Intriguing for collectors because of its peculiar shape, the goldfish plant will definitely draw the attention of the room. That attention can be negative, though, as dogs, cats, and children might take a bite out of a flower.
Some plants aren’t dangerous, but let’s face it, they probably not going to be either tasty or good for people or pets if too much of them is consumed. On the other hand, there are plants that are dangerous if touched or ingested and therefore must be avoided at all costs.
To avoid a potentially disastrous situation, in today’s article, we’ll explore the likely dangers (if any) of a goldfish plant, specifically, understanding is a goldfish plant toxic to cats, dogs, and people.
- Is Goldfish Plant Toxic to Cats, Dogs, or People
- What Plants Are Most Harmful To Cats?
- How Do I Know If My Pet Ate a Poisonous Plant
- What Plants Are OK to Have with Cats or Dogs
- How Do I Make My Houseplants Safe
- How Do I Stop My Cat from Eating My Houseplants?
- Verdict: Is Goldfish Plant Toxic
Is Goldfish Plant Toxic to Cats, Dogs, or People
Barring any allergies, goldfish plants aren’t considered toxic for cats, dogs, or people. However, since none of these species are herbivores, goldfish plants will likely taste disgusting and could do some damage if ingested in large quantities.
Is Goldfish Plant Toxic to Cats?
No, and chances are that cats are attracted to the naturally interesting shape more than anything else. Your goldfish plant is in more danger of having its flower(s) ripped off than being eaten.
Aside from mild stomach irritation (which is bound to happen since cats aren’t herbivores and they shouldn’t eat flowers), your cat is likely to be okay after eating a goldfish plant.
Is Goldfish Plant Toxic to Dogs or Other Pets?
When it comes to dogs, the goldfish plant is no more dangerous than to cats. However, I dare say that dogs will be less interested in plants than cats.
When it comes to other pets, there are no data available on goldfish plant toxicity, but given that it’s not dangerous for cats and dogs, it’s reasonable to assume that it isn’t dangerous for other mammals too.
Is Goldfish Plant Toxic to People
There have never been any reported incidents of anyone seriously hurting themselves or dying after eating a goldfish plant, meaning that it probably isn’t toxic, but that doesn’t mean that we should all go around eating them.
In fact, between cats, dogs, and people, we’re the ones most likely to have trouble digesting goldfish plants – other animals generally have a more hardy and robust digestive system than us.
Goldfish plants have the additional negative aspect of reportedly tasting terrible.
That said, I want to reiterate that while there is no known study proving goldfish plant toxicity, I would still strongly advise against eating them or encouraging your pets to consume them.
Allergies do exist and it’s entirely possible to have a strong allergic reaction to a Goldfish plant or any other plant in the Columnea or Nematanthus genera.
What Plants Are Most Harmful To Cats?
There are probably thousands of species that could be named on this list, but we’ll stick to the most popular types that can commonly be found in homes and outside gardens.
Angelica Tree – the Angelica tree is a marginally toxic tree – while it likely won’t kill a cat that eats a few leaves, it can easily cause irritation to the mouth, intestines, and stomach. This often leads to hypersalivation and diarrhea, which causes dehydration.
Barbados Lilies – a much more grim plant than the Japanese Angelica tree, the Barbados lily is extremely dangerous to cats (and dogs too). According to ASPCA, the bulb is the most poisonous part of the lily.
If ingested, it can cause anything from vomiting to aggressive convulsions and cardiac arrhythmias, which can ultimately, lead to death.
Branching Ivy – while a beautiful climbing, rambling plant for walls and fences, the branching ivy can be very dangerous, causing vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and abdominal pain.
Carnations – carnations are toxic to cats, although it’s still unknown why. They cause a minor inflammation of the digestive system, while superficial rashes (dermatitis) can appear too.
Daffodils – very similar to Barbados lilies when it comes to the effects, daffodils cause convulsions, low blood pressure, and cardiac arrhythmias. Just like with Barbados lilies, the bulbs are the most dangerous parts to eat.
Deadly Nightshade – although often not staying true to its name, deadly nightshade can cause nasty side effects, including, but not limited to loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, weakness, slowed heart rate, and generally a very difficult gastrointestinal upset.
