Most people are unaware that the plant that produces our morning coffee also makes excellent houseplants. Coffea arabica is the botanical name for the evergreen plant, which produces white star-shaped blooms in the spring.
Annually, we consume hundreds of thousands of tones of coffee, tea, and chocolate from botanical plants such as this. Coffee plant care is simple and rewarding, and the coffee plant’s dark green glossy ruffled foliage is undoubtedly appealing to the eye.
What better way to take your morning coffee than by looking at your coffee plant? While common, there are reports that these plants are harmful to pets, particularly cats.
In our guide, you can find out more about these plants and the side effects if your cats come into contact with them. By the end, you’ll find mild exposure could lead to diarrhea and an upset stomach. If worse, then you may need to call the pet poison helpline for more info.
Are Coffee Plants Toxic To Animals?
Wild coffee, geranium-leaf aralia, and aralia are all names for the coffee tree native to North and Central America. Because of its towering height and dense foliage, it is often used in home gardening settings in the United States.
Unfortunately, the coffee tree includes saponins, toxins that can irritate a cat’s skin or cause inflammation in his mouth and gastrointestinal tract if chewed or consumed. They can be exposed if they rub against the plants.
Even though coffee tree poisoning is rarely lethal or life-threatening, it is best to take your cat to the vet for medical treatment.
It should be noted, that it isn’t just cats that can suffer. Your dog and even horses can become ill with exposure, exposure to the plant, or chewing on a bloom. (Learn Can You Put Hot Coffee In Glass)
Common Symptoms of Coffee Tree Poisoning
If cats eat a small quantity of coffee tree or are only exposed to it on the skin for a short period, they may not show any symptoms.
However, if your cat consumes a considerable amount of these house plants, they may develop symptoms as soon as the exposure occurs, including:
- Contact dermatitis
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
- Weakness and Fatigue
- Increased heart rate
How To Diagnose Coffee Tree Poisoning in Cats
Take your cat to a veterinarian if you observe him touching or chewing on the part of house plants like the coffee tree or if you notice any signs of coffee tree poisoning.
Describe the symptoms seen and when they appeared. If possible, it helps to take a part of the tree your cat was chewing or even a vomit sample so the vet can make a more accurate diagnosis.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a test for coffee tree poisoning in cats. Any diagnosis will be made from the symptoms and studying vomit contents.
Coffee Tree Poisoning Treatment For Cats
Once the vet determines your cat has coffee tree poisoning, he’ll start treatment.
Your cat may need IV fluids because of dehydration from to excessive vomiting and diarrhea.
The vet could also induce vomiting and use activated charcoal to absorb toxins from your cat eating the coffee beans. In addition, the vet may use gastric lavage to clean your cat’s stomach.
If your cat has no GI symptoms, it may only suffer from topical coffee tree exposure, and it could be a corticosteroid injection to reduce skin inflammation.
Cat’s Coffee Tree Poisoning Recovery
The bulk of cats will recover completely from coffee tree poisoning. In reality, after consuming a part of a coffee tree, it is extremely rare for a cat to experience any problems.
The sooner you bring your cat to the vet for treatment, the higher his chances of recovering fully, just like with other types of poisoning.
Consult your vet to see if you need to adjust your cat’s diet for the following few days as his body recovers.
Because your cat’s stomach may be sensitive because of the treatment, the veterinarian may advise you to feed him only soft foods until he has fully healed.
You’ll need to keep your cat away from your coffee tree and try to keep them indoors as much as possible. (Learn How Long To Microwave Water For Coffee)
Avoid Accidental Pet Poisoning
Many potentially harmful toxic compounds exist in our homes, including various poisonous foods for pets and household pet toxins.
While the list is extensive, it is handy to know some of the more common that can make your cat or dog sick.
Here are a few things pet owners should be wary of leaving out in case cats or dogs take a fancy to them. You can get more information from the Pet Poison Helpline if you want the complete list.
Is Arabian Coffee Plant Toxic To Cats?
Single-serve coffee pod brewers are the latest trend to get the best-tasting coffee.
Unfortunately, it isn’t just us attracted to the incredible smells they offer. Coffee pods are tempting to dogs and are easily accessible when we leave them next to the coffee machine.
