My Cat Ate English Ivy: Should I Worry? (Solved & Explained!)

Cats seem to be very attracted to plants, regardless of whether or not said plants are good for them. While some cats like to play with them, others like to eat them. If your cat ate English Ivy, panic alarms may be going off in your head. 

English Ivy is a beautiful plant, but it should be kept out of reach of your cat due to its toxic properties. Your cat could potentially get very sick if they were to eat this particular plant. Since English Ivy tends to grow out and cascade out of their pots, it’s important to keep this plant high up in your home should you choose to bring one home. 

It’s important to know what signs to look for if your cat managed to eat some English Ivy. 

If My Cat Ate English Ivy, What Do I Do? 

No matter how careful you are, cats are sneaky and stealthy and might get their paws on your plants. If you suspect your cat has eaten some English ivy, check the plant itself to see if you can find some teeth marks. This might give you an indication as to how much they ate. You should check the plant if you caught them in the act as well. 

Since this plant is known to be toxic to cats, it’s recommended to call your vet or an emergency vet as soon as you can. Tell them what plant the cat ate and how much you believe they ate. They will either recommend you take them to get checked out, or monitor their condition and take them to an emergency vet should they exhibit worrying symptoms. 

Some symptoms your cat might exhibit include: 

  • Abdominal Upset
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypersalivation (excessive saliva production) 
  • Mouth Irritation 
  • Loss Of Appetite 

Why Is English Ivy Toxic To Cats?

There’s a component in English Ivy that’s called triterpenoid saponins. This particular element is known to cause gastrointestinal distress in cats, as well as in dogs and horses. Since cats have sensitive tummies, it can cause a very uncomfortable few days for your kitty should they manage to eat some of this plant. 

English ivy can also cause allergic reactions in some people when touched, such as irritation and itchiness. There is also the potential that contact with the plant can cause a rash for some people. As such, the plant needs to be handled with care. 

How Toxic Is English Ivy To Cats?

The level of toxicity your cat experiences will all depend on how many English Ivy leaves they manage to gnaw on. A couple small bites is likely not going to bother them too much. A few bites may cause some upset, but there’s a good chance your cat will be able to just pass the leaves in a couple of days. 

As to be expected, the more English Ivy your cat consumes, the higher the chances they experience distressing symptoms. Since the plant is toxic, there is the potential that the consumption of a large amount of English Ivy leaves could be fatal. 

Why Do Cats Like House Plants?

Plants remind cats of grass, which many of them enjoy nibbling on. Before cats were domesticated, they would often nibble on plants or grass, either to get nutrients or to help regulate their gastrointestinal tract. Since cats can’t distinguish between safe and toxic plants, your cat might just go for any plant they see. 

When it comes to English Ivy, its long, draping branches are likely to attract especially playful kitties. Even if your cat doesn’t have any desire to eat it, they might look at your English ivy as a toy and knock it over. 

How To Keep Cats Away From English Ivy Plants

It’s not recommended you keep an English ivy plant in your home if your cat sees all your plants as snacks. If you like the look of the plant, there are high quality artificial plants you can opt for instead to get the same look. Otherwise, you will have to take extra care to keep your English ivy out of the reach of your kitty. 

Be sure that your English ivy is set on top of a high shelf in a spot that your cat can’t climb or jump to. You also want to keep the branches trimmed so they don’t grow too long, as your cat might try to reach them to either eat or play with. 

If you have a cat that is very intrigued by plants, consider purchasing them some cat-friendly grass from the pet store. This grass is something your cat can nibble on at their leisure without causing them gastrointestinal stress. Bring it out for them as a treat, or use it to distract them from your English ivy and other plants. 

Are Any Houseplants Safe For Cats?

Cats should not have the opportunity to eat any houseplants, even if they are safe. However, if you love how real plants add freshness and vitality to your home, there are some that are much less harmful for cats to be around should they happen to take a bite. 

Some houseplants that are safe to have around cats include spider plants, ponytail palms, haworthia, bird’s nest ferns, and Boston ferns. Just be sure that your cat doesn’t get into the soil and isn’t given free reign to eat as much of the plant as they want. If you treat your plants with any type of herbicide or pesticides, keep your cats far away from them. 

Final Thoughts 

While English ivy is a beautiful plant, there are risks associated with having them in a home with a cat. It’s crucial to keep this plant out of reach of your kitty, and to monitor them closely should they happen to get their paws or their mouths on it. 

It’s possible to find artificial English ivy should you like the look of the plant but don’t want to risk your cat’s wellness if they can’t resist a houseplant.