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Frequently (and not so frequently) Asked Questions

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BRIEF: What is the toxicity of pothos and wandering jew on kittens?


QUESTION:
I AM REQUESTING INFORMATION REGARDING THE FOLLOWING PLANTS AND THE TOXICITY THEY HAVE: POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM) AND "THE WANDERING JEW" (SCIENTIFIC NAME NOT KNOWN). ANY HYPERLINKS, LITERATURE, STUDIES, OR ANY OTHER MISC. FINDINGS WOULD BE OF GREAT HELP. I HAVE A 14 WK OLD KITTEN WHO INGESTED THE POTHOS PLANT. I AM HAVING A TERRIBLY DIFFICULT TIME FIND INFORMATION REGARDING THIS PLANT. YOUR HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. I AM REQUESTING INFORMATION REGARDING THE FOLLOWING PLANTS AND THE TOXICITY THEY HAVE: POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM)

ANSWER:

Epipremnum aureum (pothos), like so many house plants, has microscopic oxylate crystals that cause burning, painful irritation if bitten (and for sensitive skin, if touched!). Your kitten may have had a swollen inflamed mouth cavity after eating this, and if it remembers, it won't eat it again! Florists that have to handle this plant all the time often get a painful rash or experience pain on the skin from touching it. Most of us will touch it twice: When we bring it home and when we throw it out, so it is not a very dangerous plant. If it teaches your kitten not to chew on house plants, then it is a great plant, because some house plants are more toxic. Tradescantia albiflora, (Wandering Jew), and 60 other species of Tradescantia: Some people find this plant irritating to the eyes or skin (2% of tested population), but not many. I don't know what the irritant is. There are no documented cases that I could find of anyone being poisoned by eating it, but since it is rarely eaten and is irritating, that doesn't mean it is not poison, it just means we don't know and don't think so... Is it displaying any negative symptoms that you can associate with eating the pothos? See Toxicity of House Plants by Spoerke and Smolinske (CRC Press)


QUESTION:
I AM REQUESTING INFORMATION REGARDING THE FOLLOWING PLANTS AND THE TOXICITY THEY HAVE: POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM) AND "THE WANDERING JEW" (SCIENTIFIC NAME NOT KNOWN). ANY HYPERLINKS, LITERATURE, STUDIES, OR ANY OTHER MISC. FINDINGS WOULD BE OF GREAT HELP. I HAVE A 14 WK OLD KITTEN WHO INGESTED THE POTHOS PLANT. I AM HAVING A TERRIBLY DIFFICULT TIME FIND INFORMATION REGARDING THIS PLANT. YOUR HELP WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED. I AM REQUESTING INFORMATION REGARDING THE FOLLOWING PLANTS AND THE TOXICITY THEY HAVE: POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM)

ANSWER:

Epipremnum aureum (pothos), like so many house plants, has microscopic oxylate crystals that cause burning, painful irritation if bitten (and for sensitive skin, if touched!). Your kitten may have had a swollen inflamed mouth cavity after eating this, and if it remembers, it won't eat it again! Florists that have to handle this plant all the time often get a painful rash or experience pain on the skin from touching it. Most of us will touch it twice: When we bring it home and when we throw it out, so it is not a very dangerous plant. If it teaches your kitten not to chew on house plants, then it is a great plant, because some house plants are more toxic. Tradescantia albiflora, (Wandering Jew), and 60 other species of Tradescantia: Some people find this plant irritating to the eyes or skin (2% of tested population), but not many. I don't know what the irritant is. There are no documented cases that I could find of anyone being poisoned by eating it, but since it is rarely eaten and is irritating, that doesn't mean it is not poison, it just means we don't know and don't think so... Is it displaying any negative symptoms that you can associate with eating the pothos? See Toxicity of House Plants by Spoerke and Smolinske (CRC Press)