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Home > Cats > Are Croton Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet-Approved Facts & Safety Guide

Are Croton Plants Toxic to Cats? Vet-Approved Facts & Safety Guide

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Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The croton (Codiaeum variegatum), also called garden croton, is a superb perennial plant native to Malaysia.1 Its leathery, lobed leaves take on beautiful bright colors when exposed to light. During the summer, tiny yellow star-shaped flowers may appear in clusters.

However, if you are a cat owner, you probably already know the attraction that your beautiful indoor plants have on your curious little feline. While most are safe for cats, the croton plant sadly is not. Indeed, the Pet Poison Helpline has it in its list of poisonous plants for pets.2 Read on to learn the symptoms of croton ingestion by cats and what to do if it happens.

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What Happens If Your Cat Ingests a Croton Plant?

If you catch your cat chewing on a piece of your lovely croton plant, be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting
  • Skin irritation (especially if the cat has been in contact with the sap)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestion problems

These are all due to oral and gastrointestinal irritation in your pet. The severity of the signs will be depending on the amount ingested. Fortunately, the toxicity to croton ingestion is rated as mild.

snowshoe cat being checked by vet
Image By: Yuliya Alekseeva, Shutterstock

What to Do If Your Cat Ingests a Croton Plant

Although serious complications from croton ingestion are fairly rare, the symptoms should not be taken lightly, or your cat may develop more serious health problems.

If you suspect that your cat has ingested a croton plant, make sure to:

  • Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline ((855) 764-7661). The degree of toxicity of a plant can vary depending on the amount ingested, your cat’s physical condition, age, and other factors. Calling a professional is therefore the first step when you believe that your pet has eaten something toxic.
  • Do not try to make your cat vomit,
  • Check your cat’s litter regularly. Note any changes in the color, texture, and shape of their stool.
  • Observe their behavior. A cat in pain tends to hide, be more nervous, refuse food, meow louder, and even be more aggressive.

How to Keep Your Cat Safe

The good news is that the croton plant has a bitter taste that usually puts cats off. Therefore, it is quite possible that even if your kitty chews on a piece, its repulsive taste will make them regret their curiosity. Nevertheless, since prevention is better than cure, it is best to keep your croton plant out of reach of your intrepid feline.

However, if you want full peace of mind, there are plenty of other beautiful indoor plants that are safe for cats.

adult orange tabby cat looking up on green blanket wagging tail
Image Credit: Lux Blue, Shutterstock

divider-cat Top 5 Cat-Friendly Indoor Plants

1. Haworthia

Part of the succulent family, Haworthia species looks like the aloe plant. Its long, pointed leaves also give it a bit of a cactus-like appearance (minus the thorns!).

In addition, this plant is as easy to maintain as succulents, requiring a bit of water and a large amount of indirect light. It’s perfect on a decorative shelf or at the corner of your work desk!

Haworthia
Image By: MartinPhotography, Pixabay

2. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exalta bostoniensis)

The fern is a classic and 100% safe for your four-legged creatures. In addition, it adapts to all styles of decoration. You just have to change its pot to give it a completely different look!

Boston Fern
Image Credit By: inonoyazy, pixabay

3. Succulents (Echeveria species)

These have been invading Pinterest boards for a few years, and we understand why! Colorful, easy to care for, and oh-so-pretty, these succulents are also safe for little kittens.

String of pearls succulent plant
Image Credit: Veronicatxoxo, Pixabay

4. Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

The spider plant is an omnipresent decoration. Often hung in a planter or perched on top of kitchen cabinets, it is harmless for your beloved feline.

Moreover, these plants have the particularity of having “babies” quite quickly, so you will get several plants for the price of one!

Spider Plant on a wooden table
Image Credit: Bozhena Melnyk, Shutterstock

5. African violet (Saintpaulia species)

The African violet is a beautiful plant with domed leaves and colorful flowers. It’s perfect for giving a touch of shine to a piece of furniture or a corner that lacks a little love.

African Violets
Image Credit: AnitaBozic, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Croton plants are toxic to cats, and ingestion may cause oral and gastrointestinal irritation. Fortunately, these reactions are usually mild and temporary. However, if you notice any signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, or skin irritation in your pet, you should contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline immediately.


Featured Image Credit: ClaireDiaz, Pixabay

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