POISINDEX, the national information center for poison control
centers, says that a 50-pound child would have to eat 500-600 leaves
to exceed the experimental doses in the Ohio State study that found
Children and pets would be unlikely to
eat more than a leaf or two due to the astringent nature of the sap
and the unpleasant taste. The milky sap can cause skin irritation in
sensitive individuals, and can inflame the more sensitive tissues in
the mouth and esophagus. Those who consume enough of the plant may
experience nausea and vomiting but nothing life-threatening.
In a study by Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and
Carnegie Mellon University, there was no toxicity of any kind in
22,793 poinsettia exposures. The study was based on data collected
nationwide by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.
Nevertheless, a 1995 survey by the Society of American Florists
found that 66 percent of adult participants believed poinsettias to
You should be more concerned about the other
houseplants your kitten has been after. Many common houseplants are
toxic to cats, including asparagus fern (Asparagus aethiopicus),
jade plant (Crassula argentea), dumbcane (Dieffenbachia),
corn plant (Dracaena fragrans), pothos (Epipremnum aureum),
amaryllis (Hippeastrum spp.), lilies (Lilium spp.),
heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron spp.) and peace lily (Spathiphyllum
spp.). While this is not an exhaustive list, it hits some of the
most common houseplants known to be toxic to cats.