Let’s start with some of the most poisonous and just mention that it’s quite rare for people or pets to choose to eat toxic plants. But indeed, it does happen. Some poisonous plants dont even need to be eaten in order to prove fatal. Indeed, gardeners are believed to have been killed by wolfsbane, or Aconitum, which is also known as monkshood. This attractive plant (pictured below) has large leaves and purple, hooded flowers which look rather like cowled monks hoods. It will be known to Harry Potter fans as Wolfsbane!
Then theres Hemlock, Deadly Nightshade, tomato plants, primrose, rhododendron, lilies and even Foxgloves that are all capable of adverse health effects or even death. The beautiful Foxglove must be treated with care. It can affect the heart because it contains naturally occurring poisons called cardiac glycoside toxins. These interfere with electrolyte balance within the heart muscle. The heart drug Digitalis is extracted from this useful plant and is one of the most successful heart medications available when used in the correct way.
On the other hand, plants are extremely good for us! Not only do we eat them (vegetables, herbs, fruit), but they filter toxins from the air, produce oxygen and are good for the soul too. There’s a name given to the tendendcy for humans to seek connections with nature – it’s the biophilia hypothesis.and it’s a well-known positive association.
Plants make people happy and can improve the environment. To derive the maximum benefit from plants we need to incorporate them into our homes as well as our gardens. Some are better than others at cleaning the air and producing oxygen.
Those households with pets or small children might want to choose from non-toxic house plants to eliminate risk. You would think that pets might automatically know what’s good for them but they tend to experiment by nibbling if they are short of nutrients or certain elements.
Indoor palm trees
Fortunately, the list of plants believed to be non-toxic is tempting and it includes the beautiful Areca palm, (below) which is also one of the best for purifying the air.
The Areca palm is also known as Chrysalidocarpus lutescens or Dypsis lutescens and it is commonly called the yellow butterfly palm, bamboo palm and golden cane palm. It came near the top of a NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) study of the 10 best air purifying plants. Whats more, it can grow just about as large as you want it to generally up to around 2.5m indoors (although it will, of course, be restricted by the size of its pot).
Other people-and pet-friendly palms include the Canary Island date palm, Phoenix canariensis, an indoor palm that will enable your imagination to whisk you off to a tropical island paradise! This typical palm tree (pictured below) makes a great house, office or conservatory plant and in a bright enough position and large enough pot it will be able to grow several metres high. It has no known toxic properties, but the fronds are rather sharp so perhaps little fingers should stay away.
A smaller, but no less interesting, type of palm is the ponytail palm or Nolina maya. Also known as Beaucarnea recurvata; the maya palm or elephants foot, it has a thick woody stem and palm-like foliage. In fact, this charming semi-succulent stores water in its stem a bit like the iconic Baobab tree of Africa and Australia. Many plants make great talking points and this is one of them.
Watch this short video all about palm trees
Want something a little smaller a hanging indoor plant perhaps? You cant go wrong with the good old Chlorphytum, otherwise known as a spider plant! These brilliant plants are really efficient air cleaners and they now come in several different forms. The effect that can be achieved with a collection of hanging spider plants is second-to-none. So easy to propagate little fingers can practice their gardening skills without worry. These are plants that take up no room at all as they can hang in space that would otherwise be empty.
A collection of non-toxic succulent house plants makes an intriguing feature. Consider the charming succulent Echeveriassuch as Purple Pearl; Perle von Nurnberg and Taurus which look really effective when grouped together. Easy to care for, they make the perfect starter plant; they are highly effective air improvers; they actually produce oxygen at night and therefore make good bedroom companions – and they have no known toxic properties. Echeveria ‘Perle von Nurnberg (below) has a blue/purple tinge to the succulent leavesm whilst E. ‘Purple Pearl’ (below), has a wonderful pinky-purple hue and an opaqueness to its foliage.
- Outdoor plants
- Young dogs, in particular, are generally curious. This puppy, above, is sampling something that he might regret because marigolds are considered to be mildly toxic. Fortunately, no puppies were harmed in the process!
- Do cats eat plants?
- Why do cats eat plants?
- Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Why do cats eat plants and then throw up?
- How to keep cats from eating plants in the back yard
- 1. Take your cat in for a vet visit
- 2. Spray the pots (NOT the plants) with a mixture of white vinegar and water
- 3. Spray the pots and the plants with something citrus-scented
- 4. Give your cat a cat-friendly outdoor garden of his own
- 5. Install a motion-sensitive light or sprinkler
- How to keep cats from eating houseplants
- 1. Choose (or create) inaccessible locations
- 2. Fill any houseplant space full of houseplants
- 3. Stick plastic forks in the dirt around the plants, tines side up
- 4. Place your houseplants strategically
- 5. Plant a cat grass window garden
- 6. Train your cat not to bother your houseplants
- Other options to keep cats from eating plants
- Grannick’s Bitter Apple 8-Ounce Dabber-Top Bottle for Cats
- Bodhi Dog NEW Bitter Lemon Spray
- Barker & Pooch Professional Strength Pet Anti Chew Repellent
- NaturVet Bitter Yuck! No Chew Spray for Dogs and Cats
- How to prevent cats from eating plants
- Free Updates For Cat Lovers!
- Your Amazing Cat!
- #1 Corn Plant (Dracaena frangrans)
- #2 Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
- #3 Aloe Plant (Aloe vera)
- #4 Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
- #5 Lilies (Many varieties)
- #6 Caladium or “Elephant Ear”
- #7 Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”
- #8 Asparagus Fern
- #9 Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy” (Epipremnun aureum)
- #1 Areca Palm
- #2 Money Plant
- #3 Spider Plant
- #4 Purple Waffle Plant
- #5 Bamboo Palm
- #6 Variegated Wax Plant
- #7 Lilyturf
- #8 Boston Fern
- #9 Dwarf Date Palm
- #10 Moth Orchid
- 1. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Thankgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
- 2. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
- 3. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia)
- 4. Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)
- 5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
- 6. Blue Echeveria (Echeveria derenbergii)
- 7. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
- And Here’s 9 Popular Houseplants That are Toxic to Dogs and/or Cats
- Plant Portrait: Spider Plants
- What Are Spider Plants?
