A lot of pet owners are plant lovers. If you are planning to grow succulents and you have pet cats, this article is for you. We will be sharing information about succulents and we will answer the question “Are succulents poisonous to cats”? Hopefully, we will be able to share some information with you and you will be able to successfully grow succulents alongside your curious fur babies.
To answer the question, are succulents poisonous to cats?
Not all succulents are poisonous, so it is important to know the list of toxic and non-toxic succulents so you will know which one to get and to stay away from. A majority of succulents are generally harmless to your furry friends.
We will provide you with a list of safe plants around cats. That being said, there are a few succulents that can pose a threat to your beloved cats, especially when ingested. Some can cause skin irritations and others have thorns and spines that can cause injury to your playful and curious cats.
It is best to only get plants that are safe and non-toxic to your cats. However, if you still decide to go down the dangerous route, make sure to keep your cats and plants away from each other. You have to proceed with extreme caution so you can enjoy the benefit of having both cats and succulents at home.
Do cats eat plants, succulents in particular?
Cats do not behave similarly to one another. Each cat has his or her unique personality. Some cats eat plants, while some ignore them. If you have a pet cat, you can form a good opinion in regards to their personality and you will know whether your furry friend is a plant chewer or not. If your cat is a chewer, make sure to keep them away from toxic succulents.
Here is the list of the succulents that can be poisonous to cats: Avoid them if you can!
1. Chinese Jade – Its scientific name is Sinocrassula Yunnanensis. This succulent is a small perennial plant that can grow up to 4 inches or 10 cm tall. It usually grows into dense clumps or clusters and its leaves are half-round and flattened on the upper side and have sharp tips and fine hair. This plant is monocarpic, once it blooms its flowers, it dies. Then it will be replaced by the small plantlets around it. Its flowers are small and white.
Chinese Jade is toxic to both cats and dogs. When ingested it can cause nausea, vomiting, and abdominal upset. If a cat has accidentally ingested this plant, they can appear to have tremors and drunkenness.
2. Snake Plant – Its scientific name is Sansevieria Trifasciata. It is also known as Good Luck Plant or Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. Its leaves have sharp pointy edges, it grows vertically and its appearance resembles a snake with its dark green with light gray-green color.
3. String of Pearls – Its scientific name is Senecio Rowleyanus. This plant is also known as String of Pearls plant. It is a perennial succulent vine plant that has long stems and has round leaves that resemble peas. It also looks like a small fruit that can be quite appealing to your pets and small children. It blooms small white flowers that have a vanilla-cinnamon scent. This plant is commonly grown in hanging planters to keep them away from pets.
The sap from the string of pearls can cause skin irritation to some pets, and even humans. If accidentally ingested, it can also be toxic to cats. The symptoms you will see when this is ingested are drooling, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, diarrhea, and lethargy.
Cats may appear lethargic; they will exhibit symptoms such as clumsiness, extreme laziness, and an inability to focus their eyes on an object. Some cats appear to be intoxicated as well.
4. Christmas Cactus – Its scientific name is Schlumbergera bridgessii. It is also known as Thanksgiving Cactus or Easter Cactus. This succulent is easy to care for and can be easily propagated, which makes it a popular indoor plant and some even prefer it as a holiday gift for plant growers. This plant is not toxic to cats but you must watch out as it can cause allergic reactions to sensitive cats.
5. Jade Plant – Its scientific name is Crassula Ovata. It is also known as a Money Tree, Friendship Tree, or Lucky Plant. Its leaves are shiny and smooth.
This succulent is toxic to cats, especially when consumed in large amounts. The symptoms observed from ingesting this are vomiting, abdominal upset, incoordination, lethargy, low heart rate, and depression. The effects may subside, so make sure to keep a close watch on your cat during the first 24 hours.
6. Sago Palm – Its scientific name is Cycas Revoluta. This plant is classified as a cycad. It is one of the succulents poisonous to cats. Its leaves resemble long feathers just like the palm tree. This plant grows slowly. It contains cycasin, a chemical component that can attack the liver.
