Why mistletoe and holly are the two main Christmas plants poisonous to cats

Posted by Nurse Whiskers. December 13th 2015.

During the Christmas period it’s nice to decorate your home with some seasonal plants.

As a pet owner, you are probably aware that there are some plants poisonous to cats and, unfortunately, Mistletoe and Holly are among them.

Mistletoe and Holly and their berries are high in toxicity and more harmful to cats than, for example a Poinsettia.

Cats and mistletoe do not mix well

Cat poisoning symptoms

Holly and Mistletoe can be very harmful if eaten by your cat.

Symptoms to look out for include:

  • Severely upset stomach – vomiting and diarrhoea
  • Sudden drop in blood pressure
  • Breathing trouble
  • Unusual behaviour caused by hallucinations
  • Seizures

If a large amount is eaten, it can be fatal for your cat.

Poinsettias are less toxic but can still cause your cat to be ill. If eaten, your cat might show signs of vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive drooling.

The symptoms usually clear within a few hours, but if they are particularly severe or you are worried, then consult your vet.

Argos Pet Insurance customers can always ring 0800 197 6717 for advice and to get their questions answered quickly.

Try to keep your cat away from holly and mistletoe this Christmas

Keeping your cat safe

Dogs and cats sometimes chew plants to help with digestion.

For dogs, the vitamins can help pass their normal food through their intestines.

Cats, on the other hand, sometimes chew plants to help them bind hair in their stomachs, making it easier for them to cough up hairballs.

Many cats, especially indoor cats, do not know which plants are safe to eat and will therefore try anything.

Be warned, though, even the dried versions of plants can still contain enough toxicity to harm your pets.

Always make sure Mistletoe and Holly are well out of reach – which is easier said than done as cats are great climbers!

The safest method is to keep the plants out of your home completely. Consider getting an artificial version of the plant – but still be aware that your cat might try to nibble on it.

Take action

If you think your cat has eaten Mistletoe or Holly or is showing any of the symptoms above, always consult your vet immediately.

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