Succulent plants can add a lovely décor to your home. These houseplants are easy to care for and are hardy both indoors and out. But if you have cats inside the home, you may be wondering if that succulent plant used as a centerpiece on your breakfast table is safe for your feline fur baby.
The short answer is that not all succulent plants are poisonous to cats, but a few are, so it’s important to learn which ones are safe. Most succulents are harmless, but there are a few you should be aware of that are poisonous. Read on to discover which ones are non-toxic and which ones you should steer clear of.
What are succulent plants?
Succulent plants have thick, fleshy leaves that store water. They can withstand dry climates because of their ability to hold water, and their low-maintenance requirement makes this plant a popular choice for both indoor and outdoor plants. They look great on tabletops or a baker’s rack.
Are cats attracted to succulent plants?
Cats are naturally curious creatures, and some want to explore anything that strikes their attention. Not all cats will be attracted to the plant; however, some may find the plant tempting and take a bite or two to examine the unknown object further. If you have a naturally curious cat that loves to explore, you must know for sure if your particular succulent plant is toxic or safe. If you cannot find conclusive data, it’s a good idea to ask your veterinarian for assurance.
The 4 Succulent Plants That Are Toxic to Cats
As mentioned, there are a few succulent plants that you’ll want to avoid because of their toxicity to cats.
The euphorbia succulent plant, also known as spurge, belongs to a large genus with a vast amount of different species, including the poinsettias and crown of thorns. Many people are familiar with poinsettias for their beautiful red leaves that serve well for a Christmas décor, but you don’t want these plants around your cat. If ingested, symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhea. The plant has a milky sap that can irritate the skin and eyes.
Oddly enough, this plant is also known as the lucky plant or money plant because it’s thought to bring financial prosperity and good luck. If your cat gets ahold of this plant, however, the only financial outcome and luck you’ll see is a dent in your checkbook and bad luck for your cat. If your cat ingests this plant, common symptoms are incoordination, vomiting, and depression. If you suspect your cat has gotten into a jade plant, a trip to the vet is justified.
3. Aloe Vera
This succulent plant is terrific to have around for treating minor burns and sores. For your cat, however, it’s considered mild to moderately poisonous. The aloe vera plant has a component called saponins that can cause lethargy, diarrhea, and vomiting. This plant does not appear to be life-threatening to your cat, but you’ll still want to keep your feline pal away.
This plant comes from the tropics and blooms beautiful colors. Other names for this plant are the chandelier plant, mother of millions, and of course, the devil’s backbone. This plant contains cardiac toxins known as bufadienolides, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It may also cause abnormal heart rhythms if consumed in large amounts. Due to the cardiac toxins, it’s recommended to take your furball to the vet if you suspect your cat decided to explore the devil’s backbone.
The 4 Succulent Plants That Are Safe for Cats
There are more safe succulents plants than non-safe. If you love these types of plants, here is a list of safe succulent plants to have around without the worry of making your cat sick. Below are a few danger-free succulent plants worth considering.
This plant, also known as the zebra cactus, has a spikey appearance similar to the aloe vera plant but without toxicity. They are easy to care for, and their green, spikey leaves and white polka dots add an elegant look to any home.
2. Hens and Chickens
These plants, also known as houseleeks, are ideal for either indoor or outdoor plants. They’re easy to grow and do well in rock gardens or containers. The circular arrangement of the primary leaves, known as rosettes, is called “hens,” and the smaller offshoots are called “chicks.”
3. Christmas Cactus
This safe succulent offers beauty to any area in the home. And the best part? It’s safe for your felines kiddos. It blooms around Christmas time (hence the name) and requires indirect sunlight. The bloom colors are pink, purple, red, or white, and it usually blooms from November to February. It may be hard to find this plant at any other time of the year, but it’s a beautiful alternative to the poisonous poinsettia.
These beautiful succulent plants have rose-shaped rosettes, green fleshy leaves and are easy to grow. There are many different types and colors of this plant, all of which are non-toxic to cats.
How to keep your cats safe with succulent plants
As we’ve learned, there are many different types of succulent plants, with most of them harmless to your feline friends. Knowing exactly what kind of succulent plant you have to ensure your cat’s safety is detrimental. You’ll also want to know this information so you can inform poison control exactly what your cat ate. When in doubt, always seek expert advice, such as a botanist or your veterinarian.
Keep in mind, too, that just because a plant is considered non-toxic doesn’t mean that you should allow your cat to eat them. Discouraging the behavior can eliminate a potential health issue down the road. If you already have succulent plants in your home, be sure to find out what type it is. If it’s toxic, either rehome the plant or put it somewhere your cat can’t access.
- Related read: Are Bromeliads Toxic to Cats? What You Need to Know!
Featured Image Credit: Zhukovskaya Elena, Shutterstock