- Are Spider Plants Safe For Cats?
- How To Keep Cats Away From Spider Plants?
- Which Plants Are Dangerous For Cats To Eat?
- List Of Plants Safe For Cats
- What To Do When Your Cat Eats A Toxic Plant?
- How To Cat-Proof Your Plants?
- Is Spider Plant Poisonous or Toxic?
- What Parts Of The Spider Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?
- What Are the Symptoms Caused by Spider Plant in Cats
- How To Protect Your Cat While Having a Spider Plant
There are so many gorgeous plants that are generally safe around pets, including shrubs such as Camellia, Mahonia and olive trees. Beautiful roses lavender; Fuchsias; Jasminium species and dozens of herbs including Basil, Oregano, Mint and Rosemary are good to have. There are many more too, if you want to check some out, take a look here. Be aware that young pets and young children are at risk when out and about in the big wild world.
Young dogs, in particular, are generally curious. This puppy, above, is sampling something that he might regret because marigolds are considered to be mildly toxic. Fortunately, no puppies were harmed in the process!
Perfect Plants Ltd is an on-line supplier of garden plants and house plants. Also garden equipment, furniture and gifts. Tel: 01323 833479
Welcome to our complete guide to cats eating plants! Giving you top tips for stopping them and answering that all important question – why do cats eat plants?
Cats are full of surprises. Just when you think you have your fur baby all figured out, she is always ready to wow and amaze (or simply terrify) you with another head-scratching habit.
For instance, you know your cat is carnivorous. You really thought your cat knew it too.
But now suddenly you have discovered her with a big mouthful of….plants.
So now you have a whole new set of questions. Like, what are those plants? Are they poisonous plants? Should you go ahead and call your vet now?
And why the heck would your kitty want to eat raw plants, anyway? Especially with all the tasty gourmet meals and treats you feed her daily!
In this article, we will look at why cats eat plants and how to prevent your cats from eating plants.
Do cats eat plants?
The simple answer to this question is “yes.”
The more complicated answer, of course, is the individual “why” lurking behind the behavior itself.
If you ask a vet or feline researchers, you will get quite a list of possible answers for why cats eat plants:
- Their environment lacks enrichment and they are bored.
- They are just doing what they would do normally (chewing, scratching, playing).
- The plants make them feel good (i.e. catnip or cat grass).
- They just like the texture of certain plants.
- The cat is ill and grass helps soothe a sore throat.
They need to vomit or they are constipated (eating fibrous plants can achieve both).
- The cat needs to protect their digestive tract from intestinal parasites or other toxins.
- They are deficient in some nutrient (probably iron or folic acid, both of which help your kitty’s blood make hemoglobin, an important blood protein).
All of these are viable possible answers for why you might see your cat eating plants.
It is highly likely there are also other reasons that may relate to the domestic housecats far-distant wild ancestors, in that wild hunting cats typically consume their herbivorous prey whole, including the partially digested plant matter that may still be present in their digestive tracts.
Why do cats eat plants?
Speculating on why cats eat plants is very interesting, of course. But it still doesn’t address the most pressing question you have, which is “Why does MY cat eat plants?”
Whether you want to learn how to stop cats from eating plants because your feline seems to have it in for the gentle young pansies in your kitchen window boxes. Or because every time you catch your cat eating plants, he comes inside and vomits them up for you as a “present”.
This is a valid question well worth addressing.
If this behavior is brand new, you can first ask yourself what, if anything, has changed for your cat in his day-to-day life or routine.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Has your own schedule changed such that you spend less time now with your cat?
- Is there a new pet or a new baby in the house?
- If your cat is indoor/outdoor and the weather been too inclement for regular roaming and outdoor fun, could your indoor houseplants be serving as a good substitute?
- Is your intact female cat in heat (or is your intact male cat picking up the lady cat’s scent from next door)?
- Has your cat been sleeping more than usual, eating less, or perhaps exhibiting other signs that she may be ill or in distress?
- Is your cat taking a medication that is new and may be causing nausea or constipation?
- Is your cat still a young kitten who is exploring her world and everything in it?
- Does your cat only eat certain plants or does it seem like anything green is fair game?
- Have you recently changed your cat’s food or treats?
- Have you recently made any changes to the type of kitty litter used, bedding or other items in your cat’s personal area(s)?
There may also be another reason entirely why you are observing your cat eating plants.
But hopefully by brainstorming through these questions you can at least rule out other types of environmental changes that may be causing your cat’s behavior.
It is always a good idea to talk with your veterinarian about these kinds of changes in your cat’s habits, especially if you see your cat eating plants regularly.
Your vet may want to do a blood test to determine if your cat is low in vitamins, minerals or nutrients and needs some temporary supplementation or a change in diet to correct the imbalance.
Why do cats eat plants and then throw up?
The question “Why do cats eat plants and then throw up?” is one of the most frustrating and perplexing one for cat owners.
Here, it is vital to remember that this behavior may be caused by a bacteria, fungi or parasite that is making your cat seek out plant matter to help her vomit out (or otherwise eliminate) the unwelcome invaders.
If this is the case, your vet will be able to diagnose and treat these types of issues so they won’t cause any lasting damage to your cat’s health or your carefully cultivated garden.
How to keep cats from eating plants in the back yard
Some plants are simply toxic.
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The Happy Cat Handbook – A unique guide to understanding and enjoying your cat!
Read “Poisonous Plants for Cats” for a comprehensive list of plants to avoid and reasons why.
Whether or not you have ever witnessed your kitty eating any plant matter – outdoors or indoors – you should make sure to do an initial sweep of your lawn, garden and houseplants to ensure none of your plants are on the no-no list for cats.
But that still leaves lots of green for your curious cat to explore!
If you have ever watched your cat attacking yet another helpless green being and thought in despair, “My cat keeps eating my plants and I don’t know how to stop him!,” that is what we are going to talk about now!
