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Ok, today I learned that cats and dogs can be poisonous to different things. I always kind of assumed that they were similar in terms of toxicity resistance, but clearly not.
If you can’t find information on a plant’s toxicity, let’s err on the side of caution, and not buy it, if you worry your cat/dog/llama will have a cheeky nibble.
Before getting into this, it’s worth mentioning that just because something is poisonous, it doesn’t mean it’ll kill whoever ate it.
Just because your dog eats an entire box of chocolates doesn’t mean it’s going to die. Some dogs are extremely resilient. I mean, alcohol is poisonous to humans, but it can be drunk without immediate death.
I’ll try to give an idea of how toxic a plant is, rather than a yes/no answer. This is a great article on we shouldn’t panic about most houseplants and pets.
Gosh, what a cheery topic.
I’ve included rabbits, because I have two. I have no idea if I’ll find any information on house rabbits vs. monstera, but we shall see.
How toxic are Monstera deliciosa?
We don’t know. Nobody’s eaten enough of them, and scientists haven’t really tested them. Research into aroids is practically non-existent.
Monstera have calcium oxalate crystals in them, so I advise that you don’t eat them BUT the presence of calcium oxalate crystals does NOT automatically make a plant toxic.
You know what other plants contain calcium oxalate crystals?
Aaaand most other veggies.
Also, some aroids like kalo can be painful to eat raw (stabbing pains in the mouth anyone?) but delicious when cooked.
As long as you (or your pets/kids)don’t eat large amounts of Monstera on a regular basis, there’s unlikely to be any long-term ill-effects from eating Monstera leaves.
This article has some awesome insights from botanists on the subject of toxic aroids.
Are Monstera Deliciosa poisonous to cats?
Monstera deliciosa contain calcium oxalates, so they’re poisonous to cats. I would recommend either keeping it somewhere that your cat can’t get to, or not having one.
Unlike Dieffenbachia, Monstera are only toxic if ingested. Should your cat brush up against a Monstera, it’ll be fine.
Before you cast your Monstera into the fire, they’re only mildly toxic, so your cat would have to eat a lot of it to endanger itself.
Also, the nature of the toxins means that your cat will get a stinging sensation in its mouth if it eats a Monstera. I’d like to say that one nibble should deter any future ones, but it would totally depend on your cat.
If your cat is regularly eating your Monstera, it could end up poisoning itself, so separate them.
I wouldn’t get one if I had a cat, to be honest. But if you already have a cat and a Monstera, don’t panic. Just keep an eye on both.
There are ways to protect plants from cats, but it really just depends on how determined your cat is.
Are Monstera Deliciosa poisonous to dogs?
Yes, same deal.
I didn’t think that dogs would eat house plants, but a quick google concluded that some dogs eat house plants because they’re trying to settle their stomach.
Even more dogs just…like to eat stuff they’re not meant to. Fair enough.
Are Monstera Deliciosa poisonous to rabbits?
Yes. The difference here is that apparently rabbits either don’t get the stinging sensation, Monstera taste good enough for them to ignore it, OR they like the stinging.
Your rabbit will actively SEEK OUT your Monstera and try to eat it.
There’s a whole (now edited) reddit thread about some poor girl moving a stool next to her Monstera so her rabbit can reach it better. People were way too harsh to her, but COME ON? Always Google before giving your pets any new food.
I protect all my plants from my rabbits after the great Calathea Incident of 2019 (to be fair, we accidentally left one door open too many) because they will find one they like and eat the whole thing.
Even the newly forming leaves, so you end up with Orbifolia leaves like this:
Rabbits tend to avoid plants they don’t like but it hugely depends on the individual bunny. Realistically, we don’t know how much Monstera a rabbit would have to eat to hurt itself, which is why I recommend we err on the side of caution.
Monstera and rabbits come from opposite sides of the world, and would rarely come into contact. I doubt there’s much information on Monstera vs bunny out there, so just keep them apart until we know more!
Are Monstera Deliciosa poisonous to humans?
Yes, but to what degree we don’t know. You’d have to eat a significant amount on a regular basis to do any real damage so…don’t.
I’d like to think we would stop eating a plant once it starts to sting our mouth, but one never knows.
I don’t have kids, so I have no idea how likely a toddler would be to eat a plant. Monstera leaves are pretty tough, so the kid would have to really try to get a mouthful.
Definitely keep your Monstera out of reach, but also remember that a kid would have to eat a sizeable chunk of Monstera for it to do much damage.
Are all parts of Monstera poisonous?
They’re called Monstera Deliciosa because they’re big (monstrous, you might say) and they produce a delicious fruit.
The unripe fruit contains the same calcium oxalates as the leaves, and will also sting your mouth and cause kidney failure if you eat an excessive amount.
Oxalic acid is, by the way, the active ingredient in Barkeeper’s Friend, which is a cleaning product designed to clean anything of everything. Make sure your Monstera fruit is ripe guys – your insides do NOT need to be cleaned with Barkeeper’s Friend.
But I’m confident that it won’t produce fruit in the front bedroom of a semi-detached house in North Yorkshire. Monsteras rarely flower outside of natural/greenhouse conditions, so accidentally picking an unripe fruit and stinging your mouth is…unlikely.
Quickfire questions on Monstera toxicity
Can Monstera deliciosa kill you?
No. not unless you purposely eat pounds of it every day.
Is Monstera deliciosa poisonous to touch?
No, though it’s bet practice to wear gloves when taking cuttings just in case. I don’t (because lazy) and have never had an adverse reaction BUT you may have a slight allergy and end up with a rash or something.
Is Monstera deliciosa poisonous to babies?
Whilst it’s unlikely to cause long term harm, the short term effects aren’t very pleasant, so keep babies away from Monstera.
What happens if a cat/dog/baby eats a Monstera leaf?
Probably nothing, but keep a close eye on them and be prepared to take them to the vet/doctor. Allergies happen.
Outside dogs and cats, there’s not much information about the animals that can or can’t eat Monstera, so I’m going to advise that you don’t let ANY pets chomp on plants.
The ones that aren’t poisonous are apparently delicious. Especially Calathea.