If you have a cat, you know that they love to explore and climb to the highest places. Some cats don’t care about plants and won’t eat them, other cats will perform acrobatics to eat the plant you placed on your highest shelves. If you want to know more about whether or not your precious kitty will get sick from nibbling adorable succulent leaves, keep reading.
When you have pets, it’s always the safest practice to check the toxicity and impact it will have on your pet before bringing a plant indoors. Especially now that succulents have become popular and there is more access to exotic varieties. Pet owners should consult their vets immediately if they suspect their pet has consumed toxic plants or succulents.
Are succulents poisonous to cats?
Yes, they can be. However, most succulents are non toxic.
To better understand the safety of succulents and cats, it helps to understand the different types of succulents and their associated toxicity. When researching it is best to use the scientific names, as the common names often vary depending on region.
Here is a list of popular succulents known to be poisonous to cats:
Aloe vera is a very common houseplant and used for medicinal purposes. It contains glycosides, anthraquinones, and anthracene and can cause gastrointestinal issues, and changes in urine color.
Euphorbia tirucalli (Pencil Cactus)
Often used as a vertical accent outdoors by landscape designers. It causes diarrhea, drooling, irritation and vomiting. The milky latex plant sap can also cause skin irritation.
Crassula ovata (Jade Plant)
A very popular succulent that grows as a small shrub or tree. It can cause a multitude of problems such as, loss of muscle function, slow heart rate, lethargy, weakness, and increased aggression.
Curio rowleyanus (String of Pearls)
A very popular succulent that grows with trailing stems with pearl shaped leaves. Causes vomiting and gastrointestinal issues because of its sap and pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which inhibit cell division primarily in the liver. Vomiting, drooling, increased aggression, diarrhea, lethargy, and weakness are common symptoms of ingestion.
Kalanchoe Tomentosa (Panda Plant)
The panda plant is a “fuzzy” succulent that looks like velvety ears. It produces insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that can cause oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, and choking.
Sansevieria tariffsciata (Snake Plant)
Snake plants are a very popular houseplant because of their ease of care and ability to survive neglect. Snakes plants produce saponins that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Cotyledon orbiculata (Pig’s Ear)
A thick leaved succulent that varies from green to grey with a red line around its edges. It has a powdery coating of wax that protects the plant. It contains a toxic substance called cotyledontoxin that can cause vomiting, depression, and various cardiovascular problems.
Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Mother of Thousands)
This succulent can propagate from plantlets that develop on its leaf margins. It is a unique succulent with lots of visual interest, which makes it an attractive houseplant. It will cause adverse symptoms and even death. Symptoms include diarrhea, drooling, nausea, vomiting, weakness, and dilated pupils.
This is not a complete list of succulents that are poisonous to cats. For many cats, it is just too difficult to avoid the lure of a new plant in their space. So it is always a good idea to avoid the succulents listed above and to do thorough research of any succulents you are bringing into your home.