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Plants and Trees

Pumpkin Leaves

I planted a pumpkin vine this year, and my cat is very interested in its leaves. Should I be concerned if she chews on them? I will pull up the plant if I have to, but my kids really want pumpkins for Halloween.

- Jeri

Dear Jeri,

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are not known to be toxic, but their leaves and stems have tiny, needlelike hairs that can cause irritation to the mouth and gastrointestinal tract, as well as to curious noses and paws. While there’s no need to pull up the pumpkins that your kids are looking forward to, we recommend discouraging your cat, whenever possible, from munching on the leaves and stems.