Here are some creative ways to deter your feline from his next foray into the wild green garden in your backyard:
1. Take your cat in for a vet visit
As mentioned earlier here, this first action is simply to ensure your cat is not sampling the greenery because of some dietary deficiency, infection or illness.
If your vet can rule out these health issues, you will at least have the reassurance of knowing that your kitty is okay health-wise, and you can then get to work on other creative ways to separate him from the local grass and plant life.
2. Spray the pots (NOT the plants) with a mixture of white vinegar and water
Vinegar tastes sour and bitter, which is not a taste cats tend to enjoy.
But if you use this remedy, it is very important to avoid getting any of the vinegar mixture on the plant flowers, fruits, leaves or roots, as the acid in vinegar may also kill your plants.
3. Spray the pots and the plants with something citrus-scented
Cats are known to avoid citrus scents, but these scents don’t bother plants. Just mix up some fresh lemon juice and water (in a pinch, citrus oil in water will also work) and spritz it on your lawn and garden.
Just be prepared to re-apply the citrus mixture often, especially after you water the lawn or it rains.
4. Give your cat a cat-friendly outdoor garden of his own
Planting wild cat-safe grasses such as wheat grass, oat grass, rye grass, cat grass and catnip in a special outdoor “garden” reserved for your green-loving feline is a way to entice him to chew on safe greens by offering a selection most cats tend to enjoy.
5. Install a motion-sensitive light or sprinkler
If your kitty is more prone to conduct his outdoor tasting tours under cover of night, installing a motion-activated spotlight could be an effective deterrent.
For equal opportunity day/night garden marauders, a light squirt from a motion-activated sprinkler hose might be a better option.
Of course, this will work best if your cat tends to only sample the contents of a particular area of your backyard, such as your garden bed.
How to keep cats from eating houseplants
In your spare time after you are done patrolling your lawn and garden, you will now have to figure out how to keep your kitty from chewing on or consuming your indoor houseplants!
Of course you want to keep your houseplants alive and well – they help to detoxify and re-oxygenate your indoor air as well as providing lovely natural accents throughout your home.
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But your cat loves them for a different reason, which means you will have to get strategic with where you place them.
You will probably also have to give them some extra fortification to help them defend themselves against a certain set of determined claws and jaws.
Here are some tips other cat owners say really work well for them:
1. Choose (or create) inaccessible locations
This may mean you place your houseplants up very high on shelving.
It can also mean creating indoor hanging baskets in places where your cat simply cannot access them at all.
Or if you happen to have rooms that are off-limits to your cat by means of closed doors or other protections, these are clearly good rooms for your houseplant collection.
2. Fill any houseplant space full of houseplants
Some cats may take an empty shelf or ledge next to a flourishing houseplant as an open invitation. Here, the best strategy is to fill up the remaining space as fully as possible so there is no room left for your cat to sit and snack.
3. Stick plastic forks in the dirt around the plants, tines side up
The plastic tines are unlikely to cause any harm to your cat, but they certainly aren’t comfy to walk on or mouth, which may become an effective deterrent.
4. Place your houseplants strategically
If you notice there are some houseplants your cat leaves alone (such as your mini cactus collection), arrange these plants to serve as a front line of defense for the more vulnerable green delicacies.
If you simply cannot keep your cat away from the houseplants she loves, you may want to re-home those plants and bring in some she seems less interested in exploring.
5. Plant a cat grass window garden
This option can work equally well outdoors and indoors.
If you give your cat more desirable green options to snack on, there is the chance she will leave your other greenery in peace.
6. Train your cat not to bother your houseplants
Training a cat is absolutely possible, although the method can differ from how you might train a pet dog.
You may want to talk with your vet about the best training method to try for addressing this particular issue.
Other options to keep cats from eating plants
A quick browse through products advertised to deter household pets from sampling everything from furniture legs to orchid blossoms should be enough to reassure you that the problem you are having is quite a common one!
You just have to find the right product to deter your particular cat from chowing on her green leafy neighbors. Here are some cat-safe commercial repellant options you can try:
Grannick’s Bitter Apple 8-Ounce Dabber-Top Bottle for Cats
This bottle sprays silently, so the sound won’t startle your cat.
The dabber top allows for a very precise application, but you can also opt for the sprayer top version for more widespread coverage.
Buy Bitter Apple Spray Here.
Bodhi Dog NEW Bitter Lemon Spray
This product is citrus flavored rather than apple flavored, which may work better for cats.
It is non-toxic and safe and contains only natural lemon extracts and bitters.
It can be used outdoors and indoors without harming your belongings.
Buy Bitter Lemon Spray Here.
Barker & Pooch Professional Strength Pet Anti Chew Repellent
This product is no-stain, no-sting and no-itch so the only impact will come from the very bitter taste and scent. It will not harm your belongings and can be used outdoors and indoors.
If it doesn’t work, the manufacturer offers a 100 percent no-questions-asked money-back guarantee for a full year after your purchase.
Buy Anti Chew Repellent Here.
NaturVet Bitter Yuck! No Chew Spray for Dogs and Cats
This formula is water-based, alcohol free and all natural (it contains purified water, bitters and citric acid).
This product is safe to spray indoors and outdoors and won’t harm your belongings. It also comes with a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer.
Buy No Chew Spray Here.
How to prevent cats from eating plants
Domestic cats are naturally smart, curious, creative and playful. As well, they have very well developed survival instincts that continually prompt them to explore every nook and cranny of their living space and the near-surrounding environment.
This means anything you have is fair game for thorough examination. As well, if your cat sees you spending time in your garden or tending to your houseplants, she is likely to get curious about your interest. She may even get jealous!
You know your pet cat better than anyone else ever can or will, but still, every cat likes to retain a little sense of mystery.
This may mean that, so long as your vet agrees that your kitty isn’t seeking out greenery for reasons of infection, illness or dietary deficiency, you may never know for sure what her real reason is for eating plants.
