Are Cactus Bad for Cats?

If you have decided to bring a feline home, you might have made the necessary preparations to make your home cat-friendly. It is natural to ask, “Are cactus bad for cats?”

Both cacti and cats are highly sensitive. Before introducing your cat to the cactus, you must educate yourself on feline comfort and the requirements of your cactus.

A cactus isn’t necessarily poisonous for your cat. But the spines might injure your feline friend.

Cats and Cacti

People love cacti since these plants require less maintenance. You don’t need to water them that often, and they will not burn in heat. Yet, some may fear the harmful effects on pets.

Cats may look cute when they begin to interact with your houseplant. But sometimes, cats and cacti don’t match. If your cat has gotten injured from the spines of your cacti, you must take it to the doctor.

So, how are cactus bad for cats?

A cactus is not poisonous to your cat. In that regard, cacti are cat friendly. However, since cats are social creatures and love smacking things around, the cacti’s spines might cause injury.

It is important to consult a professional, such as a vet or someone who knows houseplants well. They can advise you best on the kinds of cacti you can purchase if you have a cat at home.

Are Cactus Poisonous for Cats?

If you are wondering, “Are cactus poisonous for cats,” we can assure you with a resounding no. Cacti aren’t poisonous to felines in any way. Unlike other plants, these don’t contain those chemicals that can cause reactions. But the spikes may hurt!

Cats and Plants

If you introduce an indoor plant to your home, chances are your cat will interact with it. This means that certain flowers and plants might not be safe for cats.

Your pet might start to chew on your plant, sniff at it, or rub against it. Any potentially poisonous substance can rub off on the animal and cause irritation.

Common symptoms of an adverse reaction to plants include inflammation of the stomach or skin surrounding the mouth. Your cat might begin to vomit or refuse to eat.

If you notice any such signs, you must visit the vet immediately. Prolonged exposure might cause organ failure.

The ASPCA provides a detailed list of all the plants that are toxic to cats throughout the USA. Some common ones you should avoid include;

  • Azaleas
  • Rhododendrons
  • Daisies
  • Tulips
  • Daffodils
  • Narcissus
  • Dieffenbachia
  • English Ivy
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Lily
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Peace Lily
  • Oleander
  • Pothos
  • Sago Palm
  • Yew
  • Spanish Thyme
  • Cyclamen
  • Hyacinth
  • Amaryllis

You might notice not spotting cacti in this list! Are cactus bad for cats?

If you are thinking of introducing cacti to your home, don’t worry. They are cat-friendly!

Why Are Cacti So Popular?

So, why are cacti so popular? Why are people thinking of introducing a cactus to their homes?

A cactus isn’t just cat-friendly. They are easy to care for and can survive extreme temperatures. You can keep them in hot, humid, and dry climates without worrying about their safety.

However, they can also survive in wetter climates. You just need to find the right species. Since they are so dynamic and flexible, they are a perfect choice for beginners.

Cacti also add to the visual appeal of a home. They don’t just adapt to your home but also add to a space’s interior architecture and value.

You can add a cactus to your home and essentially forget about it without worrying that it will die. Of course, the more time you spend caring for it, the better it will grow.

Why Do Cats Love Cactuses?

The fact that you are worrying about the question, “Are cactus bad for cats,” means that you have experienced your feline friend chewing on a few objects around your home.

Cats don’t just love cactuses. They love to chew on all plants and inanimate objects. If you are introducing a plant to your home and don’t have a well-trained cat, you might not be left with much after some weeks.

You might not care about the mess or the loss of a gorgeous plant. However, you are bound to worry about the health of the animal. Because cactus spikes are sharp, it is normal to wonder whether they are cat-friendly.

Why do cats chew on cactuses in the first place?

1. Their Nature

Cats are naturally inquisitive. They may run around your home exploring every new addition. When you add a cactus to the mix, they might want to smack it around.

Your feline friend might not only be curious but also territorial. Considering your cat has spent a significant time in your home, a new addition can be confusing and threatening.

Introducing the cat to the cactus is important once you bring it home. This can remove the initial excitement and apprehension. However, you might not be able to stop it from biting or punching it initially.

2. A Lack of Proper Diet

If you find your cat constantly munching on cactus leaves, it might be experiencing a lack of proper diet. Cacti are cat-friendly, and your feline friend might get some fiber out of the plant.

Moreover, cacti can also store a lot of water. Munching on the leaves, roots, or stems can allow your cat to intake more water which it might be missing.

Another reason your cat keeps digging into or consuming your cactus’ soil is that it is looking for nutrients. If your cat consumes a diet with low nutrients, it might try to meet the gap by eating your cactus soil which contains iron and calcium.

