Is dragon tree poisonous to cats? Dracaena marginata in the apartment
- So poisonous is the dragon tree
- Toxicity for cats
A popular variant of the dragon tree is the Dracaena Marginata with its concise red leaf margins. As popular as the dragon tree is as a houseplant, the intensive contact with the plant can be critical for many pets, especially the cats.
So poisonous is the dragon tree
In general, the Dracaena Marginata is classified as toxic and therefore discouraged by its attitude as a houseplant. Although the dragon tree has secondary plant substances with very serious effects, but these are effective only after intensive contact with the plant or even the consumption of plant components. Thus, the dragon tree per se can not be labeled as a poisonous plant. It is much more important to observe a few things when using it as a potted plant, especially in combination with pets.
Saponins make the dragon tree poisonous
The critical ingredients of the plant are the so-called saponins. These substances from the chemical group of glycosides have both hydrophilic and lipophilic properties. This means they are able to bond with both water and fat. Externally, this ability affects the formation of a white foam. The same saponins are, by the way, the reason for the action of the soap, which is precisely what this property of the multiple bond is and gave it its name.
On the other hand, if the saponins enter a human or animal organism, the actually positive properties turn negative, so that one can actually say that the substance is more or less toxic. The following symptoms can be expected at a sufficiently high concentration:
- stomach pain
- Irritation of the oral mucous membranes
- In extreme cases kidney damage and decay of red blood cells (anemia).
Toxicity for cats
Therefore, the contact with this houseplant is just so dangerous for cats
However, where human contact with the critical saponins usually goes unnoticed or with only minor symptoms, other housemates in the household suffer far more of the harmful effects, so the saponins can actually be considered toxic to them. Meant is the frequently encountered cat. In comparison to humans, cats are far smaller and thus also have a blatantly lower body mass, on which the absorbed saponin can spread. Thus, even a very small intake of the substance results in a significant enrichment per kilogram of body mass, so that the consequences can be expected very quickly with the described effects.
In addition, especially cats like to nibble on all other pets over and over again gladly on green plants and are thus predestined for a fast admission of the saponins.
These signs speak for a poisoning
Not every contact between the cat and the dragon tree is necessarily harmful. However, these signs suggest that the stub tiger has come into contact with the saponins from the Dracaena Marginata:
- Increased salivation from the irritated oral mucosa
- General changes in the behavior of the cat
If it is suspected that the pet has actually eaten single leaves or leaf parts of the dragon tree, there is no danger to life, but the animal should be closely monitored and a veterinarian should be consulted if symptoms increase. Otherwise, there will be permanent damage with all the resulting impairments to the well-being of the cat in the room.