So rather than drive yourself crazy trying to figure out the “why,” now you can use the suggestions in this article to get to work on the “how” of safely separating your cat from your plants for good!
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- Hart, B., DVM, “Why do dogs and cats eat grass?,” AppleBrook Animal Hospital, 2008.
- Herron, M., DVM, et al, “Environmental Enrichment for Indoor Cats,” National Institutes of Health, 2010.
- Xiong, M., et al, “Molecular analysis of vertebrates and plants in scats of leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) in southwest China,” Journal of Mammology, 2016.
- Sadek, T., DVM, “Cats, houseplants and grass – why does my cat get the munchies?,” Feline Docs, 2014.
- Bergstrom, L., “How Does Your Cat Grass Grow? Plant a Feline-Friendly Indoor Garden,” The Humane Society of the United States, 2012.
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Though cats are true carnivores, they do sometimes consume vegetable matter, especially in the wild, when the cat consumes its prey’s stomach and its contents. Stomach contents of prey animals usually contains partially-digested vegetable matter, which, when eaten by a cat, can provide it with vitamins and minerals not necessarily found elsewhere.
Domestic cats seem to love chewing on and eating plants; why is not completely clear. Several reasons could explain the behavior, however. First, they may be instinctively searching for nutrients not provided to them in their regular diets. Or, some cats may feel the need to regurgitate something disagreeable. Eating enough plant material can have this effect on many cats, who may be trying to dislodge a big hairball, or some other undesirable object. Another possible reason for the plant munching is simply that they like the taste and texture of what they are eating. Just look at the feline obsession for catnip, a perennial in the mint family.
Clearly, this behavior should be minimized, if not only for the loss of the pretty plants, but for the safety of the cat as well. The first step to take is to avoid purchasing plants known to be toxic to cats. Houseplants such as the philodendron, dieffenbachia, and ivy, common in many households, should be either avoided, or hung from the ceiling in such a way as to completely prohibit access by the cat. If she has access to the outdoors, be sure to avoid planting any of the toxic shrubbery or garden plants listed above. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to stop her from going over to the neighbor’s yard, if she is an outdoor cat. You will have to decide if allowing her this privilege is important enough to put her health at risk.
Locate whatever non-toxic houseplants you have off of the floor, either in tall stands, or from hanging mounts. Plant pedestals should be high, and as narrow as the plant’s drainage dish, so as to give the cat no footing whatsoever. Never keep any plants on the floor, or on shelves with easy cat access.
Cover the soil of the plant with marbles or rocks, to discourage digging. Wipe down the plant leaves with a dilute soap and water mixture; it won’t hurt the plant, and it will taste terrible to the cat. You can also purchase a veterinarian-approved cat repellant, and apply it to the plant.
Also, try placing double-sided adhesive tape around the area where you keep your plants, in an effort to dissuade her from going near. Try aluminum foil strips as well. If you can catch the cat in the act of chewing on a plant, spray her with water from a plant sprayer bottle.
While discouraging her from going near your prized houseplants, you should simultaneously provide her with some young grass seedlings to chew on as much as she likes. Grow them yourself from grass seed, or purchase them at your local pet store. Place them far from your houseplants, perhaps in the kitchen, near where she eats. When given an alternative like this, most cats will forget about the houseplants entirely.
Lastly, try to keep your cat’s environment as stimulating as possible, to prevent boredom, one of the main causes of improper behavior. Lots of toys and objects to investigate, as well as plenty of play time with you, should keep her nose out of your houseplants.
It’s winter and we’re spending more time indoors, so I wanted to buy some new plants to liven up my apartment and keep the air fresh. Finding plants that are safe for my cats was a lot more work than I expected! Many common houseplants are toxic to our pets. So, I’m writing this post on how to select plants that are safe for your dogs and cats.
8 Dog and Cat Safe Plants to Supercharge the Air You Breathe
Research from the NASA Clean Air Study and Dr. B.C. Wolverton name certain plants that naturally remove toxic agents such as benzene and formaldehyde from the air. I cross-referenced this data with the ASPCA’s (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) database of plants that are non-toxic to dogs and cats to come up with my recommendations:
1. Areca Palm (Dypsis lutescens)
2. Bamboo Palm a.k.a. Parlor Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii)
Here’s my kitty checking out my new purchase
3. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Bostoniensis’)
5. Dwarf Date Palm (Phoenix roebelenii)
6. Gerber Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
7. Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)
Other Dog and Cat Safe Houseplants
While these plants do not purify the air as much as those mentioned earlier, they look great and are pet safe!
Pony Tail Palm
I was able to find this at a home improvement store.
Other Pet Safe plants include: Alyssum, Bachelors Buttons, Blue Echeveria, Burro’s Tail or Lamb’s Tail, Celosia Plumosa, Christmas Cactus, Cliff Brake, Common Snapdragon, Easter Daisy, Hens and Chickens, Orchids, Pearl Plant and Roses.
The ASPCA suggests that even if plants are non-toxic, you should not allow your pets to chew on them, because they may cause some mild illnesses.
A Note on Spider Plants
The ASPCA lists Spider Plants as non-toxic for both dogs and cats. But, the Spider Plant attracts cats in part because it is mildly hallucinogenic. Because cats are more likely to play with the plant, they’re more likely to eat it and, therefore, suffer from an upset stomach, vomiting, or diarrhea. So, I recommend that you avoid Spider Plants if you have a cat.
Danger Zone: Plants Toxic to Dogs and Cats
You might be surprised to learn that common plants such as Aloe Vera, Azalea/Rhododendron, Baby’s Breath, Begonia, Chrysanthemum/Daisy, English Ivy, Lily of the Valley, and Tulips are toxic to dogs and cats. Furthermore, Lilies are toxic to cats (not dogs). The ASPCA provides a list of the 17 most common household plants that are toxic to pets and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine provides a list of plants most responsible for their vet visits.
Clockwise From Left: Lily of the Valley, Chrysanthemum/Daisy, Tulips, and English Ivy.