In the most extreme cases, deadly nightshade will cause an extremely unpleasant death to cats, dogs, and adult humans. However, this isn’t true for all animals, as rabbits are seemingly capable of eating it without suffering any side effects.
Eucalyptus – toxic because of its essential oils, eucalyptus trees can cause excessive salivation, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.
What Houseplants Are Most Harmful to Pets
Any houseplant belonging to toxicity class 1 (explained below) is most dangerous to pets.
Examples of plants that are categorized in toxicity class 1 are many varieties of lily. In addition, Rosary beans, Tassel flower, Deadly nightshade, and Water hemlock (and all other hemlocks), are all highly toxic too.
Cardinal flowers, lupines, and most apples and cherries are all dangerous to cats too, but these are categorized in toxicity class 2.
Of course, some of these plants aren’t found in houses but are commonplace in gardens, where pets have easy access to them.
Now that you know what plants are the most harmful plants to pets, let me explain the four classes of toxicity. Toxicity class 1 is the most harmful, and 4 is the least toxic class.
It’s worth noting here that plant species can be a member of two or three toxicity classes at the same time.
Toxicity class 1 – this toxicity is called major toxicity, meaning that ingesting these substances can lead to death or serious health issues (not only in pets but in adult humans too). If ingested, seek medical attention immediately.
Toxicity class 2 – although more rarely fatal, class 2 toxins (minor toxicity) are characterized by vomiting and diarrhea. Once again, seek medical attention if ingesting a part of these plants.
Toxicity class 3 – also called oxalates, these compounds are actually crystals that are only dangerous because of their shape. They’re pointy and easily irritate the skin and every organ they pass on the way to the stomach – this can cause vomiting, excessive salivation, and even difficulty breathing.
Toxicity class 4 – these plants are mostly harmless, but they can cause skin rashes (often because of the sap or the thorns).
How Do I Know If My Pet Ate a Poisonous Plant
Just like with any other health issue – poisoning can be very obvious through the symptoms. Some symptoms, however, are subtle and often imperceptible to the owner.
Poisonous plants can cause major symptoms, such as choking (which usually happens because of throat swelling), loss of consciousness, paralysis, and even seizures.
There are also behavioral symptoms, such as a lack of appetite, which is often seen with poisonings that affect the digestive system, but also poisonings that cause a lot of pain. Refusing to eat is a normal reaction to pain, not only in cats and dogs but in humans too.
Changes in behavior, such as sudden aggression, have also been documented, and they’re usually caused by fear, which is induced by pain. Animals can suddenly become despondent and may try to avoid their owners.
Vomiting and diarrhea are common with many poisonings because the body is trying to clear out the poisonous substance from the stomach. This further exacerbates dehydration, so the animal has to drink more water.
Drooling and the inability to control basic bodily functions can also occur.
Some of the most aggressive and dangerous poisons affect the central nervous system. This can cause violent seizures and convulsions, as well as the aforementioned paralysis and loss of consciousness.
These symptoms are extremely dangerous and you should definitely take your pet to the vet as soon as possible if any of them occur.
Can Poisonous Plants Cause Seizures in Cats or Dogs
Poisonous plants can indeed cause seizures in cats and dogs, but this is rare. Since goldfish plants are not toxic to cats or dogs, they luckily don’t belong on this list.
The plants that cause seizures have poisonous agents that affect the central nervous system. Some popular examples of such plants include rhododendron and cyclamen.
These common plants contain grayanotoxins, and other common symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain, tremors, seizures, paralysis, and blurred vision. Every part of these plants is toxic, but in the case of rhododendrons, the leaves are the most toxic part.
Aside from plants in your home and garden causing seizures, it’s possible that some brands of granular fertilizer can also cause seizures, breathing difficulties, and even death. Avoid allowing your pets near recently fertilized areas, or allowing them to dig up soil where fertilizer granules may be present.
What Do I Do If My Pet Was Poisoned
The best thing you can do is contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Ideally, you want to furnish your pet care provider with as much information about the plant they ate as possible. The name, what part of the plant, how much, and how long since they ate it will all help the healthcare professional to piece together a prognosis and care plan.
