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Old 11-13-2004, 03:31 PM
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Are spider plant leaves hallucinogenic to cats?

Dexter sent me.
  • This person I know has a spider plant within reach of their cat. Over the past couple of months the cat has been eating the leaves off the plant which causes the cat to act crazy and run around the house like a..........well madcat. Later on the cat continued to eat the leaves but then started attacking the plant too. Someone told me that spider plant leaves are like LSD to cat. So whats going on when the cat eats the leaves? Is it tripping off spider plant leaves or what? And why is the cat attacking the plant?
Old 11-13-2004, 05:32 PM
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Chasing things that aren't there is not unusual for healthy cats. Dashing around for no apparent reason is normal, too. None of my cats were fond of houseplants, but many are. None of this means your houseplant is harmless, so I'm not much help, I guess.
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Old 11-13-2004, 06:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCCT
Dexter sent me.
  • This person I know has a spider plant within reach of their cat. Over the past couple of months the cat has been eating the leaves off the plant which causes the cat to act crazy and run around the house like a..........well madcat. Later on the cat continued to eat the leaves but then started attacking the plant too. Someone told me that spider plant leaves are like LSD to cat. So whats going on when the cat eats the leaves? Is it tripping off spider plant leaves or what? And why is the cat attacking the plant?
"This person" must not have it all together.

Why let a cat continue to engage in behavior suspected of causing problems for the cat??
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spingears
Old 11-13-2004, 06:29 PM
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Spider plants are on this list of plants hazardous to cats. Get it out of the house or at least out of the reach of the cat.
Old 11-13-2004, 06:40 PM
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Location: NE Ohio (the 'burbs)
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One of my cats eats house plants, and spider plants are his favorite. He's 16.5 years old, and in perfect health. Yes, he sometimes runs around the house, but only before or after using the litter box, which is totally normal.

I hope I can run around like that when I'm his age (the equivalent of 82).

His buddy, who passed away several months ago, never ate plants and had all sorts of health problems.
Old 11-13-2004, 06:45 PM
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The spider plant is on the ASPCA's list of non-toxic plants No discredit to doctor Sue (daffyduck's link), but the internet is infested with anecdotally derived "poison plant" lists.
This compilation of the Toxicity of Common Houseplants, which in many cases gives the identity of the actual toxic agent, also lists the spider plant as being non-toxic.
Old 11-13-2004, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spingears
"This person" must not have it all together.

Why let a cat continue to engage in behavior suspected of causing problems for the cat??
Eh cant answer that specifically. I guess it's because she had no idea what was going on. Probably just laziness.

Some web site that had a FAQ on spider plant said a similar situation where a persons cat ate spider plant leaves and then acted "unusual" afterwards. They said that spider plant leaves are like LSD to a person. Now how they came to that conclusion I have no idea and no other web sites ive found have given any more detailed info.
Old 11-13-2004, 10:48 PM
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The January 27, 1995 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report does list spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) as the 17th most frequently reported plant associated with human poisoning. However the toxic saponins appear to be concentrated in the plant's root system. I think it'd take a trip to the library to get much further than that, and even then the chance of finding much that's specific to cats would be pretty small.

(The top 3 people poisoners are Philodendron (Philodendron sp.), Pepper (Capsicum annuum) and Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.).)
Old 11-14-2004, 02:52 AM
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Poinsettias are not poisonous either.
Old 11-14-2004, 03:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
(Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.).)
My mom had one of those, which I ate when I was about six or seven years old. Just a nibble.

She told me not to, too. She told me I'd never be able to talk again, and blahblahblah. But as soon as I could reach that thing... I don't know if I didn't believe her, or what, but damn. I think I've believed every word my mother's said since that day.
Old 11-14-2004, 09:47 AM
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Location: Richmond, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ouryL
Poinsettias are not poisonous either.
Yes, it is. It's considered low toxicity, but it's not perfectly safe and can make a cat sick.
Old 11-15-2004, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squink
(The top 3 people poisoners are Philodendron (Philodendron sp.), Pepper (Capsicum annuum) and Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia sp.).)
Gee -- then it was especially thoughtful for my Uncle and Aunt to send me and the wife a philodendron to celebrate the birth of our son....

NOT!
Old 11-21-2004, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bughunter
Gee -- then it was especially thoughtful for my Uncle and Aunt to send me and the wife a philodendron to celebrate the birth of our son....

NOT!
Philodendron, like many other aroids (things like Calla lily, Jack int he Pulpit, Philodendron, Diffenbachia (Dumbcane), Taro) contain crystals of calcium oxalate, which act as minute needles -- they pierce cell membranes and cause intense irritation, and burning. Certain palms have fruit which contain calcium oxalate, such as the Fishtail palms (Caryota). Fishtail palm fruit has so much of it that even handling the fruit can cause intense itching and burning on sensitive hands, so palm growers suggest wearing gloves when handling or processing caryota fruit.

Calcium oxalate is destroyed by throrough cooking, which is how taro is made edible (both the roots, and the leaves contain it). Diffenbachia contains so much calcium oxalate (and certain enzymes) that it causes severe swelling -- preventing one from being able to speak, and gaining the name "Dumb Cane". The enzymes which cause swelling are histamines and kinnins, which cause an allergic type reaction.

So, you get intense irritation, and allergic type relactions due to plant enzymes. Quite an effective arsenal. Most aroids go untouched by animals after they've had a sample of them.

Some aroids have toxic fruit until the fruit is thoroughly ripened. The Ceriman (AKA Swiss Cheese plant - Monstera deliciosa) has fruit that when unripe causes swelling, burning, and irritation, but when fully ripe it tastes like a mixture of pineapple and banana. Samplin unripe fruit is so memorable that one will never attempt it again. The Victorians used to grow this plant in their green houses for the fruit. Unfortunately this plant doesn't fruit in typical indoor situations (too dry usually), so most people with one will never get fruit.
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