Caffeine is present in coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee and is harmful to cats and dogs, and if ingestion is high enough, it could be toxic and life-threatening. According to the Pet Poison Helpline, a moderate amount of coffee can quickly kill dogs and cats.
Chocolate, tea, soda, energy drinks, and diet pills can all contain caffeinated compounds, among many others you need to keep away from your pets.
Xylitol is used in sugarless gum, candy, chewable vitamins, cough medicine, and other produce such as peanut butter.
Xylitol poisons dogs, and the effects can be instant and life-threatening, where signs of poisoning can be seen within 30 minutes.
Most pet owners know that alcohol is hazardous, while some think enjoying a beer with their pet is humorous.
Sadly, alcohol poisoning in pets is prevalent, say specialists.
You may be surprised at where you can find alcohol leading to poisoning in pets: pure vanilla, almond extract, wine vinegar, rum-soaked fruit, and raw food such as unbaked dough.
The unbaked dough is dangerous with ingestion as the yeast ferments in your pet’s stomach. Here, carbon dioxide and alcohol are made and absorbed into the bloodstream.
Alcohol causes drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature reductions, where pets can suffer seizures and respiratory collapse if ingested.
Coffee Plant Care
If you want these poisonous house plants in your home (you have no cats), it is best to know how to care for them.
Peat moss is a good ground for coffee plants. Provide indirect light in an east or west-facing window if possible.
In the winter, maintain the soil by reducing watering.
Arabia has grown Coffea arabica for 1,000 years. In 3 to 4 years, it flowers with fragrant white flowers.
Following the blossoms, green beans turn crimson and brown-black as they ripen.
Horticultural sand and peat moss make good coffee plant soil. However, coffee plants prefer slightly acidic soil as their natural habitat, and Coffea arabica demand well-draining soil with an ideal pH range of 4.5–6.
In the wild, the coffee plant likes bright indirect light. Place it near a window and limit direct sunlight to two hours a day. If your plant gets direct morning sunshine, the leaves may scorch.
Coffee plants need moist but not soaking wet soil. To do this, you’ll need a pot with drainage holes, so the soil doesn’t stay too wet after watering. (Learn How To Make Coffee Thicker)
A coffee plant’s optimal temperature ranges from 64°F to 75°F (18°C to 25°C). Ensure the temperature does not drop below 64 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).
In a hardiness zone of 6 to 11, Coffea arabica can be cultivated outdoors.
The optimal humidity level for a coffee plant is 50% or higher. Increased humidity benefits coffee plants because it resembles how they grow in nature. You should either place your Coffea arabica on a pebble tray filled with water or spritz it daily.
Fertilize a coffee plant only in spring and summer and use a well-balanced fertilizer every second week. Dilute to half the recommended strength and reduce fertilizer use in winter to no more than once a month.
Do not fertilize in the first year when just repotted.
Seed or Propagation
Seeds are the greatest way to reproduce coffee plants, with cuttings being more challenging. At least two seeds are found in each fruit.
Seeds must be fresh, as the odds of sprouting seeds diminish rapidly after a few weeks.
Coffee plants can reach a height of 15 feet (4.6m) in the wild and 6 feet as a houseplant (1.8m).
You can prune your plant because Coffea arabica will not droop or wilt if you do so.
The more of the top you chop off, the bushier your plant will get because it won’t have to expend as much energy to grow higher.
Repot a coffee plant in spring. Summer repotting is second-best. Make sure to increase the pot size by only 1-2 inches so plant roots can grow with it. Too large a pot means over-watering.
If your coffee plant’s pot is too tiny, it may get root-bound. Coffea arabica grows quickly and has strong roots, so repotting is required. Spring is great.
Are House Plants Safe For Dogs And Cats?
As a cat or dog owner, you may be worried that some indoor gardening house plants are dangerous to pets and create vomiting.
Some plants contain toxic substances that, when touched or eaten by animals, can cause poisoning or allergy.
Indoor cats, in particular, enjoy chewing on greenery, and they have no idea which house plants are safe for cats! So providing cat grass to keep your house cat from munching on your plants could be a smart idea.
Fertilized water that plants have not entirely absorbed can threaten cats and other pets.
Cats like to drink from the saucers indoors beneath plants, which can be dangerous while feeding fertilizer to plants.