If you own a cat and are considering adding a snake plant to your home, you may wonder if it’s safe. After all, cats can sometimes be curious and try chewing on or eating plants.
The good news is that the snake plant is generally safe for cats. While it can cause mild to moderate stomach upset if ingested, it usually won’t cause any long-term issues.
Here we will cover the potential risks of snake plants for cats and how to keep your pet safe.
Overview of snake plant
The snake plant, also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a popular houseplant known for its long, slender leaves and ability to thrive in various indoor conditions.
It is native to West Africa and has been grown and cultivated for centuries for medicinal and ornamental purposes.
Snake plants are easy to care for, requiring minimal watering and maintenance, and they are known to be effective at purifying the air by removing toxins and increasing oxygen levels.
They are also drought-resistant and can withstand low light conditions, making them a popular choice for indoor gardening.
A common concern about snake plants potentially being harmful to pets
One common concern among pet owners is that snake plants may be toxic to their animals, particularly cats.
While snake plants are generally considered safe for pets, such leaves contain saponins, which can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.
Saponins are a chemical compound that can cause irritation or inflammation in the digestive system, leading to vomiting, diarrhea, and other digestive issues.
In severe cases, ingesting large amounts of snake plant material can lead to more serious symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, tremors, and even death.
It is worth noting that snake plant poisoning is rare, and most cats will not ingest enough of it to cause serious harm.
Effects of snake plant poisoning on cats
While the snake plant is not poisonous to cats, it can cause gastrointestinal upset if ingested in large quantities.
Symptoms of snake plant poisoning in cats may include vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
Contact your veterinarian or local animal hospital immediately if you suspect your cat has ingested a poisonous plant.
Tips for keeping snake plants out of reach of cats
Keep snake plants out of reach
Place them on high shelves or in hanging baskets where cats cannot easily access them.
Use gates or fences to block off areas where snake plants are kept, or consider using a plant stand with a protective cover.
Train your cat to stay away
Use positive reinforcement techniques to train your cat to stay away from the snake plants. Reward your cat for good behavior and ignore attempts to chew on or play with the plants.
Choose pet-friendly plants
Consider choosing other plants that are not toxic to cats, such as spider plants or bamboo.
Use a bitter spray
Apply a bitter-tasting spray or gel to the leaves of the snake plants to discourage your cat from chewing on them.
Provide plenty of distractions
Make sure your cat has toys, scratching posts, and other activities to keep them entertained and away from the snake plants.
Use a plant stand with a protective cover
Place your snake plants on a plant stand with a protective cover to keep your cat from getting to the plants.
Keep the plants trimmed
Regularly trim the leaves of the snake plants to keep them out of reach of your cat.
Keep the plants well-watered
Make sure the snake plants are well-watered to discourage your cat from trying to chew on them.
Supervise your cat
Keep a close eye on your cat when they are near the snake plants to ensure they do not try to chew on them.
Common house plants that are poisonous to cats
Several common houseplants are poisonous to cats if ingested. Cat owners need to be aware of these plants and keep them out of reach of their pets. Some common houseplants that are poisonous to cats include:
All parts of the lily plant are toxic to cats and can cause kidney failure if ingested.
Sago palms contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and liver failure in cats.
Also known as dumb cane, dieffenbachia contains oxalates that can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth and throat if ingested.
Philodendron plants contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth and throat if ingested.
English ivy contains triterpenoid saponins, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain if ingested.
Kalanchoe plants contain toxins that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors if ingested.
Chrysanthemums contain pyrethrin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and tremors if ingested.
How to deal with a cat that eats a poisonous plant?
If your cat has eaten a poisonous plant, you should first call your veterinarian or local animal hospital.
If you have the plant with you, please take it with you or find the name and type of plant so the veterinarian can better assist you.
There is no definitive answer for the course of treatment as it will depend on the kind of plant consumed, how much was consumed, and your cat’s overall health.
The veterinarian will likely induce vomiting and give your cat activated charcoal to bind toxins in their system.
They may also give them IV fluids to help flush their system. Blood may also be taken for clotting tests and to check for anemia. With prompt treatment, most cats will make a full recovery.
It is generally unlikely that a snake plant will kill a cat. While some parts of the snake plant contain saponins, which can be toxic if ingested in large quantities, most cats will not eat enough of the plant to cause serious harm.
It is important to keep snake plants out of reach of cats to prevent any potential accidental ingestion, as it can cause digestive issues such as vomiting and diarrhea.
If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of a snake plant or other potentially toxic plant. In that case, it is important to seek medical attention from a veterinarian as soon as possible.