Being a plant and an animal enthusiast simultaneously can be tricky. The two interests don’t often align well and for a good reason. When it comes to snake plants, it gets even trickier. Certainly, they are easy to care for and also quite resilient as houseplants but are they worth having in a house with cats? It all boils down to the question, “is snake plant toxic to cats?” Let’s get right into it.
Is Snake Plant Toxic to Cats?
In a nutshell, yes. Snake plants aren’t only toxic to cats but also to dogs. With that said, let’s move further and dig into what makes these plants harmful.
As with everything else, plants also require a defensive mechanism to protect themselves from insects, fungi, and microbes. This is where a toxin, saponin, comes in. The component found in most snake plants is toxic enough to make your cat extremely sick.
What Will It Do to Your Cat?
If your cat accidentally chews on or ingests it, the toxin saponin will instantly go into its body. However, the consequences don’t end with the bitter taste.
Your cat will likely undergo the following symptoms:
- Swollen throat or mouth
- Loss of appetite
Also read: Are Dieffenbachia Toxic To Cats?
Is the Plant Fatal for Your Cat?
While you should look out for severe symptoms, know that a little ingestion won’t kill your cat. At the same time, you must also get your pet checked for any medical conditions or chronic illnesses.
The presence of either of the two can pose a serious threat to their health. On the plus side, your cat may not even attempt to ingest the plant at all. It will likely spit most of it out because of its bitter taste.
How Long Do the Symptoms Last?
Fortunately, saponin toxicity in a small amount isn’t fatal. Your cat may experience symptoms for two days, after which it will return to normal.
However, you want to ensure that your veterinarian is in the loop. Despite the absence of threat, you should get your cat checked for the amount of saponin it has ingested.
The symptoms aren’t always harmless. They cause significant pain and discomfort to your pet, sometimes to the extent that it meddles with their day-to-day routine. Look out for severe symptoms such as itching or swelling and upon noticing them, take your pet to the vet immediately.
How to Stop Your Cat from Ingesting a Snake Plant
If you love stocking up on houseplants, you can’t protect your pet from them all the time. It’s good to have the best of both worlds, but you may have to reconsider a few things if you want to save your cat from ingesting toxins.
Make It Hard for Your Cat to Reach the Plant
The best way to protect your cat from a snake plant is to place it at a good height. While cats can jump high, they won’t always be motivated to do so.
However, if yours is persistent, make sure not to have any supporting surface nearby to help it get to the plant.
Move the Plant to Another Location
If you’re a plant buff, we understand how hard it can be to remove a plant from your house completely. Instead, you can relocate it somewhere your cat can’t probably reach.
Again, it is easier said than done because cats have a knack for exploring even the remotest corners of the house. Hence, you should try to keep it in a room where the door can be shut.
If you’re concerned about sunlight and ventilation, don’t worry. Snake plants don’t require much to survive.
Make It Smell Bad
Cats don’t like being around things that don’t smell good. However, an unpleasant smell for a cat isn’t necessarily unpleasant for us.
For example, cats hate citrus fruits, so their zest can easily keep your pet away from the plant. The repulsive smell of these fruits will certainly keep your cat at bay.
Another benefit you can reap from this practice is that your plant won’t attract insects like aphids. This way, you can keep your plant and house protected from aphid infestation at the same time.
Check out: Can You Grow Dieffenbachia From Cuttings?
Provide Your Cat With a Safer Alternative
If you’ve noticed your cat’s habit of chewing on things, it’s time you found an alternative. Chewing on snake plants won’t be a pleasant experience for your little one, but that still won’t stop them from doing it.
Replace the plant with cat grass so your cat can chew on it without risking its life. Furthermore, cat grass is also packed with fiber and healthy nutrients, making it a perfect alternative to a snake plant.
However, keep in mind that cat grass isn’t your regular outdoor grass. It is a mixture grown from oats, barley, rye, wheat, and other seeds. Cat grass also helps distract your feline buddy from going towards other house plants.
Use Some Pet Spray
Pet sprays can do wonders in keeping your cat away from your snake plant. Since the flavors are bitter than the snake plant, cats often try it once and don’t walk nearby again.
However, the best thing about pet sprays is that they aren’t toxic and won’t harm your pet in any way. Keep in mind that not every cat dislikes the same flavors. You might have to struggle to find a flavor that your cat truly despises.
While you’re at it, make sure to read the spray ingredients carefully. You don’t want to harm your houseplants in the quest to protect your cat.
Spray a small part of the plant to see its reaction first. If you want a homemade solution, try a mixture of water and vinegar in a spray bottle.
What Other House Plants Should You Avoid Placing Near Your Cat?
While it has brilliant air purifying and medicinal properties, aloe vera is extremely toxic for both cats and dogs. They can cause diarrhea, vomiting, tremors, and even anorexia if ingested.
The feature that makes these plants a popular choice among people in the United States is their low maintenance cost. It is certainly gorgeous and also straightforward to grow. Again, ingesting it can make your pet sick beyond a cure. Vomiting, drooling, and oral irritation are only some of the many consequences of eating it.
Another addition to the list of low-maintenance plants is certainly pothos. You can neglect it all you want, but the plant will still grow to add some glow to your home. However, the calcium oxalates in it can be harmful to your pets.
Despite being a toxic houseplant, many prefer to keep it in their homes because of its landscaping qualities and aesthetic features. Some of your cat’s most common poisoning symptoms include vomiting, blood stooling, and jaundice. However, the good news is that if you take action in time, the chances of survival are up to 50%.
What Can You Do If Your Cat Has Already Ingested a Snake Plant?
The first sign to look out for is a bite mark on the plant. Once you’re sure, your cat has indeed ingested it, observe signs of discomfort, as mentioned earlier. It is wise not to rely on time and home remedies and immediately take your cat to a vet.
Once your vet has assessed the cat’s condition, make sure to share every bit of information with them. What kind of plants do you have at home? What plant did the cat ingest? How long has it been since the cat ingested it?
Being clear about the incident will help the vet determine the causes and treatment of the complications. Allow the vet to check your pet’s mouth. As the first course of action, they may try to induce vomiting to empty your cat’s body of toxins.
If nothing works, the vet may prescribe a few medications to keep the swelling in control. It’s best to keep your cat hydrated to fasten the process of healing.
In the end, it’s essential to be aware of the threat your plants can pose to your pets before you bring them home. To answer the question, is snake plant toxic to cats? Yes, it is. Only a thorough check-up and intervention from the vet can save your cat from the disastrous complications of ingesting a toxic plant.
Hence, as soon as you notice symptoms in your cat, take it to a vet immediately. As a rule of thumb, learn not to keep your house plants in the same place as your pets. Get your facts right about toxic and non-toxic houseplants before you let one of them be the reason behind your feline buddy’s death.
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Hi! I’m Sophia, and I love plants – especially an expert in growing house plants. I stay in Chicago, United States of America, and through my blog and social media platforms, provide tips and tricks on how to grow healthy, vibrant plants indoors. Check out more here.