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Are Polka Dot Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet-Reviewed Houseplants Examined

Written by: Jessica Rossetti

Last Updated on January 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

Polka Dot Plant

Are Polka Dot Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet-Reviewed Houseplants Examined


Dr. Lorna Whittemore Photo


Dr. Lorna Whittemore


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The polka dot plant (Hypoestes phyllostachya) is also known as the pink polka dot plant, the measles plant, baby’s tears, or freckle face. The green leaves have freckled markings of pink that look like polka dots. The more sunlight the plant receives, the pinker the leaves will be. This plant is popular because of its unique spotting, adding a pop of color to a room.

If you have cats, you may be wondering if the polka dot plant is toxic to them. It’s important to make sure any plant that you bring into your home will be safe for your cats to be around. If you have cats that chew and swallow plant leaves, it’s vital to make sure the plants are not harmful.

The good news is that polka dot plants are not toxic to cats. They are safe for dogs, cats, and other animals.

divider-catclaw1 What if My Cat Eats a Polka Dot Plant?

If your cat chews on the leaves of a polka dot plant, this is mostly harmless. The plant isn’t toxic, so it won’t release toxins that poison your cat. It is not considered a dangerous plant for cats. However, just because something isn’t toxic doesn’t necessarily mean it should be eaten. Polka dot plants aren’t part of a cat’s natural diet and shouldn’t be consumed regularly.

If you notice that your cat has chewed a few leaves, this isn’t a cause for concern. But if you notice that they’ve chewed and eaten a few leaves, they may experience stomach upset or gastritis.

Eating large amounts of leaves could lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Introducing anything new to the digestive system can upset it. Cats have sensitive stomachs, and an abrupt change in their diet can trigger illness. These signs are usually mild and resolve on their own, but you should watch your cat for signs of a more serious problem.

If the vomiting and diarrhea don’t resolve on their own, contact your veterinarian. You should also call your vet if any of these signs also develop:

  • Excessive lip licking
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Hiding
  • Gagging
  • Refusing to eat or drink
Polka Dot Plant
Image by: Charles G. Haacker, Shutterstock

Keeping Your Cat Safe

It’s helpful to know that the polka dot plant is safe for your cat, but that doesn’t mean your cat should be encouraged to eat it.

If you have cats and houseplants, make sure to keep them both safe from one another. You don’t want your cat getting sick or your plants getting destroyed. If you can, use hanging baskets from the ceiling for your plants or keep them on high shelves. Devote a room to your plants that your cat can’t access. Use garden fencing or other barriers to block your cat’s access to the plants. Place aluminum foil balls or river rocks on the soil in the pots to keep cats from digging.

It’s better to keep your cats away from the plants in the first place rather than deal with any illnesses that arise if they eat or chew on them.

As always, be sure any plant that you bring into your home is safe for cats.

divider-catclaw1 Conclusion

The polka dot plant is a lovely addition to the home and can brighten any room. Fortunately, this plant is safe to have in the house if you’re a cat owner. The plant isn’t toxic to cats and won’t hurt them if they chew or eat the leaves. However, cats may experience stomach discomfort and illness if they eat large amounts of the leaves. If your cat eats this plant, watch for any vomiting or diarrhea. If the signs don’t clear up, contact your vet for treatment.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: RaksyBH, Shutterstock

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