Are Snake Plants Toxic To Cats?

Here’s what cat parents need to know about this succulent 🌿

cat and snake plant

If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant to add to your home decor, you might be considering succulents, like snake plants. But are snake plants toxic to cats?

We spoke to Dr. Chyrle Bonk, a veterinarian with Hepper, to find out more about snake plant toxicity. Plus, we included different kinds of plants that can safely coexist in a house with cats.

Are snake plants toxic to cats?

Snake plants, also called mother-in-law’s tongue, are toxic to cats. All parts of the plant contain saponins, which are organic chemicals that protect plants from bugs, bacteria and fungi.

Luckily, saponins are only mildly toxic, and most cats won’t try to eat that much of the plant anyway.

“Most of the time, cats won’t eat enough snake plant to cause major problems due to the plant's bitter taste,” Dr. Bonk told The Dodo.

But you should still know the symptoms of snake plant poisoning in cats, just to be safe.

“They contain the compound saponin, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, drooling, swelling in the mouth and a decreased appetite,” Dr. Bonk said. “Eating a couple bites of snake plant can cause symptoms for one or two days.”

What to do if your cat eats snake plant

“Contact your veterinarian immediately if you know that your cat bit or ate any snake plant or if they are showing any of the symptoms,” Dr. Bonk said. You can also call a pet poison hotline.

Give your vet as much info as possible, including the plant that was eaten and your cat’s medical history. You should also take note of how long it’s been since your cat ate the plant and how much he ate (if you know).

Since cats generally won’t eat a lot of the plant because of the taste, snake plant poisoning is rarely fatal. But it’s still a good idea to contact your vet if your cat eats a bite of a snake plant. They can help treat symptoms that come up, like vomiting and diarrhea, to make your cat feel better.

Plants that are safe for cats

It’s best to avoid having snake plants in your home at all if you have a cat. But if you like having plants in your home, luckily there are some other cat-safe plants you can buy, including:

  • African violets
  • Baby tears
  • Banana trees
  • Spider plants
  • Venus fly traps
  • Areca palms
  • Boston ferns
  • Calathea
  • Friendship plants
  • Peperomias
  • Parlor palms
  • Orchids
  • Mosaic or nerve plants
  • Bromeliads
  • Ponytail palms
  • Polka dot plants
  • Purple waffle plants
  • Royal velvet plants or purple passion
  • Haworthia
  • Echeveria succulents
  • Money trees

So if your cat nibbles on a snake plant, don’t worry. He’ll most likely be totally fine — he might just have an upset stomach for a while.

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