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Is a Coffee Plant Toxic To Cats?

The Coffee Tree is highly toxic to cats. Meanwhile, the Coffee Arabica plant’s leaves, bark, or sap are not toxic, but the coffee beans are. Keep toxic plants away from your cats/pets where they can’t reach them. If your cat has been in contact with a coffee tree or ingested a fair amount of caffeine then it’s highly recommended to take them to your vet as soon as possible.

You may have a coffee plant at home and wonder if it’s toxic to your cats. After all, you don’t want them to get sick or even worse. This is why I’ve done some research the past few days to see how safe coffee plants are for your cat.

Let’s get started.

Is a Coffee Plant Toxic To Cats?

First, we need to know what plant we’re talking about. We have the Coffee Arabica plant and the Coffee Tree plant, also known as Wild Coffee.

Is The Coffee Arabica Plant Toxic To Cats?

This is the plant that produces the coffee cherry which contains the bean we grind and brew and is NOT toxic to cats. But the beans are toxic since they contain caffeine and anything that has caffeine in it needs to be as far away from your pets as possible as they don’t handle the substance as well as humans. The leaves, bark, or sap are not toxic to cats.

Is The Coffee Tree Plant Toxic To Cats?

Wild Coffee, geranium-leaf aralia, and aralia are all names for the coffee tree native to North and Central America. It’s often used in home gardening settings in the United States due to its towering height and dense foliage.

This plant is unfortunately highly toxic to not only cats but also other animals like dogs and horses since it contains saponins. These toxins are known to cause irritation on the cat’s skin or its oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract if the toxin is eaten.

This can cause contact dermatitis, vomiting, anorexia, and depression.

Common Symptoms of Coffee Tree Poisoning

If your cat eats a small quantity of coffee tree or is only exposed to it on the skin for a short period, then it may not show any symptoms.

However, if your cat consumes a considerable amount of this plant then it’s recommended to contact your vet as soon as possible.

The Symptoms include:

  • Contact dermatitis (skin rashes)
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heart rate

Even though it’s rare for coffee tree poisoning to be fatal or lead to any life-threatening complications, it is definitely important to take your cat to a vet for medical treatment as soon as possible.

Common Symptoms of Caffeine Toxicity in Cats

Your cat probably won’t die from a bit of caffeine but if you notice they ate a fair amount of coffee beans or drank a lot from your morning cup of joe then it’s best to take them to a vet. They eat and drink anything that comes along their way and won’t stop, that’s why caffeine toxicity is so dangerous to them.

Cats and dogs get the same symptoms as we do on caffeine but they can handle a lot less than us. Caffeine toxicity starts within 30 to 60 minutes after consumption and symptoms include:

  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Extremely rapid or irregular heartbeat

If you notice that your cat has an extremely rapid or irregular heartbeat after caffeine consumption then you need to take them to a vet as soon as possible as this can be lethal.

Clinical signs can last for up to 6 to 12 hours or more, depending on the dose of caffeine ingested.

How Do You Keep Cats Away From Toxic Plants?

Of course, you love your cats, but also your plants. Unfortunately, there are many safe plants for humans that can be toxic to cats. This could give them an upset stomach or even worse.

The best solution to keep both of them safe is to put your toxic plants in places where cats can’t reach them (which can be challenging, I know). High shelves or cabinets are usually a good option.

If that’s not a solution then you can always use a cat-proof barrier around the plants. Another option is to simply get plants that are safe for you and your kitty. Lavender and rosemary and just a few of the many beautiful and safe options out there for your cats.

The Bottom Line

To keep things short, it’s important to keep any toxic plants away from your cat. If they get in touch with either a Coffee Tree or ingested caffeine then you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

The best solution is to keep the plants out of reach from cats or to simply get safe plants for you and your kitties.

If you notice your cat having any of the symptoms above then contact your vet immediately.


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