Is the common Ivy houseplant toxic to cats? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 06:33 PM Thread Starter
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Is the common Ivy houseplant toxic to cats?

I am just curious...none of my cats have ingested any, but they do play with it at times. As soon as I notice they can reach it I trim it back, but would like to know just in case.

I am not sure what it is called, but it is the more common ivy grown indoors: it can be solid green or verigated, with streaks of white or yellow on the leaves in random patterns. I have pots of it on my fireplace mantle, on top of my fridge, in the decorative space on top of my cabinets, etc... As it grows, it extends downward, like a hanging basket would. If anyone knows what this variety it called, I would appreciate the info. I do know that it is tropical and is not an "outdoor" ivy.

Thanks to all!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 07:00 PM
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My mother has it. I don't know what it is called in English...

She puts pieces of it in the vase with the betta. I am guessing if it is not toxic to betas then it should be okay.

Don't take my word as the truth...
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 07:30 PM
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Yes, ivy is toxic, but not extremely so. If your cat has just nibbled a couple leaves, I wouldn't worry about it.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 07:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!

Shengmei: I should suggest that my daughter put some of the pieces I cut back into her betta tanks...she raises them and has at least a dozen adult bettas. She is planning on ordering some of the exotics that are imported from Thailand, but I can't imagine how they would get the fish here alive...especially in this heat!

Tim: They haven't nibbled any *yet* but it grows fast, and doesn't take long before it is within their reach. So far, they just bat it around with their paws (it's dangle-y and just begging to be a cat toy) but no nibbles. I will make sure I cut it back higher and more often. *poor ivy* If I could, I would just replace every houseplant I have with pots and pots of catnip...but it never makes past the little pot I buy it in. As soon as it enters the house, no matter where I put it, they find it and it is munched to the dirt.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-26-2005, 07:58 PM
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Hi Brynn,
Yes ivy is toxic but I've never had a cat show much interest. Are you sure it's ivy though? Or is it philodendron, another common trailing house plant. Ivy has leaves that are kind of like a 3 pointd maple leaf and philodendron has a shinier, usually rather heart shaped leaf. Both can be variegated. I only ask because although both are poisoness cats seem to be more interested in philodendrons and it might not be a bad ide to keep them out of reach. Neither plant would likely kill a cat but if they eat enough it would make them good and sick and be hard on their kidneys(not a good thing!) One of the signs (aside from the munched leaves on your plant ) would be drooling because it irritates the skin and sometimes face swelling. I wouldn't be too concerned though as cats are usually pretty smart.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2005, 09:53 AM
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It sounds like it may be a golden pothos. Here is a picture of one:

It is toxic to the cat, but I have had several over the years and have never had a cat mess with one bad enough to hurt itself. Like Nanook said, cats are pretty smart. This one burns their lips some so they stop chewing on it. The ASPCA has a Poison Control center that lists some common household plants that are toxic to cats. Their Golden Pothos link is:

They list the toxic principle as calcium oxalate crystals and the clinical signs as oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2005, 10:13 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Allison

Yes, that is exactly what it is. They just like to swat it around with their paws. I have never seen one of them actually bite it...but was concerned they might since it dangles. They seem to think it is a fun toy.

I have cut all of them back (I have quite a few of them, as I started with one, and everytime I cut one back, I would root the cuttings and start a new plant) so that the cats can't reach them, and will make sure I cut them back more often now. If anyone would like some cuttings, let me know! I refuse to start any new ones! I just didn't have the heart to throw out part of a living thing, until now. I'm getting over that pretty fast though.

I appreciate the info!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-27-2005, 09:05 PM
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FYI The pathos is a type of philodendron (it's a pretty big family!). I used to have them too (before I knew) and my guys would bat them around and I even found some teeth marks on them but everyone was O.K.

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