What to do if your pet eats a toxic plant
If you suspect your pet has ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian or the Animal Poison Control Center 24-hour hotline at (888) 426-4435.
I hope you liked the post. Learn more at the LINKS-IT blog.
By Gabrielle Feldman
Checked by Dr. Heather Kovac
Plants add a certain element to the feel of our homes; however, those with pets need to be selective about the greenery they choose to have around. Take our quiz to see if you know which ones are safe and which one’s are not!
According to the ASPCA Poison Control, there are literally thousands of plants that could harm your pet if they ingest it. They all have varying degrees of affect on your dog or cat. Some mild, some severe, and some even potentially fatal.The Drake Center for Veterinary Care narrowed down the list to nine of some of the most common household plants.
#1 Corn Plant (Dracaena frangrans)
This easy to grow green is an extremely popular choice for people’s homes. If ingested, symptoms include vomiting and appetite loss for both dogs and cats. In cats specifically, it can cause difficulty breathing and an increased heart rate.
#2 Sago Palm (Cycas revoluta)
This common exotic plant adds a tropical feel to a home; however, it can be very troublesome if your pet gets its’ paws on this palm. Every part of this plant poses a threat. From the seeds, to the roots, to the leaves- if ingested can cause vomiting diarrhea, and in some cases- even liver failure and death.
#3 Aloe Plant (Aloe vera)
Aloe has so many incredible uses for pet parents, it’s no wonder it is such a popular plant pick. But when it comes to exposing it to your pets, you may want to think twice. There are no known reports of the aloe posing a threat when applied topically, but if they happen to chew on the plant it will likely irritate their digestive system. Common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors.
#4 Jade Plant (Crassula argentea)
This rubber plant is known for being “hard to kill”. Which is great for those lacking a green thumb. Signs that your dog or cat has munched down on this plant includes vomiting and a slow heart rate.
#5 Lilies (Many varieties)
Although some lily varieties can pose a threat to your dog, cat owners should be avoiding these pretty petals entirely. This bloom is extremely toxic to your feline and can even cause kidney failure in some cases. Symptoms include drooling, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
#6 Caladium or “Elephant Ear”
This bold, tropical beauty would add pop to any garden. But beware- signs that your dog munched down on one of these leaves include swelling and burning of the tongue and mouth, excessive drooling, and vomiting.
#7 Dieffenbachia or “Dumb Cane”
Known for being a relatively low maintenance plant, ingestion of the leaves can cause severe swelling of the mouth and tongue. In turn, this can lead to difficulty breathing and swallowing.
#8 Asparagus Fern
This pretty plant is a popular house plant choice because it is fast growing and easy to care for. If your dog or cat is exposed to it repeatedly, it can cause skin irritation, and berry ingestion can cause vomiting/diarrhea if eaten.
#9 Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy” (Epipremnun aureum)
This tropical plant is easy to grow and harmful to pets. Symptoms of ingestion include oral irritation, burning of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
If you suspect your pet has eaten a poisonous plant, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435. (Be aware a phone consultation fee may be applied.)
If you love having plants around your living space, don’t despair! There are plenty of great options that are perfectly safe to have around your dogs and cats. Here are some of our favorites:
#1 Areca Palm
#2 Money Plant
#3 Spider Plant
#4 Purple Waffle Plant
#5 Bamboo Palm
#6 Variegated Wax Plant
Image courtesy of ASPCA
#8 Boston Fern
#9 Dwarf Date Palm
#10 Moth Orchid
Here’s to happy planting! With spring right around the corner, read up on what seasonal items could be harmful to you dog or cat, here.
Picking the perfect houseplant is hard enough, but finding a plant safe for your pets can make it even harder. We’ve pulled together a list of seven beautiful, varied and popular houseplants that are non-toxic to cats and dogs. Check it out, and add some flora to your already fauna-friendly home!
1. Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii) and Thankgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
These lovely succulents are great for amateur gardeners, as they need only moderate maintenance and thrive in indirect sunlight. Christmas and Thanksgiving Cacti get their names because they flower in winter, with reddish pink blooms appearing just in time for the holiday season. This makes them a popular, non-toxic holiday plant option for dog and cat owners. (Even so, you should discourage inquisitive pets from nibbling on your cactus, as eating the fibrous plant material can upset their stomachs and potentially lead to vomiting and diarrhea.) On a more positive note, with proper care, these plants can live for decades, and can be propagated and passed down from family member to family member to delight multiple generations!
2. Ponytail Palm (Beaucarnea recurvata)
To add some beachy feel to your land-locked apartment or house, try a beautiful ponytail palm tree. Its characteristic wispy palms grow lush, long and green with relatively low upkeep. The ponytail palm is actually not a palm but is instead a succulent. Leave it outside or in bright sunlight for half the year, and it’ll be just fine indoors in lower light during the winter.
3. Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia)
Shiny and compact enough to fit in a variety of stylish containers, a baby rubber plant is a great addition to a pet-friendly apartment. The baby rubber plant is yet another succulent, so it also thrives in indirect sunlight and needs only minimal watering. Note: The Baby Rubber Plant’s larger cousin, the Rubber Tree (or Ficus benjamina), is actually toxic to dogs and cats. According to the ASPCA, contact with the skin can cause dermatitis, while ingestion can cause oral irritation, salivation and vomiting.
4. Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.)
Orchids are a stunning, graceful addition to any home that also happens to be non-toxic to cats and dogs. Orchids have a reputation for being difficult to cultivate, but several types, including the phalaenopsis orchid, can thrive indoors. Phalaenopsis are native to Southeast Asia, and thus prefer east or southeast windows where the light is not too intense, warm daytime temperatures and moderate-to-high humidity. They are also quite adaptable, making them a popular variety for first time orchid growers. There are lots of great online resources for orchid fans, so if you’re curious, read up and find the perfect specimen to enliven your home.
5. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)
If you’re looking for a lush, draping fern that is non-toxic to pets, try the Boston Fern. Despite it’s name, this plant is actually native to Florida, Central America and South America. It got its name when it was discovered in 1894 among a shipment of similar “sword” ferns that was en route to Boston. Boston Ferns thrive in humid environments in indirect sunlight. When indoors, it is important to keep the soil damp with regular watering, and to spray water on the leaves 1-2 times a week to keep them from drying out. Give your Boston Fern this loving attention, and it will repay you by absorbing moisture from the air, making your home much more comfortable when humid weather strikes.
6. Blue Echeveria (Echeveria derenbergii)
Just one look at the hypnotic image above, and you’ll see why blue echeveria is one of the most beloved of all succulents. The echeveria’s stunning rosette shape ranges from 2cm to 50cm in diameter, and they generally flower (in colors from white to red) in the summer. Like most succulents, they love sun and need only occasional watering. Just don’t leave them outside all afternoon during those hot summer days, as it can result in burned leaves. And with leaves this stunning, you won’t want to lose even one from that gorgeous array!
7. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)
Don’t worry, it’s not actually a spider! Spider plants (also known as ribbon plants) have lovely leaves that drape elegantly over the sides of a planter, like a gorgeous green creature with lots of long legs. Their graceful form, striking white stripes and ability to thrive in most light and temperature conditions make them a popular choice for pet-friendly households. Spider plants look great in hanging baskets, but looks aren’t the only thing going for it. They also help keep your indoor air clean by absorbing air pollutants!
And Here’s 9 Popular Houseplants That are Toxic to Dogs and/or Cats
- Aloe Vera
- Asparagus Fern
- Dumb Canes (aka Dieffenbachia)
- Elephant Ears
- Flamingo Flower
- Lilly (toxic to cats but not dogs)
- Sago Palm
For a complete list and to search by plant name, visit ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control site.
If you have one of these plants listed above, or if your pet is a fan of knocking over, munching on, or otherwise disturbing your houseplants, talk to your local DogWatch Dealer about our Indoor Boundaries. Our indoor pet fences let you control where your pets roam in the house, and you can use the same collar with both the DogWatch indoor and outdoor fences.
Happy planting! And if you do pick up one of these stunning, pet-safe plants, share your photos with us on Facebook!
Photos have been cropped.
Plant Portrait: Spider Plants
Every pet safe plant list will undoubtedly contain the Spider Plant. And almost every cat owner brings a shiny new spider plant home, only to find it obliterated in minutes, eaten to the nub, grassy vomit littering the floor hours later.
I want to talk about spider plants not as a way to drive the “they’re pet safe!” noise home, but because I’m positive every cat owner, desperate to bring green into their home, buys one. Sure, spider plants are considered a safe indoor plant to own, but at what cost? I love them but I was tired of my new plant being annihilated and stepping in regurgitated plant puddles at 3am, so let’s talk about them a bit.
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) has been a favorite houseplant for what seems like forever, and that’s because they’re just an easy plant. Not very fussy, they’re happy in mid to high light levels and don’t really care about humidity. There are only two varieties that I know of, the variegated white and green and the 95% green kinds (the white/green is most common). Spider plants are common in most garden centers or florist shops since they are crazy cheap and easy to propagate.
Are Spider Plants Toxic to Cats?
Before you shake your head no and leave this page, let’s talk about this. By typical plant toxicity standards, spider plants are safe and non toxic to cats and dogs. However, like a lot of other non toxic plants, they should not be consumed in their entirety, as they typically are by cats. If you’re a cat mom, this isn’t foreign to you. Spider plants, palms, cat grass, dracaena – all of these similar stringy plants call to your cat. They just beckon to be munched and half-digested. Cats just really like skinny-leafed plants for some reason. Legend says it’s because cats naturally graze on grass outdoors and these stringy plants look like, well, grass.
This grass-like quality of spider plants may be one of the reasons cats fancy them, but they also contain a similar chemical to catnip. As you probably know, dried grassy catnip puts Mittens on a hallucinogenic high, making them think the floor is lava and you are a giant fish, probably. I even read that this chemical is similar in makeup and effects to opium. Jesus.
Cats love the catnip high, like a lot, and catnip is safe, right? Well, it is, but really only in small amounts. One of the reasons spider plants may even be considered “toxic” is that this chemical can effect cats in different ways, much like catnip does. It may give Mittens the runs, cause vomiting, or cause a lethargic crash after the high dissipates. Don’t do drugs, kids.
So, spider plants aren’t toxic per se, but they can lead to these unpleasant effects later. At the end of the day, there’s no cause for alarm if cats or dogs nibble on them. If the entire plant is consumed, however, be prepared for intestinal wrath and keeping a diligent eye on Fluffy. Think of it like this: cake as a food isn’t bad for you and it makes you happy, but too much of it can be bad.
Caring for Spider Plants
All of this being said I do have spider plants, but they are kept in the bathroom, and for the most part, out of paw-reach purely because I prefer my plants without bite marks (see below). My spider plant Sophie is a trooper, enduring many a haircut (see below for exhibit A) from Harlequinn during her rebel years.
Preferred Home: Plant in a plastic or ceramic planter. These do like to be pot-bound but will destroy the vessel if too bloated, so I repot every year.
Ideal Soil Mix: Basic potting soil with a bit of perlite.
Moisture Level: Water 1-2x a week or when soil is dry. Water less in the winter. Because spider plants grow rapidly, I recommend repotting every 6-8 months.
Sunlight Level: They like bright, indirect light but can tolerate shady spots in the house or florescent office lighting.
Dislikes: Drafts and dry bottoms. Spider plants die brutally and quickly when left without water, so be sure to keep them moist.
Placement: They really don’t care where you put them. I encourage people to put them on shelves since they look pretty cascading from somewhere up high and they make nice macrame plant fillers.
Propagating Spider Plants
As your spider plant matures, you will soon see little “mini-me” plants hanging from the leaves. Although horribly cute, don’t be afraid to snip them off of the mother plant to propagate new ones. It’s really simple and tiny spider plants are adorable.