When the Sago Palm is ingested by cats the symptoms are the following: vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, and increased urination (you can observe these symptoms during the first hour of ingestion). Severe symptoms include blood in stool, yellow skin and gums, bleeding, and neurological signs that can be caused by liver failure.
7. Aloe Vera – It is one of the most popular succulents grown at home because of its medicinal and beneficial properties to humans. Aloe has different species from small to large variations. Aloes have long, fleshy green leaves that are usually covered with spines.
True aloe is considered toxic to cats as well. It contains anthraquinones, anthracene, and glycosides that can affect a cat’s stomach. These chemicals can change the color of the cat’s urine to red and cause vomiting. If you found out that your cat has accidentally ingested this plant make sure to bring it to the vet immediately.
8. Euphorbia – Some of the euphorbia plants like the Pencil Cactus or Crown of Thorns has sap that can be highly irritating to humans and pets as well. If the sap comes in contact with the skin it can cause itching of the skin, redness, and rashes, when ingested it can irritate the mouth, cause stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Euphorbia is also toxic to humans. If the sap enters the eyes, it can cause serious medical problems. Be careful when handling this plant. The white sap on the leaves is called latex. This sap can irritate the skin of humans and pets. When ingested in large amounts, it can cause liver and kidney issues. When you have cats, make sure to keep them away from this succulent.
9. Panda Plant – Its scientific name is Kalanchoe Tomentosa. This succulent is a small perennial shrub with fuzzy grayish-green leaves and dark red foliage. The leaves contain a gelatin substance that consists of insoluble calcium oxalates. If accidentally ingested by cats, it can cause immediate distress. The milder symptoms are pawing at the mouth, increased salivation or drooling, difficulty with swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
If cats ingest moderate amounts of the Panda Plant, the symptoms observed include: dilated pupils, increased heart rate, general weakness, and cardiac arrhythmias. Severe symptoms are tremors and seizures. If your cat has a history of seizures, make sure to keep watch and place it under close observation.
Kalanchoe plants also carry a toxin, bufadienolides, which affects the heart. It is a steroid in glycoside form. When your cat accidentally eats this plant ,you must immediately inform your veterinarian or call the Animal Poison Control Center.
10. Mother of Thousands – Its scientific name is Kalanchoe Daigremontiana. It is also known as the Alligator Plant and the Mexican Hat Plant. This succulent can be easily propagated because the edges of its leaves are covered with small plantlets. It consists of the toxin called daigremontianum. It is a toxic steroid to cats, the symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and some cases also experience abnormal heart rate, tremors, and seizures
11. Mother of Millions – Its scientific name is Kalanchoe Delagoensis. It is also known as the Chandelier Plant and the Devil’s Backbone. It is also referred to as Bryophyllum Delagoensis. This succulent is easy to care for and can be easily propagated because its leaves have small plantlets that can grow whenever they drop on the ground.
This plant is also harmful to cats. If a cat accidentally eats this plant, it can cause mild irritation and abdominal upset. Make sure to keep this away from your pets because when consumed in huge quantities, it can be lethal. Symptoms are vomiting, abdominal irritation, stomach upset, diarrhea, and abnormal heart rhythm.
What Succulents are Safe for Cats?
1. Burro’s Tail – This succulent is a perfect alternative to the String of Pearls plant. This plant has a thick stem and its leaves are oval-shaped and bluish-green.
2. Cushion Aloe – A native plant found in South Africa. This succulent is perfect for those who live in USDA climate zones 9-11. If you want to grow this plant indoors, you can, especially if you live in areas that have colder winters. This plant has an off-white color and prefers well-draining soil like this.
3. Mexican Firecracker – This succulent can be grown indoors or outdoors. It is easy to care for and can bloom beautiful red flowers with yellow tips.
4. Zebra Plant (Haworthia) – This plant is like a miniature aloe plant, but unlike the aloe, it is not toxic to pets. Its leaves are fleshy and have stripes that resemble a zebra.
