Are Coffee Plants Toxic To Cats

Are Coffee Plants Toxic To Cats?

Yes, coffee plants are toxic to cats. However, a coffee plant’s toxicity will depend on a few things.

Most cats naturally avoid coffee plants, but some stubborn felines cannot help but explore these common house plants. Unfortunately, when they do, they might start showing concerning symptoms.

Keep reading if you want to learn:

  • What makes coffee plants poisonous
  • Symptoms of coffee plant poisoning
  • What to do if you cat east a coffee plant
  • How to keep cats away from coffee plants

What Makes Coffee Plants Poisonous

Coffee trees, or Polyscia Guilfoyle, are common potted houseplants. They feature clumps of small berries, and sometimes, in spring, they produce attractive white flowers.

Most of the time, though, they act as simple greenery in offices and homes.

These plants aren’t the same as the coffee plants that help you create your morning brew. Plants that produce brewable coffee beans, like Coffea arabica, are also toxic to pets.

They’re less likely to become houseplants as they grow up to 15 feet tall. However, there are some dwarf varieties that people keep in pots.

Polyscia Guilfoyle and plants in the Coffea genus are toxic to cats for the same reason: saponins.

Saponins are often bitter-tasting and sometimes toxic chemicals found in many plants. They can harm pets, including cats, but are often beneficial to humans.

Soybeans, legumes, and even vegetables like spinach and tomatoes have saponins. Typically, though, these edible plants don’t have the correct type of saponins to make an animal sick.

However, coffee plants have a relatively high amount of this toxic chemical. So, if your cat decides to rub against or eat some of your coffee plants, you may notice symptoms.

Symptoms of Coffee Plant Poisoning

Often, a single interaction with a coffee plant won’t cause any symptoms in a cat. However, prolonged exposure can.

And if your cat decides to eat some of the plant’s berries or leaves, you might notice some of the following:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

If you’re a cat owner, these symptoms can be terrifying! Luckily, coffee plant poisoning isn’t usually life-threatening.

A trip to the vet can ease your mind and ensure your cat receives the treatment they need.

What To Do If Your Cat Eats a Coffee Plant

You should call your vet if you suspect your cat got into your coffee plant. You should also make an appointment if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above.

When you arrive at your vet’s office, you’ll need to provide as much information as possible. Be ready to describe your cat’s symptoms in detail. You’ll also want to let your vet know why you think it’s coffee plant poisoning.

How long was the interaction if you saw your cat playing with the plant? Did you see your cat eat any of the berries or leaves?

You may want to bring in the plant for the vet to see. That way, you can show them missing leaves, berries, or scratches that imply the cat has been curious about the plant.

Unfortunately, there’s no test for saponin poisoning. So, your vet will need to use the clues you provide alongside your cat’s symptoms to determine how much your cat ingested.

From there, your vet will devise a plan to treat your feline friend. Usually, the treatment they prescribe will be supportive.

They’ll help keep your cat comfortable until the coffee plant passes through its system.

Luckily, most cats make a full recovery after consuming coffee plants. So, your pet will likely return to themselves within a matter of hours or days, depending on the severity of the poisoning.

How to Keep Cats Away From Coffee Plants

Most cats instinctively stay away from coffee plants, but a few can’t resist the temptation of an indoor potted tree.

If you have an extra curious cat, you might want to follow these tips to help keep them away from coffee plants.

Make Them More Unappealing

Coffee plants are naturally bitter, which is why most cats stay away. Even curious cats tend to stick to a single bite.

However, if your cat is a bit hard-headed about your coffee plant, you could try making its scent extra unappealing.

Typically, cats don’t like the smell of citrus. Spraying a dilute mixture of lemon juice and water on the plant’s leaves may be enough to keep your cat away.

Keep Them Inaccessible

Keeping your coffee plant somewhere your cat can’t get to is a great way to ensure poisonings don’t happen.

Depending on the plant’s size, you may be able to hang it high on a wall. Or, you could consider purchasing a lidded terrarium.

Create a Cat-Friendly Garden

Some cats will pay less attention to coffee plants if you give them plants of their own. A cat-friendly indoor garden is one way to entice your cat away from saponin-containing plants.

Consider growing cat thyme, rosemary, and wheat grass in small containers indoors. Just keep the grasses cut short, as they can become toxic as they grow and mature.

And be sure to consult a vet before starting this project. While all these plants are safe, your cat shouldn’t be ingesting them in large amounts.

Your vet will be able to guide you about how much is too much,

Train Your Cat To Stay Away

One of the best ways to keep your cat away from your coffee plants is to train them accordingly.

If you see your cat investigating your coffee plant, pick them up and move them away. Then redirect their attention to some other form of play, like a clicker toy.

The Bottom Line

So, are coffee plants toxic to cats?

Yes, they certainly can be. However, coffee plant poisoning is rarely life-threatening, though the symptoms can be scary!

Call the vet immediately if you suspect your feline friend got into your coffee plant. Then, try using the tips above to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

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