- Snip the mini-me off and place in a jar of clean water to root where the pre-existing roots do not touch the bottom of the jar.
- In about a week or two, those baby roots should begin to grow bigger. I usually leave a plantlet in water for about a month.
- After a month, you can plant in a well-draining potting soil.
- Keep the mini me moist and if more humidity is needed, place the plant in a plastic bag partially open to increase humidity.
Spider Plant Problems
Brown Leaf Tips: Browning leaf tips on spider plants is inevitable. Although unsightly and annoying, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with your plant. It’s kind of something that tends to happen, and is harder to control as the plant ages.
Salt Buildup on Soil: With any plant, especially spider plants which like to be pot bound, you may see white-tinged soil on the top. Fluoride in water (which is common in cities), causes this salt buildup. It kind of looks like mold and may actually be a cause dry tips as well. To rid this of your plant, water it throughly with rainwater, making sure any excess water drains out.
Pests: Spider plants don’t invite a lot of pests to their parties, but sometimes they can get infested with mealybugs. I have a full guide here on these devils, but what you’ll need to do is take some rubbing alcohol and saturated them. Be sure to check stems and in between leaves. Mealybugs are the worst.
Yellow Leaves: Yellow leaves on spider plants indicates overwatering. Overwatering is terrible for these guys – a sure sign you might be doing so are yellow leaves or fungus gnats.
Maybe you’re a pet parent looking for some spider plant insight or a victim of a recent spider plant cat obliteration, either way I hope I was able to provide some answers. Thanks for reading!
Are spider plants safe for cats, you might wonder.
Cats have a unique behavior and seem to be always either hiding in weird spots or go places they aren’t supposed to, and more often than not they will try to eat something which might not be edible.
Spider plants are a great way to decorate your garden or your living-room; they are usually put in hanging baskets or placed on the floor.
The leaves usually are dangling outside the flowerpot so it’s no wonder why cat’s like to play with it and sometimes even eat it.
Some of you who have both cats and spider plants in your house may be wondering if the spider plant is safe for cats to consume and what are the side effects.
What Are Spider Plants?
One of the most popular house plants people usually have is indeed the spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). Its long and thin leaves look like spider legs hence the name spider plant.
It’s native to the tropical and southern parts of Africa but has been cultivated in other parts of the world such as Europe, Australia, and America.
Interestingly enough the spider plant is often called cat’s whiskers, but I think it has more to do with their appearance than the fact that cats love to eat them.
Another interesting fact is that spider plants do have some benefits as they produce oxygen other than just decorating your home.
Are Spider Plants Safe For Cats?
Now the big question, are spider plants for cats dangerous in any way? Yes and no, and I will explain why, but before I do that I wanted to point out why cats eat them in the first place.
Why do cats eat spider plants?
It’s not because the spider plants have some kind of smell that attracts them, and it also isn’t because cats like to play with things dangling above them.
The answer is a silly one, and will even shed some light on why the plants are not so good for cat consumption.
Cat’s like to eat it because spider plants are mildly hallucinogenic like catnip for example. Spider plants can change the cat’s behavior and fascination by making the feline more obsessive.
What does this mean?
Like catnip, spider plants are safe for cats to consume but you shouldn’t let your cat eat it in large amounts, or don’t let the cat eat it at all.
A high stimulation of such behavior in cats can lead to them being addicted to it. This sounds surprising and scary at the same time.
The mild hallucinations won’t hurt the cat but as a safety measure, you should keep the plant out of the cat’s reach.
I’m sure that it’s a relief for you to find out that the spider plants are safe for cats to eat, but let’s see how you can avoid the plant consumption in the first place.
How To Keep Cats Away From Spider Plants?
1. Hang it up high
This puts a smile on my face because the plants can make the cats “high” as the kids say it nowadays, but all jokes aside if you want to keep the plants in your house without the cat eating it you can:
- Buy a high plant stand and place the plants at the very top of the stand, also try to place it somewhere where the cat can’t climb and feast on its leaves.
- Suspend the plants in a hanging basket on a pillar if you have one in your home, the higher it is the less likely the cats are going to be able to reach it.
- Trim the plants so that the cats can’t reach the dangling leaves.
2. Keep the plants outside
If you have a house cat that rarely spends the time outside, a good way to prevent the cat from eating the spider plant is to simply put the plant outside and that way the cat will either need to jump out the window or learn how to open the door.
If your cat loves to go outside, however, this isn’t really a solution so keep that in mind.
3. Plant cat grass
As silly as it sounds, there is a thing called cat grass which cats like to nibble on, it can be found in most pet shops and online.
Cats aren’t just carnivores, and like humans, they also eat plants, and cat grass is specifically made to match a cat’s diet giving your cat the nutrition it needs.
Simply plant the grass in your garden or in a flowerpot and your cat is going to love it.
Which Plants Are Dangerous For Cats To Eat?
We’ve answered the question of are spider plants safe for cats, now let’s see which common plants you may even own can harm our furry friends:
- Lily – A wide variety of lily plants such as Asian, Japanese Show, Easter, Stargazer, Casa Blanca, and the Tiger can cause kidney failure in cats.
- Tulip – It contains toxins that can cause intense gastrointestinal irritation, loss of appetite and even cardiac abnormalities.
- Oleander – The plant has a toxin that can cause gastrointestinal tract irritation, abnormal heart function, hypothermia, and even death.
- Cyclamen – The whole plant is toxic for cats, but the largest amount of poison is located in the root and it can lead to significant gastrointestinal irritation and intense vomiting.
The list is a lot longer but these are some of the more typical house plants and if you happen to find some in your household, take the preventative measure of taking it away from your cat’s reach.
If your cat consumes these plants you should immediately call your local veterinarian and take the cat to the clinic.
List Of Plants Safe For Cats
This will also be a short list of the plants that if you happen to have in your home you shouldn’t worry about the cat nibbling on them:
- Boston Fern (Nephrolepis Exaltata)
- Blue Echeveria (Echeveria Glauca)
- African Violet (Saintpaulia)
- Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia Obtusifolia)
- Areca Palm (Dypsis Lutescens)
- Cast-iron Plant (Aspidistra Elatior)
- Basil (Ocimum Basilicum) P.S. It’s safe for humans too, feel free to add it to your favorite dish.