5. Hens and Chicks (Houseleeks) – This succulent is a native plant found in Southern Europe and Northern Africa, this plant is a perennial plant, its leaves form rosettes. This plant is easy to propagate as the Mother Hen produces plantlets (chicks) that can be transplanted. This plant is ideal for those who want colorful plants that can withstand cooler climates.
6. Mexican Snowball – This plant is commonly found in Texas and Argentina. It grows well in the outdoors of the Southwestern part of the United States.
7. Prickly Pear – Opuntia is a genus in the cacti family. This cactus has flat joints and has edible pads, flowers, and fruit. Some of its varieties are Bunny Ears, Silver Dollar, and Beavertail.
How to Keep Cats Away From Succulents
2. Provide cats with plenty of entertainment such as toys or scratch post – Cats are usually curious and playful. They love to explore around. They need to be stimulated with toys and various forms of entertainment so they will not become bored. If cats are bored, they might find your succulents appealing.
A. Scratch post
A scratching post is a must for cat-owners. This post can help your cats scratch and sharpen their claws. Having a scratching post at home will help your cats let out their natural impulse to scratch and claw things.
Cats love to play and you must give them toys that move or be hung. You can use a variety of toys to keep them occupied and not bored. If your cats are entertained they will leave your succulents and other plants alone.
3. Give cats plants that are safe for them to play with or eat – You can give your plants that they love. It can help you keep your cats away from your succulents. You can use this as a form of distraction to your cats.
A. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) – This plant can be grown indoors or outdoors. This plant can stimulate cats and provide them with a burst of energy then it will be followed by a mellowing effect. You can grow catnip from seeds or you can buy live plants here.
Caution: Do not give too much catnip as it can cause overstimulation in some cats. You must monitor your cat for any signs of unusual or harmful effects.
B. Cat Grass – You can easily grow this indoors. It is safe around cats and other pets. Cats love cat grass and it is safe for them to play and nibble on it.
4. Keep your succulents away from your cats – If possible, you must keep your succulents in an area where your pet cat cannot access it. This room or area must have access to sunlight to keep your plants happy. You can also use grow lights like this.
5. Use a natural cat repellent spray – To prepare this: combine black pepper, dry mustard, and cinnamon in a spray bottle. Mix it with water. You can also add a few drops of citrus oil and a piece of crushed garlic clove. Spray this mixture on your plants to keep your cats away. You can also buy cat repellent spray like this and this.
6. Use sticks or skewers on your plants – You can use sticks or wooden chopsticks and stick them on the soil and place them around the succulents. This can help prevent your cats from digging in the soil or eating your plants. You can also use decorative rocks with sharp edges.
7. Grow plants that cats hate – Cats usually hate plants because of their smell. You can plant these plants beside your succulents to keep your cats away.
- Rosemary – Cats hate the smell of rosemary and the tendency for them is to stay away from these plants.
- Rue – This herb has a strong smell that cats hate.
- Citrus – Citrus scents can help deter most cats.
- Lavender – Cats do not like the smell of lavender.
- Scaredy-cat plant – Its scientific name is Coleus canina. This plant can be planted in your outdoor garden to keep cats and other animals away from your succulent collection. When choosing this plant, you must proceed with caution as its smell can also be awful even to humans.
Grow plants that cats hate
If your pet cat is a mischievous and playful little creature, be careful when getting a new houseplant, especially succulents. Make sure to do your research before getting one. If you are going to take care of a toxic succulent, you must place it in an area where your cat won’t reach it. To ensure the safety of your plant and pet, pick the ones that are safe for cats. You can choose the ones we have mentioned above.
If you want to know more information about succulents make sure to visit our website www.EdenSucculents.com. Please let us know if you have inquiries, questions, comments, or suggestions. We would like to hear from you!
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- Christmas cactus known as Thanksgiving cactus or Easter cactus. This popular, winter flowering houseplant makes a great addition to nearly any indoor setting.