After informing them, listen to their instructions carefully.
Some poisonings are mild and they don’t require emergency treatment, only time for the symptoms to dissipate. Poisonings with class 1 toxins, however, will most likely need you to visit the vet.
During such a crisis, do not shake or move your pet aggressively if they lose consciousness, nor should you throw water on them – it’s unlikely to wake them up and may distress them further.
Also, don’t try to force them to vomit – you’re more likely to get bit than vomited on.
What Plants Are OK to Have with Cats or Dogs
These plants are not toxic and they’re safe to have with both cats and dogs.
Polka Dot Plants – not toxic to dogs, cats, or horses, although they can cause a bit of vomiting if ingested in large quantities.
Petunias – these popular purple flowers aren’t toxic at all and they’re a great option for an indoor plant with dogs and cats.
Peruvian Lily – a contrast to most lilies, which are often lethal for animals, the Peruvian lily isn’t toxic at all.
Money Trees – while the fact that money doesn’t grow on them is a letdown, these trees are nontoxic to cats and dogs, only causing nausea and minor digestive trouble if ingested in large quantities.
Wild Hyacinths – easily found in the wild and adapted for the inside of a warm home, hyacinths are not toxic to cats and dogs.
Spider Plants – completely nontoxic to cats and dogs, even though it’s a part of the Liliaceae family.
Star Plants – just like spider plants, star plants are safe for pets.
How Do I Make My Houseplants Safe
The best thing you can do to make your houseplants safer is to move them out of the way. This is easier said than done when it comes to cats as these animals are known for their agility, and climbing abilities, not to mention their inquisitive nature.
With dogs, this is as easy as putting the plant on a shelf. A cat will, however, climb that shelf easily and either bite into the plant up there or knock it down.
A seemingly effective method is installing a hook into the ceiling and hanging the plants from the ceiling. If you opt for this option, keep in mind that a cat can still get to the plant if there’s anything tall nearby.
Another smart solution relates to digging. Pets love to dig around, and when it comes to plants, they can easily find granules of fertilizer, which was mentioned earlier.
To prevent them from digging through the soil, cover the soil with pebbles. The pebbles won’t harm your plant as water will still be able to move through, but the pets won’t get to the soil as easily. Of course, the few committed pets will make their way through the pebbles.
How Do I Stop My Cat from Eating My Houseplants?
There are many things you can do to stop your cat from eating your houseplants – some cats can be trained as easily as dogs.
The most important thing is to deter the cat away from your houseplants, but without the cat knowing it’s you doing that. Your cat will only grow to hate you if you spray it with water or condensed air every time it starts licking or eating a plant.
However, there are rigged training devices online and in larger pet shops that were made with this specific purpose – teaching your pet to leave something alone. These are a great way to keep your cat away, as it’ll get a dose of fresh air aggressively blown into its face every time it touches a plant.
Most cats and dogs will stop trying to eat a plant after they get blown away (quite literally) a few times.
Another way, perhaps a more budget-friendly one, is using smells that are naturally unlikable to pets. Coffee and lemon are the most popular ones. Try putting coffee grounds or lemon peel onto the soil and see if that will keep your cat away.
Alternatively, spray a lemon-water solution onto the leaves – most cats can’t stand lemon (and other things that taste bitter) and it won’t bite into a leaf that tasted bitter when licked.
You can use a pet deterrent for this same purpose – they’re available at pet stores and usually use a lemon-based solution or a solution with hot pepper flakes.
Lastly, you can try growing plants that are naturally disliked by pets. Rosemary, for example, usually isn’t beloved and most pets will stay away from it because of its smell.
If you place your rosemary between the plants you want to protect, chances are your pet will leave them alone because it won’t be able to get the smell of rosemary out of its head.
Verdict: Is Goldfish Plant Toxic
Is a goldfish plant toxic to cats? No, and it’s not toxic to dogs or humans either, but it’s not that digestible either as we’re not herbivores.
There are poisonous houseplants out there, though, and we should be careful not to let out pets eat them.
Moving them out of the way and using training devices to keep pets away is very effective in this regard. In case of poisoning, it’s important to contact your vet as soon as possible and follow their instructions to the dot.