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Is Christmas Cactus Poisonous?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I bought one of these today without thinking about if it might be poisonous to a cat or not. I googled it and found mixed answers. Can someone please tell me if it will harm my kitty? All she's done so far is sniff it, so she hasn't tried chewing on it.
post #2 of 15
I have heard it can be poison but I have also heard it isnt poison so i would keep it away from the cats.
I have 2 Amaryllis and keep them away from my cats.
post #3 of 15
My kitties have pretty much finished mine off without getting sick. I don't think they've actually eaten much of it, but they sure like to break off the sections and bat them around the floor or carry them around in their mouths.
post #4 of 15
DELETED PARAGRAPH: I started by describing the Christmas Cactus as the Pointsettia - two different plants! In the interest of anyone who might catch this thread and only read the early posts, I have deleted that...boo-boo. However, I still have concerns about Christmas Cactus - see my followup post #13.

The balance of this original post applies to the other popular Christmas plant/flower, the Pointsettia:


From CatFanciers' Association's site, Winter and Holiday Hazzards for Cats
"Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea".

Well, perhaps "over-rated", but in terms of my own risk management strategy, I first aim to eliminate risk, second, to reduce it.

No Pointsettia will ever cross my doorstep!

(You could make someone else very happy with an early holiday gift!)
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE View Post
The "Christmas cactus" - or more properly Pointsettia - appears on some of my bookmarked lists of poisonous plants and not on others...and all are "reputable cat health sites".

From CatFanciers' Association's site, Winter and Holiday Hazzards for Cats
"Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea".

Well, perhaps "over-rated", but in terms of my own risk management strategy, I first aim to eliminate risk, second, to reduce it.

No Pointsettia will ever cross my doorstep!

(You could make someone else very happy with an early holiday gift!)
Christmas Cactus and Ponsettias are not the same plant.

This is a Christmas Cactus
http://www.humeseeds.com/xmasccts.htm

This is a Poinsettia
http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/poinsettia/facts.cfm

I'm not sure if the Christmas Cactus is poisonous or not, I've heard conflicting answers. I just wanted to point out the difference. Hope you find the answer.

Also, a child or pet needs to eat about 5-10 whole plants worth of Poinsettia in order to get sick. It is a myth that they are poisonous.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE View Post
The "Christmas cactus" - or more properly Pointsettia - appears on some of my bookmarked lists of poisonous plants and not on others...and all are "reputable cat health sites".

From CatFanciers' Association's site, Winter and Holiday Hazzards for Cats
"Poinsettias are generally over-rated in toxicity. If ingested, poinsettias can be irritating to the mouth and stomach, and may cause mild vomiting or nausea".

Well, perhaps "over-rated", but in terms of my own risk management strategy, I first aim to eliminate risk, second, to reduce it.

No Pointsettia will ever cross my doorstep!

(You could make someone else very happy with an early holiday gift!)
Hmm. I never heard a poinsettia called a "Christmas Cactus". The plant I'm talking about is completely different. It seems like somebody gives me a poinsettia almost every year, which I end up leaving out on the patio to keep it away from the kitties.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
I definetely didn't buy a poinsetta. I know those are highly toxic. This is just called a Holiday or Christmas Cactus and it has segments with flowers on the end of them.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzles View Post
I definetely didn't buy a poinsetta. I know those are highly toxic. This is just called a Holiday or Christmas Cactus and it has segments with flowers on the end of them.
Poinsettias are actually not highly toxic.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuzzles View Post
I definetely didn't buy a poinsetta. I know those are highly toxic. This is just called a Holiday or Christmas Cactus and it has segments with flowers on the end of them.
This is what mine used to look like--not in bloom at the time I took the picture.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kara_leigh View Post
Poinsettias are actually not highly toxic.
I was always told they were. Then someone else also told me that they aren't actually toxic, they are just hard to digest for kitties.
post #11 of 15
It's a myth, cats and children actually need to eat 5-10 whole plants in order to get sick.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks for clearing it up for me! I feel more safe having it around now.
post #13 of 15
I can't believe I equated the two (especially since we've had both over the years!), hmmmmmm.....a senior mope-ment, maybe?


However, considering the following from PetPlace.com:
"Christmas cactus, Thanksgiving cactus, Easter cactus (Schlumbergera or Zygocactus). In dogs, if large quantities of this plant are ingested, vomiting, possibly with blood, diarrhea, possibly with blood and mental depression have been reported. With small ingestions, typically there are no signs of toxicity. These plants are considered low toxicity plants." (link)

-And, considering how much more sensitive cats' systems are to toxins,

No Christmas Cactus will be crossing my doorstep, either!
post #14 of 15
post #15 of 15
My mom had one the entire time I was growing up and all my cats had a gnaw of it at some point. They never got sick. BLAISE's info says they are considered a little tiny bit toxic, but not to the point of being lethal. I imagine your kitty would need to chow down for quite a while on your cactus before it caused major problems. Usually I would shoo mine away from the cactus just because I didn't want them getting into a habit of eating the house plants in general. Because, you know, my cats totally don't have edible and non-toxic FOOD available to them at all times or anything.
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