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The Ubiquitous Poinsettias and Cats

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Curiosity kills the cat, but not poinsettias, depending who you ask.  Yet the popular Christmas plant is flora non grata with many pet lovers.  Old wives tails caution against keeping the flower in your house during the holidays for fear that it will kill your cat.  Keeping plants out of reach of your pet, canine and feline, is still a good idea, but the ASPA website says it’s not necessary to banish the favored Christmas flower over fear of fatal exposure.

Poinsettias are a staple of the Christmas Season, but it is possible that your pet could get sick if they think it’s catnip or kibble?  What would Christmas be without the famed flora?  It’d be like Easter without lilies, Halloween without costumes and candy.  But is the ubiquitous plant actually toxic?  To answer that question it would be a good idea to seek professional assistance..

“Poinsettias don’t kill cats,” local florist Judy Wollet said flatly.  She is the owner of Designs by Judy on Wolf Lake Road engaged in the busy holiday season.  “It mutes them temporarily,” Wollet said.  “Still, it’s not healthy for them to eat them.”

Wollet sells a lot of holiday floral arrangements, including the ubiquitous plant loved by many yet feared by cat ladies who wear sun dresses and straw hats and drink chamomile tea.  This Saturday the greenhouse will begin its annual open house, coinciding with Christmas and the annual Festival of Lights in the Village  set for this Saturday.

The open house at Judy’s hothouse continues until December 8. Designs by Judy also is participating in the downtown event’s cookie tour.  With the changing of the seasons the greenhouse displays inventory themed to Christmas.  Grave blankets are popular in the winter as are floral arrangement, including Christmas trees, holiday home decorations, gifts and centerpieces, and yes,  poinsettias.

Anybody anxious about their animals and the favorite Christmas flowers might do well to consult veterinarians.  I did.  I have two young cats but I’m more anxious that I’ll kill the flowers.  Grass Lake Animal Hospital on Norvell Road says that the flower isn’t dangerous to house pets.  However, there is the potential for the animal, cat or dog, to suffer from an upset stomach if they eat the leaves.

Brooklyn Road Vet Clinic says they are toxic, as are lilies; both plants have chemicals in them that could be noxious to house pets, the vet tech in Napoleon told me.   So there’s a deadlock.  Multiple phone calls to Cascade Humanity Society in Jackson yielded no information and attempts to contact the professionals proved to be futile.

It appears that the poinsettia has gotten a bad rap in the plant world, has a bad reputation as a deadly beauty.  Keeping this plant out of reach of your pets to avoid stomach problems is a good idea but the same could be said about overindulging in eggnog, Christmas cookies, and razzleberry dressing.

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