Plumeria is a popular decorative flowering plant, which can be grown both indoors and outdoors. If you’re a pet owner and planning to grow this bloom, you’re probably asking, are plumeria poisonous to cats?
In this post, I discussed this plant and how safe it is to grow around felines. Read on before you consider getting this plant for your home.
What is the plumeria plant?
Plumeria is a flowering plant also known as Frangipani or Kalachuchi in Asia. Most of these plants are shrubs or small trees, which makes them an attractive choice as an ornamental plants in gardens.
But since it can also grow in pots, plumerias are also considered indoor plants in colder areas.
Moreover, plumeria is a tropical plant widely available in many Asian countries. It’s also used in Hawaii to make leis.
Plumeria is available in 12 species and various colors like pink, red, yellow, white, orange, or a combination of these.
It usually blooms between May and November. Plumerias placed under direct sunlight and planted on the ground tend to have more blooms.
Is plumeria toxic to cats?
Plumeria isn’t severely toxic to felines, but it can still cause irritations enough to require veterinary attention. This is why you should never let your cat chew, lick, or ingest any part of this plant.
Since each cat is different, its reaction to plumeria will also vary. Still, you should note that these conditions can occur to a feline exposed to the plant:
1. Mouth irritation
When your cat chews or licks the milky sap of this plant, it will suffer from mouth irritation. You’ll notice your kitty drooling and licking endlessly.
Depending on how much sap it licked, this irritation would usually subside without causing serious harm to your cat. You can also wipe its mouth and brush its teeth to remove the sap.
2. Gastrointestinal upset
In cases when a feline ingests the plumeria sap or parts of the plant, gastrointestinal upset will set in. This includes diarrhea and vomiting, which is something you should watch out for.
Most cats will vomit the plumeria they ingested, the same way they would spit out undigested grass.
After your pet has expelled much of the plumeria it ingested, you can give lactose-free milk. This will help reset the cat’s stomach, calm its digestive system, and supply hydration to avoid dehydration.
3. Decreased appetite
Due to gastrointestinal upset, cats that ate plumeria will also refuse to consume its meals. Usually, once the kitty has vomited the plumeria, it will start to feel better.
However, this also depends on the amount your pet ingested. If the feline consumed the most toxic parts, it may suffer from the next problem.
4. Potential toxicity
As mentioned, plumeria isn’t heavily toxic for cats. However, ingestion of the bark and stem will trigger a more serious set of symptoms, which can point to mild poisoning.
It’s because the bark and stem of plumeria have a higher concentration of terpenoid and iridoid toxins. Both can trigger severe GI upset as well as diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to the risk of dehydration.
Overall, the plumeria’s stem and bark are more toxic. It is quite worrying if you have this plant in your garden since the bark is easily accessed by cats.
What to do if your cat ate plumeria
If your cat ingested plumeria, you should observe it in the succeeding hours. You should also try to figure out what part it ingested.
Moreover, you should consider calling the veterinarian, especially if your kitty has started to experience diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy.
If your cat’s diarrhea isn’t subsiding for 12 or more hours, you should bring it to the vet’s clinic immediately. Although plumeria poisoning could be mild, dehydration is your biggest enemy.
For mild cases that don’t include severe GI symptoms, wiping the kitty’s mouth and letting it drink some lactose-free milk would be enough. Still, keep monitoring for 24 hours for any potential signs of toxicity.
How to keep cats safe from plumeria plant
The best way to prevent the problems above is to keep your cat safe from plumerias. Below are some of the steps you can take:
1. Keep the cat indoors
First, always keep your cat indoors, so it won’t explore around and target your plumerias. Make sure that your doors and windows are shut if you have a notorious escape artist.
You should do this even more if you have other toxic plants for cats growing in your garden. Some of these are azaleas, spring bulbs, daffodils, chrysanthemums, and so on.
2. Leash your cat
If you’re going to bring your cat outdoors, make sure that it’s on a leash and harness. This way, it won’t run straight to your plumeria and snack on some leaves, flowers, or bark.
Also, never let your cat roam your yard unsupervised. Aside from the risk of eating toxic plants, the kitty may jump off your fence and escape.
3. Spray citrus scents on the plumeria bark
For cats that are over-eager to chew on plumeria, a spritz of pure lemon juice could be the solution to stop the habit. Simply spray the sour juice on the plumeria’s trunk near the base.
Overall, citrus is one of the smells cats hate. You can also use mints and essential oils, but make sure that you dilute them in water first.
4. Apply a bitter spray
If the citrus hack didn’t work on your plumeria-obsessed kitty, you can try a bitter apple instead. This is a non-toxic very bitter spray that you can purchase in most pet stores.
Once your cat licks or chews the plumeria plant, it will be overwhelmed by the unpleasant taste. Over time, your cat will leave the plumeria alone.
5. Don’t grow plumerias indoors
Lastly, avoid growing potted plumerias inside your home. This way, your cat won’t have direct access to the plant.
Unlike dogs, cats are trained climbers. So even if you elevate the pot on a shelf, your kitty can easily target it.
Is the plumeria scent dangerous to cats?
Overall, sniffing plumeria flowers isn’t harmful to cats. However, most kitties are too intrigued and they will surely try to have a taste of it.
But if your kitty just sniffed the flowers and left, there’s nothing to worry about. Still, you should err on the side of caution and not allow the cat to get near the plant.
Plumerias are hardy plants, but it should be grown with caution among pet owners. This plant still has a toxicity level if ingested by animals.
Make sure that your kitty doesn’t have access to your blooms, whether it’s plumeria or not. It’s because many flowering plants are also toxic to felines.