Monstera Deliciosa (Swiss cheese plants) and Cats
Monstera Deliciosa, commonly known as ‘Swiss cheese plants’ or ‘Split-leaf Philodendron,’ are trendy decorative evergreen plants. It is native to the tropical forests of Mexico and can grow up to 70 meters tall.
The leaves of Monstera Deliciosa are large, glossy, with dark green and heart-shaped structure that emanates a charming and exotic beauty to our homes. The heart-shaped leaves are covered with holes that resemble ‘Swiss cheese,’ hence the common name ‘Swiss Cheese Plants.’
It is among the few interior decorative plants that also produce fruit that is edible to humans. All the other parts of the plant are toxic.
Since they are very easy to maintain and require very little sunlight and water, the Monstera Deliciosa is amongst the most favorite plants for adorning your interiors. Another factor that makes it a favorite among houseplants is that it is also disease and pest resistant.
Is Monstera Deliciosa Cat safe?
- Toxicity Levels for Cats: Toxic
- Toxicity levels for kittens: Highly Toxic
If you are a Cat owner, it is better to avoid keeping Swiss Cheese plants in your homes to be on the safer side. Especially if you have kittens. As per ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), it is toxic to cats and dogs. And more toxic to litters.
Apart from the fruit, this plant’s overall genus is also mildly toxic to humans and has higher toxic levels for cats & dogs. The foliage causes skin irritations to cats, dogs, and, humans too.
The poisoning is rarely fatal, but the ingestion of leaves and sap of Monstera Deliciosa can also irritate the digestive tract and induce internal swelling for cats. This could be very painful and dangerous for your cats.
Although the effects could be mild for larger cats, kittens may require immediate medical attention. Experimental mice and rats have after they were fed extracts of the plants. If you really love plants and use them as ornamental decorates for your home, check the list here for safe plants for pet homes.
Why are Cats attracted to Monstera Deliciosa Plants?
Most cats are very curious, and the long & lush foliage of the Swiss Cheese Plants tempts them to play and bite at its leaves. This risks your cat with accidental ingestion of the leaves, sap, or other parts of Monstera Deliciosa.
Suppose you suspect that your cat had ingested any part of the plant such as the leaves, sap, or fruit. In that case, it is best that you immediately visit your cat’s veterinarian. This will drastically improve your cat’s recovery rate from exposure to the toxicities.
Causes of Toxicity
Toxic Properties: Insoluble calcium oxalates crystals. These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which make all the parts highly toxic to your cats. Chewing or biting into the plants or its leaves will release the crystals that cause tissue penetration and irritation to the cat’s mouth and GI tract. In rare cases, swelling of the upper airways may occur, making it difficult to breathe for the pets.
Symptoms and Signs of Toxicity
- Breathing Difficulty
- Oral Pain
- Constant pawing at the mouth
- Decreased Appetite
Diagnosis: Monstera Poisoning in Cats and Kittens
Once you suspect that your cat may have Swiss Cheese poisoning, take it immediately to a veterinarian. Give all the information in detail – the symptoms, behavioral changes, what you suspect, etc. This information is crucial for the vet to accurately diagnose the cause of poisoning and what further steps to take.
Treatment: Monstera Deliciosa Poisoning in Cats and Kittens
Your cat or kitten may feel a lot of pain and discomfort due to the Swiss Cheese plant poisoning. They may paw their mouth or roll over in pain. The vet will first focus on making your cat comfortable and safe. Other Steps Include:
- Washing the cat’s mouth to remove any visible crystals or compound residues
- Perform a Gastric Lavage to remove any toxins from the cats or kittens stomach
- May administer different medicines to coat the stomach lining and prevent further vomiting & irritation
- Iv fluids are injected when the cat is dehydrated due to excessive vomiting
Note: The treatment information is not limited to the above. This is a general opinion. For an expert opinion, we recommend you talk to your pet’s veterinarian. Do not administer medicines to your cat without talking to an expert vet.
Recovery Period: Monstera Deliciosa Poisoning in Cats and Kittens
The period of recovery of your cat depends on various factors. Its age, breed, amount of poison ingestion, response to treatment, etc. As mentioned above, poisoning from Monster plants is rarely fatal in cats.
Most cats are released immediately after treatment and tend to feel better in a few days. Others may need to stay at the clinic if they require IV fluid administering or further observation.
Talk to your vet for the next few days and inform them about your cat’s current condition. There may be changes in the diet requirements if the cat has suffered a stomach infection.
Swiss cheese plants placement for Cat Owners
Placing a Rosemary plant next to any houseplants (toxic or nontoxic) that your cats love to chew on is a great way to safeguard your home garden and your pet! Cats hate the Rosemary plant due to its high aromatic scent. Other common ways are by sprinkling cayenne pepper on the plant’s leaves and stems or putting fresh orange/lemon peels in the pot.
Cautionary Note: Citric oil extracts are toxic to cats and should always be avoided. Always use natural pet deterrent.
Pro-tip: Create a small grass garden for your cats. Grass plants are very safe and provide a lot of fun for your kitties.