What To Do When Your Cat Eats A Toxic Plant?
As I said before if your cat unintentionally consumes a poisonous plant you must act right away and either call the veterinarian or bring the cat to the pet clinic.
If the plant isn’t too much poisonous or the cat hasn’t consumed much of it, the feline should be fine but could have some side effects. With a bit of rest and medical treatment, your furry friend will be as good as new.
Try to identify the plant so you can provide the vet with the information on how to treat your cat. Things like these do happen, so be cautious when you bring a new cat or a plant to your home.
Be cautious next time and try to prevent the cat from eating the plant in the first place.
How To Cat-Proof Your Plants?
Plant consumption, as we said, isn’t so good for cats and definitely isn’t good for plants, so how do you solve both problems with one solution?
We’ve talked before about how to keep the cat away from the spider plant and all of those methods can be applied here. But if you are really concerned about your cats and your plants then please consider some of these options:
- Separate either your cat or the plants altogether – Try building a small backyard greenhouse if you live in a house, or get a secluded room where you keep all of your plants, or maybe get the cat a cat-house, maybe even a room to its own.
- Train the cat – This can be quite difficult knowing that cats are more stubborn than dogs and are not easy to train, but if you teach the cat not to eat the plants from a young age they will surely not try to eat them. There are numerous tricks on how to train your kitten, but the most effective one is to let it smell. Cats to 90% of things out of curiosity. So, literary kill their curiosity by letting them smell every single object in your house. When they remember the smell, once they encounter it again, they’ll know exactly what they are dealing with.
If all of this doesn’t work, keep in mind that some plants have a bad taste to cats and maybe if a cat tries to eat them it will be repelled by the taste, this isn’t certain but still is an option.
As we discussed, spider plants are safe for cats to eat and won’t hurt them too much, but also keep in mind what was said about its effects on the cat.
Take into consideration all the details we talked about here and they will surely help you to understand which plants to avoid having near the cat, what to do if a cat consumes a sketchy plant and also how to protect your plants from the cat.
I hope that this article will be of great help of both your cat and your plants so you can make a lovable home for both species.
Did you have any experiences with your cat getting “high”? Please, share your memories, or pictures! 🙂
Spider plant, also known by its scientific name Chlorophytum comosum, is a popular member of the Liliaceae family.
The plant is a favorite houseplant grown in pots and hanging baskets adding a festive and fresh feel to the interior of a house.
This indoor plant is easy to grow and very adaptable.
Also known as the Ribbon plant or the spider ivy, the plant grows 2’ – 3’ feet in length and produces ribbon-like, grassy foliage.
The pointed leaves are deep green in color with yellow and white stripes.
The foliage spreads up to 2’ – 2.5’ feet.
It produces spiderettes in the form of tiny white blossoms which often hang from the mother plant like spiders do from their web.
Spider plant will grow outdoors in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hardiness zones 9 through 15.
The spider plant grows well in well-drained soil and bright, indirect sunlight.
The popularity of Chlorophytum comosum as a common houseplant often raises concern among pet-owners.
Cats are particularly attracted towards this plant.
Hence, it’s crucial to know about the toxicity levels of the spider plants.
Learn the reasons why spider plants get brown tips.
Is Spider Plant Poisonous or Toxic?
Fortunately, spider plants are NOT poisonous or toxic.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCA, spider plants are not toxic to cats and dogs.
While these plants have shown no signs of poisoning, they have hallucinogenic properties.
Felines love to chew on the spider plant’s foliage because it is mildly hallucinogenic.
This creates a euphoric sensation similar to the one caused by Catnip plants (Nepeta cataria) and is the reason behind your furry friend’s obsession and fascination with the plant.
What Parts Of The Spider Plant Are Poisonous or Toxic?
The long foliage and the small flowers dangling from the baskets in spring are the only parts of the spider plant exposed to cats.
Hence, these usually become a snack for them.
While none of these parts are toxic, they contain chemical substances associated with opium found in poppy crops.
Grazing on these plants can result in the ingestion of these chemicals, resulting in mild hallucinations and other symptoms.
Learn about the Mother-In-Law’s Tongue being Poisonous to Cats
What Are the Symptoms Caused by Spider Plant in Cats
The most common symptoms indicating your cat loves to nibble on the spider plant include wild or jumpy behavior.
Since felines enjoy the hallucinogenic effect of this plant, it puts them at a risk of ingesting too much.
If you find loose or watery stools in your pet’s litter box, this is probably a tell-tale sign.
Excessive ingestion of the spider plants can make your cat sick.
Symptoms like an upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea, might also be caused by opium-like chemical compounds.
If you see your cat is in pain, check for bite marks on the spider plant.
How To Protect Your Cat While Having a Spider Plant
The spider plant does not cause symptoms in cats, unlike various other poisonous plants like jade plant, aloe, American rubber plant, tulips, lilies, and some succulents.
Even though the spider plant is not toxic to cats, it is best if cat-owners keep their pets away from this plant.
Keep hanging baskets of spider plants high enough and not on areas where a cat could easily climb like windowsills or racks.
In case the plant cannot hang at a height to keep a pet away, apply a cat-repellent with a bitter, unappetizing taste on the leaves.
This would ensure your cat doesn’t come for a second bite.
Since spider plants grow easily, the spiderettes may hang from the foliage and tempt your cats.
This could be fixed by pruning or dividing the plants if they have sufficient growth.
Also, if your cat loves playing with houseplants, a great preventive measure is to grow cat grass (Hordeum vulgare variegate) away from the spider plant.
You’ll find this cat-safe grass in most pet shops and grows well in USDA hardiness zones 3-11.
Finally, if the cat ends up eating the spider plant and starts behaving differently or starts to experience other severe symptoms, take it to a veterinarian or contact animal poison control.