Hedera helix, in English “ivy”, is uncomplicated and, as a robust climbing plant, turns many gray walls green. But for cats, the components of the “common ivy” are actually “mean”, in other words: poisonous! We explain why ivy in the garden or apartment can be poisonous and dangerous for cats.
Is Ivy Plant Toxic to Cats?
Triterpene saponins – these are the names of the active ingredients in ivy berries, which are toxic to cats and humans. People can show symptoms of poisoning after just two to three berries – these include a burning sensation in the throat, diarrhea, an accelerated pulse, or cramps. However, it is unlikely that cats or humans will taste the berries because they are extremely bitter. However, the leaves also harbor a danger: they contain the natural alcohol falcarinol, which is also poisonous. In humans, it can cause skin irritation, for example when gardening. Cats are protected by their fur. However, you should keep your cat at a distance, for example, if you are trimming a large ivy green area. This is because cutting can release toxins into the air that will harm your cat. At this point, an additional tip for your personal health: wear a respirator when cutting large quantities of ivy!
Symptoms of Ivy Poisoning in Cats
The good news is: Outdoor cats rarely taste poisonous plants once they are out of kitten age. Keep an eye on kittens and provide non-toxic cat grass as an alternative. If you catch your velvet paw nibbling on ivy, you should take it to the vet. If you are unsure whether your velvet paw has actually swallowed poisonous green, at least call a veterinarian for advice. The first signs of cardiovascular problems from poisoning are:
- increased salivation
- faster breathing
- accelerated pulse
Ivy Plants and Cats
Indoor ivy is usually too small to develop berries. But the ivy leaves are and will remain poisonous. If you want to be on the safe side, you shouldn’t keep ivy in your own four walls when a cat lives in the household. At this point, we would like to draw your attention to another green danger in the household: the efeutute. It is not related to ivy, but like room ivy, it is a popular and easy-to-care-for houseplant. Since both are climbing green plants, many flower lovers confuse the two plants. Both ivy and ivy are dangerous: Both are highly poisonous and should therefore not thrive within the reach of velvet paws. Indoor cats are more interested in indoor plants than outdoor cats. But our recommendation to all velvet paw owners is: Better give away your ivy plants and rely on non-toxic green roommates instead.