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Are Rubber Plants Toxic to Cats?

Are Rubber Plants Toxic to Cats?

Yes, rubber plants are poisonous to cats. 

A member of the Moraceae family, rubber plants are popular ornamental plants that can be grown indoors. These houseplants are native to Southeast Asia, and are favoured for their oversized, oval-shaped leaves. Scientifically called Ficus elastica, they’re also called rubber bush, rubber fig, rubber tree, weeping fig, as well as Indian rubber bush/tree. 

ASPCA states that Indian rubber plants are toxic to cats and dogs. (These are different from American rubber plants, which actually fall under the Pipericeae family.) The plant contains a milky white latex that naturally defends it from attackers. Its toxic principles are proteolytic enzymes (ficin) and psoralen (ficusin). These can irritate the eyes, skin, and mouth. Worse, it becomes harmful when ingested by cats.    

What to do if your cat accidentally comes into contact with, chews, or eats a rubber plant: Get in touch with your veterinarian immediately and inform them how much rubber plant your cat ate. Check if there are any remnants of the plant’s leaves, stems, and roots in your cat’s mouth, then remove them carefully.

Moreover, observe your cat for signs of gastrointestinal distress. Your feline pet may drool excessively, vomit, lose her appetite, or experience diarrhea. Abdominal pain may also be experienced as the sap enters her stomach. In addition, watch for incoordination and nausea. Let your vet know about her symptoms. 

In summary: Curious cats that play or munch on rubber plants can experience health complications. As such, it is best to keep this houseplant away from both kittens and full grown cats at all times. Review these lists created by ASPCA, Pet Poison Helpline, and PetMD to help determine if a plant you want to take home is non-toxic to cats. 

References:

Ficus elastica – Wikipedia

Indian Rubber Plant | ASPCA

Ficus Elastica (Rubber Tree): Beginner Indoor Grow Tips

Is Rubber Plant Toxic To Cats? How To Treat Rubber Plant Poisoning In Cats?



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