The best way to diagnose the problem is to get your cat’s health evaluated by a doctor. Your doctor can tell you whether your cat has any deficiencies.

Try to keep your cat well-fed and provide it with a water bowl to quench its thirst.

3. Pleasure

Your cat might also rub against the plant or bite it to experience a different texture. This can provide it sensory pleasure or relief.  

If your cat keeps rubbing intensively or scratching its teeth against the plant, it is best to get it checked by the vet. It might suffer from gum disease or skin infection and may need medical attention.

The Solution: Stopping Your Cat from Ruining Your Cactus

Some of the things you can do to prevent your cat from attacking your cactus include;

1. Repel with Smell

You might wonder whether spraying a cat with water will prevent it from going near the plant. This isn’t recommended.

Spraying water on a cat has the opposite effect. It might teach it to go near the plant when you aren’t looking. Moreover, it might also traumatize the cat and cause anxiety.

The best way to deal with this problem is to spray your cactus with liquids that don’t smell that nice to your feline friend.

Since cats can smell much better than humans, stronger smells aren’t that appealing to their olfactory senses.

You can try to create a citrus spray by mixing some citrus essential oil with water. Spray it on your plants and leave it for some time. The same can be done with pepper.

Another thing you can try is dabbing the leaves with some apple cider vinegar. This will also keep your cat at bay!

2. Use Touch

Why are cacti bad for cats? We have established that they aren’t poisonous, but since the spikes can end up hurting your cat, it is best to keep them away.

One way is to use touch to ruin their experience. You can try adding rocks to the soil or cat-friendly training tape. This is for cats who like to dig or eat the soil.

Once your cat tries to climb on top of the cactus and chew at the soil, it will experience an unpleasant sensation due to the sticky tape. This may cause it to avoid the plant the next time.

3. Divert Their Attention

You can try diverting your cat’s attention from the cactus. If you are still concerned about the question, “Are cactus poisonous for cats,” you can help your feline friend avoid them.

Try to set up a simple cage all around your plant. Your cat might not realize that an appealing and munchable cactus plant is hiding in the midst of that cage!

If you want to make the cactus appealing to guests, you can also color it or add decorative patterns. Just ensure your cat doesn’t find out what you are hiding!

4. Make Them Work for It

Cats may only try to bite the cactus if it is easily accessible. Once you begin to make them work for it, it might not be that appealing. You can do this by hanging the cacti and making sure there is nothing the cat can use to jump onto and access it.

The easiest way to prevent your cats from destroying any plant is to keep them out of reach. This doesn’t just work with cats but also is a great idea for small children.

Putting plants on high shelves stacked against the wall, in the kitchen, or on the counter isn’t a great idea. Cats are great athletes and can quickly jump around and access the plant. If your cat is really dedicated, it will find a way.

You can try adding the same training tape or up the ante by investing in some foil. Cats don’t like sticky textures or loud noises and may avoid touching the plant after the first time.

For this, you might need to allow your cat to access the plant once or twice to experience the sound for itself.

Combine different difficulty levels for your cat. It is best to consider this a game between you and your feline friend. Place a bunch of large pots around small plants you wish to protect or others you think might be poisonous. Your cats will never be able to get through!

5. Provide them with Stimulation

If your cat keeps getting into your plants, it might be craving attention. Try giving them some toys that they can chew on or scratch posts.

This allows them to release some energy and forget about your plants. You can also try introducing some catnip to their diet and let them play with it.

The more time you give to your cat, the calmer it will be around your plants. Chances are, your cat is destroying your plants for some attention.

Cacti found across the USA might be cat-friendly, but if you don’t want them destroyed, play with your cat more often. This is especially needed for domestic cats that remain indoors and aren’t allowed outside.

Your cat might look at birds and other animals darting around on the outside. This might push them to munch on plants and beg for some attention. Don’t leave it hanging!

Tire your cat out so that when it comes to your cactus, it doesn’t have the energy to destroy it!

According to Pet MD, some species, such as a Christmas Cactus, might be poisonous to cats if ingested in large amounts. Small amounts might not matter, but if your cat has been vomiting, consider visiting the vet.

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Final Thoughts

The best way to deal with a highly inquisitive cat is to tire it out. This involves playing with it or giving it sufficient toys to keep it engaged.

A cat that keeps chewing on your plants or following you whenever you water them might simply be begging for attention. Give it the love it deserves!

It is also best to care for your cat’s diet. A lack of nutrients can cause it to look to houseplants for food. Ensure it gets all the nutrients it needs.

Cacti might be cat-friendly. But large amounts might cause gastrointestinal issues when ingested. Take care of your feline friends and nip bad habits in the bud to avoid health issues!

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