing is not to panic. It’s important to know that this plant releases toxins as a way of protecting itself in the wild. It’s not out to take over your home and harm your pets.

With that said, however, it’s toxin is strong enough to cause a cat, dog, and any other household pet some serious issues.

It’s not going to be fatal – at least I couldn’t find a recorded case of it causing a fatality.

The best thing you can do to help them is to try and get them to drink a little milk. I know, milk isn’t good for cats, but in this instance it’s medicinal!

Much like milk helps us if we eat something too spicy, it’ll help neutralize the effects of the burning sensation a little.

What Should I Do If My Cat Bit a Fiddle Leaf Fig

The next thing to do is to get on the phone to your vet. You should know exactly how much they’ve ingested if any, and you can describe their exact symptoms to them.

The best thing you can do is act on their advice at this point. No one likes taking a trip to the vet’s office, but this is potentially a serious issue if their throat swells up and they can’t eat or drink.

I’m sure your cat will be fine. Chalk it up to a lesson learned, and do something to avoid them coming into contact with your fiddle fig again.

I wish I could say that all cats would learn a lesson from a painful experience like this. But as cat owners, we know there are no guarantees. It’s best to put preventative measures in place!

In Summary – Are Fiddle Leaf Figs Poisonous to Cats?

Yes, fiddle leaf figs are poisonous to cats and you should do everything you can to ensure they do not cross paths.

I have to admit, they make stunning looking indoor plants. I can’t fault you for wanting to have one, it’s just not worth the risk that your cat will lick or bite it as the symptoms are pretty serious.

The topic of plants that are and aren’t safe for cats is a detailed and lengthy one. To get you started, take a look at Spider Plants, Bamboo, and Staghorn Ferns for cat-safe common house plants.

Stay away from Aloe Vera, Snake Plants, Lilies, and Weeping Fig Trees to mention a few of the common household plants that are toxic to kitties.

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