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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Clark

To Chew or Not to Chew... That Is the Question! 🌱

Everywhere I look recently all I see are houseplants! It’s clear that more Millennial's and Gen-Z’ers are opting to become plant parents as well as cat parents.

And it’s no secret why! Not only do indoor plants enhance the overall appearance of a space, but studies show they boost moods, increase creativity, reduce stress, and eliminate air pollutants making us feel healthier and happier.

But how do our felines feel about all of those new plants taking up room in your shared space? Even though our house plants create a bright and healthy atmosphere for us, does it do the same for our cats?

My 9-month-old kitten Obsidian loves to chomp on any leafy green he can find, and if I didn’t do a little research before bringing home new house plants, his habit might end up sending us on an emergency visit to the vet!

To protect your kitty friends and mine, I thought I’d share my findings.

Turns out, some of the most popular house plants are harmful to cats! Certain plants can be toxic to cats when ingested, sometimes causing seizures, tremors, or worse. 

No matter how well-behaved your cat is, they’re curious creatures who are bound to take a bite of a houseplant at some point. With this in mind, it’s better to know what plants are safe and harmful for your cat so you can keep a healthy and happy home for you both.

The top 5 most popular house plants to watch out for are:

1. Aloe: Although aloe vera is known for its health benefits for people, it contains saponins (specifically anthraquinone glycosides), and this compound is toxic to cats.

Anthraquinone glycosides act like laxatives.

2. Monstera deliciosa: The Monstera Deliciosa plant, one of the most popular houseplants, contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are highly toxic to animals, including cats.

3. Pothos: If you suspect your cat has ingested Pothos, contact your veterinarian right away. In some cases, oral swelling and irritation may block their airway, causing suffocation. In severe cases, the calcium oxalate crystals can damage the stomach's soft tissues. Severe complications can lead to a painful death.

4. Snake Plant: Snake plants contain chemical compounds called saponins, which result in feline nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if consumed or chewed on. 

5. Eucalyptus: A popular plant used in skincare, essential oils, and bathroom showers.

Dried or fresh, eucalyptus is dangerous for your cat. Your cat can experience salivation,

seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, confusion, and other concerning symptoms after consuming this potent houseplant. To keep your cats safe, use eucalyptus essential oil in a sealed container instead of fresh or dried plants.

Don’t panic and throw away all your plants, or your cat! It might be okay to house some of these plants as long as you can at least keep them out of reach from your cats. But if you’d rather not risk it, there are plenty of non-toxic plant options to choose from too!

Now when I visit a trendy plant store or my local Home Depot (pro-tip: they have great deals on many pet-safe indoor plants!), I make sure I know what non-toxic plant to look for, and I always keep google handy when I’m browsing. But let me save you a little time with the research I’ve already done.

Here are the top 5 non-toxic house plants for your cats:

1. Spider Plant: A favorite of plant parents and veterinarians alike, the spider plant is super easy to grow indoors and are low-light plants. They are great air purifiers and will get rid of your home’s toxins.

2. Parlor Palm: Most people think all palms are toxic to cats, but we are in luck! These palms are slow growers and only need a few hours of indirect light a day. Better for the plant parents who are home more often to make sure the soil is evenly moist.

3. Ponytail Palm: The cutest of the palm family and the easiest to grow! These plants are

good for the black thumb plant parents as they require dry soil and only need to be

fertilized two to three times per year. Watch out where you leave these if your cat is like

mine they will make sure to swat at its draping fronds.

4. The Boston Fern: The Boston fern is a thick and luscious green plant that is sure to

brighten any space. They thrive in a cool place with indirect light and high humidity,

mine shines in my bathroom. Don’t worry about your cat taking a nibble this plant won’t

hurt them.

5. Baby Tears: A great plant for first-time plant parents it likes a higher temperature and

filtered light. It is completely safe for cats, but they may look at it as a toy with its

beautiful dripping tendrils almost like it was meant to attract cats.

Best of all, these non-toxic plants listed above are on the lower maintenance side of plant care, for those cat owners like me who can barely keep succulents alive. (We’re trying to be realistic here, okay? It’s a process).

So whether you’re a novice plant owner like me or an expert house plant professional, keep your feline friends in mind as you slowly transform your living room into a Tik-Tok-inspired greenhouse.


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