Are cats attracted to poisonous poinsettias?

It is believed that domestic cats don’t see red but it is suggested that they are attracted to the red poinsettia houseplant, which if true is something to be concerned about at Christmas because this house plant is used decoratively at Christmas which is on the horizon. Actually it has already started in many households.

Poinsettia. A Christmas plant.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

The poinsettia may cause a rash on the mouth and skin of a cat who chews the plant.

As for the idea that domestic cats are attracted to the color red, there is only anecdotal evidence of this. But it is quite strong evidence from first hand experiences. For instance on Yahoo Answers from kitten888:

“I think they may be attracted to red. I have 2 toy balls for my cat to play with. They are exactly the same except one is black and white and the other is red and white. When the black and white one is just lying around, he won’t play with it. However, he goes wild with the red and white one. I don’t even have to throw it for him, he just plays around with it like a soccer ball. Hehe too cute.”

It is difficult to understand why a cat should be attracted to red objects such as toys or plants. If cats can’t see red well or at all, it would lead me to believe that red objects are dark or even black to the cat. This may pique the cat’s interest as it would contrast with surrounding colors made up of blue and green. That is the only idea I can come up with as to why red is attractive to a cat. Any other ideas anyone?

I suppose the safe option is to assume that poinsettias are a potential danger to cats at Christmas. In which case there is no reason to have them in the house over the holiday season as there are a number of alternatives.

Rather strangely there are many houseplants and an even greater number of outdoor plants which are poisonous in varying degrees to the domestic cat. Why is the cat more susceptible to be poisoned by plants than humans?

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