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Are Orchids Poisonous to Cats? What You Need To Know!

jewel orchids

There are plenty of plants that are poisonous to animals. There are over 400 plants that are toxic to cats. The good news is that most orchids aren’t harmful to cats. However, with more than 300 species of orchids out there, it’s probably worth calling your vet to make sure your cat’s okay.

While most houseplants aren’t toxic to cats, they can cause stomach pain and vomiting because cats aren’t meant to eat plant matter. That doesn’t mean you should let your cat nibble on your houseplants, though. Furthermore, just because something isn’t toxic doesn’t mean it’s edible.

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What’s the Difference Between Non-Toxic and Edible?

If something is listed as non-toxic, that doesn’t mean it’s food. It means that it’s more or less safe to eat, but your body will not process it as food. It won’t provide your body with nutrients or sustain it. It just won’t kill you.

If something is edible, that means that your body will process it as food. It means that your stomach creates the enzymes needed to break it down into the nutrients that sustain your body’s function.

Just because something isn’t edible for humans doesn’t mean it’s inedible for other animals. Cats eat many things that are considered inedible for humans, like bones. But the reverse is also true; just because something is edible to humans doesn’t mean cats can have it.

What Plants Are Toxic for Cats?

The ASPCA lists all of the plants known to be toxic to cats, dogs, and horses. Their list is comprehensive and includes plants known to be harmful, those that might be toxic, and even those that are mildly poisonous and only cause an upset stomach. However, while their list is expansive, it isn’t all-inclusive. So if you catch your cat nibbling on a plant, it’s in your best interests

Some common houseplants like daffodils, lilies, baby’s breath, and aloe vera are dangerous for cats and should be avoided for your decor if you have a cat.

It should also be noted that the consumption of any plant material at all can cause gastrointestinal upset and vomiting. Cats are obligate carnivores and aren’t made to break down any amount of plant material at all. So, even if your cat only nibbles on a plant that’s safe for them, it can still lead to an upset stomach.

Additionally, many houseplants are treated with pesticides that can be harmful to animals. Even if the plant itself is safe for the animals, the products used on it before it reached your home may not be.

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What Plants Are Safe for Cats?

Gray Cat Enjoying Fresh Catnip
Image Credit: Anna Hoychuk, Shutterstock

Even though nature didn’t design cats to break down plant matter, that doesn’t mean all plants are inedible to them. In the wild, cats eat a pretty varied diet. They must hunt for their food, and their food is primarily herbivorous prey animals which means that it’s no walk in the park to produce a meal.

There are a small variety of plants that cat parents can keep to beautify their homes and provide a healthy snack for a curious cat. If you plan to allow your cat to nose around in your plants, make sure you thoroughly wash the leaves in case they were treated with any pesticides at the store.

Catnip

While most of us indulge ourselves and our cats in a little dried catnip, few of us think about growing catnip at home. Whether you dry the leaves or let your cats nibble off the fresh leaves, you and your cat can enjoy the fragrant plant.

In addition to being a healthy treat for cats, catnip plants flower! They produce little white flowers that are also edible for your cats and beautiful to look at.

Cat Grass

Grass is a very low-maintenance plant that’s easy to grow, and cat grass is no different. Cat grass isn’t an individual plant, but a seed mixture made from barley, wheat, oats, and rye. While there is a long-standing myth that cats only eat grass if they’re ill, research shows that cats may eat plants just because they like them.

Cat grass kits have become very popular, and you can get a DIY kit at almost any pet store.

cat eating catnip
Image Credit: Olga Malinina, Shutterstock

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is another kind of plant that’s a popular treat amongst felines. Pet parents will love the plant’s citrus fragrance and mosquito-repelling properties, and the felines get a tasty treat. Don’t let your cats eat too much, though, or they might get an upset stomach.

Lemon Thyme

Most herbs are safe for cats to snack on as well. Lemon thyme has a similar citrusy scent to lemongrass, and it’s straightforward to grow. You just have to leave it in a place where it will get a lot of sun!

Mint

Catnip is part of the mint family, and mint can be an excellent treat for your cats in small quantities. As with anything, too much of a good thing can make you sick, so don’t let your cats overindulge. But if you want to add a fresh smelling herb to your repertoire that’s also safe if your cats nibble on it, mint is a great option.

tabby cat savoring catnip in the garden
Image Credit: Badon Hill Studio, Shutterstock

Valerian

Valerian is an excellent option for people who have outdoor gardens that they want to spruce up with a beautiful, cat-friendly plant. Valerian produces gorgeous purple flowers that are safe for cat consumption and great for pollinators such as bees!

Spider Plant

Spider plants are another great plant that you can keep if your cats love to snack on your plants, Cats can take a strong interest in playing with the spider plant’s dangly leaves, and the leaves are non-toxic for them if they eat them.

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Conclusion

Cats are curious creatures that will put their mouths on just about anything, which can bring a lot of worry to their pet parents. Luckily, most plants we commonly keep in households are safe even if they can’t digest the plants for nutrients. There are even a variety of plants that are edible for cats and help with their digestive systems.


Featured Image Credit: Sirinn3249, Shutterstock

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